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Perhaps when track announcer Vic Stauffer takes a race off, as he did in Sunday’s ninth, Hollywood Park should turn to the old Keeneland policy of having no race caller. Silence would be better than what we were subjected to when George Ortuzar attempted to call the finale. Now in fairness to George O., he has zero experience as a track announcer as far as I know. He works in the marketing department and takes part in some of the zany in-house commercials put out by the track, but to expect him to step right in and call a live race was asking the impossible. Anyone who thinks it’s an easy job should grab your binoculars, come out to track with a tape recorder and give it a shot. I guarantee you will butcher the call, much as George did. His pause down the backstretch was longer than some of the gaps in the Nixon Watergate tapes.

The call was edited and redone for the replay show (with a low drone of fake crowd noise added for the stretch run), but the live product was a doozy. Stauffer has never been my favorite announcer (for the record, that would be Michael Wrona, who I believe lays over the field) but at least he’s an experienced professional. He’s accurate and gets it right most of the time—it’s the hyperbole and telling us what’s going to happen before it happens that bugs me. But if Stauffer has to miss a race in the future, here’s hoping Hollywood Park will go without an announcer and spare the embarrassment.

On the racing front, three winners for Joe Talamo and riding doubles for Clinton Potts and Martin Garcia. ASHLEY’S KITTY remained perfect on the main track (lone defeat was on turf) by winning the featured Railbird Stakes for trainer Ted West. Teri Hatcher was on hand (as is her Mother’s Day tradition) to present the trophy to the winning connections. I wasn’t there in person but on TV she looked real and spectacular. Seinfeld devotees know what I’m talking about.

On Saturday: The Cinderella story continued for Jack Disney and his Indizguys partners as ON THE ACORN followed up his win in the San Juan Capistrano by taking down the Jim Murray Memorial. As a former friend and colleague of the late Murray, Disney was truly elated with the win. Not a bad stakes double for a horse they claimed for $40,000. VALBENNY snapped back to top form by taking the Senorita under Alex Solis, and SAILORS SUNSET again showed his fondess for the Cushion track by gamely winning the Los Angeles Handicap. ‘SUNSET has accounted for both of trainer Marcelo Polanco’s HP stakes wins. Riding doubles by Richard Migliore, Michael Baze and Solis, who has won three stakes at the meet.

On Friday, the Pick Six was somehow hit by a lone ticket holder. But the strangest part was that six horses were covered in the last leg. With winners paying $58.60, $43.80, $15 and $10—along with six beaten favorites—it seemed impossible anyone could be alive, let alone be alive to six of the 10 runners…VALID’S VALID easily won the Tuzla Stakes for trainer Jesse Mendoza, who has popped with three of his five starters (all going 6 furlongs on turf) at the meet…back-to-back riding wins for Brice Blanc…congratulations to good friend George Hicker (and breeders Paul and Candy Nicoletti) as BROTHER MAN turned it around and broke his maiden in the 4th.

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