The 10 furlongs Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup is typically one of the finest races on the calender each and every year.
Not in 2012; a field of just seven horses is led by the imposing Game On Dude, a dual Grade 1 winner that missed by just a nose in this event last year to stablemate First Dude.
The gelded son of Awesome Again has brutal early speed and can stay on even after setting swift fractions. Jockey Chantal Sutherland guided him to a seven and one part of a length victory last out in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes. That field was better than it appeared as it included graded winners Morning Line, Prayer For Relief and Kettle Corn.
No one in this race has enough early zip to keep him honest and barring a bad day the Bob Baffert pupil is very likely to add this race to his collection of stakes victories.
Should an upset occur it is likely to come from stablemate Richard’s Kid. The seven-year-old is no slouch and owns a pair of wins in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. A stint in Dubai saw him do much less than his best running, but upon return to America, he won an overnight stakes event by seven and one part of a length. Rafael Bejarano will ride the Maryland bred dark bay horse.
The filly Love Theway Youare gets 12 pounds from the favored Game On Dude despite entering this race on the strength of a win in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap. She was 18-1 in that race and beat Grade 1 winner Include Me Out by two and two parts of a length. The daughter of Arch will be launching a bid from well back under Alonso Quinonez.
Anthony’s Cross will be racing with blinkers on after having them removed in his last race. His best career effort was a win in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes. He hasn’t really been the same horse since that race, but there are glimmers of hope in his recent form. Look for jockey Kerwin John to get him involved early on in the race for trainer Eoin Harty.
Kentucky Derby winning trainer Doug O’Neill will saddle Thirtyfirststreet. Last year’s Lone Star Derby winner was last seen finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap. The extra distance of this race is likely to help his cause. The young Eswan Flores gets the call to ride.
Trainer John Sadler couldn’t win this race with Twirling Candy in previous years, but will try to do so with Kettle Corn. The Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap winner was last seen finishing well behind Game On Dude in the Californian. He will need that one to have a bad day in order to have a shot at the win. Garrett Gomez picks up the mount from Joel Rosario who has moved his tack to New York.
Spud Spivens rounds out the field. He likes to go two turns on synthetic surfaces as proved by his last out optional claiming win and the fact that his last win before that one was under similar circumstances. He will race mid pack under Victor Espinoza for trainer Henry Moreno.
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