Ten Things You Should Know: Hollywood Oaks
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Hollywood Oaks is currently a Grade 2 run at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California. The race is restricted to 3-year-old fillies. The 2013 running will be the last at Hollywood Park. The track is scheduled to close at the end of the year.
2) The first edition of the Hollywood Oaks came in 1946. It has been run at four distances from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. It has been at its current distance of 1 1/16 miles since 2002.
3) Honeymoon, owned by movie mogul Louis B. Mayer, won the first edition of the Oaks in 1946 and that year’s Hollywood Derby against males. A Gleam (1952) is the only other filly to take both of Hollywood’s premiere stakes races for 3-year-olds.
4) Four champions have won the Hollywood Oaks: Straight Deal won the Oaks in 1965 and was later voted champion older female in 1967. Turkish Trousers (1971), Heartlight No. One (1983), and Hollywood Wildcat (1993) won the Oaks during 3-year-old filly championship campaigns.
5) In 1957, jockey Jack Westrope, in the lead and just 70 yards from victory in the Hollywood Oaks, was thrown over the rail when his mount, Well Away, bolted into the fence. Westrope died two hours later.
6) In 1965, jockey Johnny Sellers won a then-unprecedented three stakes in four days, including the Hollywood Oaks aboard Straight Deal. He won the Great American Stakes at Aqueduct on Wednesday and the Oaks on Thursday, and he completed the trifecta on Pia Star on Saturday, beating the great Kelso in the Brooklyn Handicap back at Aqueduct.
7) Turkish Trousers won the Hollywood Oaks in 1971, one of seven straight California stakes wins for the 3-year-old filly during her championship season. She won stakes at distances from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles on both turf and dirt, including a sweep of the Oaks races at Hollywood, Santa Anita, and Del Mar.
8) In 1985, Fran’s Valentine became the only filly to win both the Hollywood and Kentucky Oaks.
9) In 2010, Blind Luck joined a short list of great fillies beaten in the Hollywood Oaks. Hall of Famers Gamely (1967) and Susan’s Girl (1972) are among those who competed in but did not win the Oaks.
10) Jockey Willie Shoemaker won a record eight editions of the Hollywood Oaks. His first victory came in 1950 aboard Mrs. Fuddy, and his last came 36 years later, aboard the Charlie Whittingham-trained Hidden Light in 1986. It was the fifth of Whittingham’s record six training victories in the Oaks.