INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 7, 2010)- Rail Trip will try to become the third multiple winner of the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup when he faces six rivals in the race at 1 ¼ miles over Cushion Track Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The 71st running of the Gold Cup is one of two Grade 1’s on the 10 race card. Gayego, who is 2-for-2 on the Hollywood Park main track, returns to California against seven opponents in the $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap at seven furlongs. Post time is 1 p.m.
Those in attendance will be given a free poster of Rail Trip and the Oak Tree Racing Association will be presented the seventh annual Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award. The retired Hall of Fame jockey will make the presentation after the fifth race.
Owned by Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable and trained by Ron Ellis, Rail Trip is the defending champion in the Gold Cup, having won at nearly 10-1 in 2009. A repeat Saturday would enable the 5-year-old Jump Start gelding out of the Carson City mare Sweet Trip to join Lava Man and Native Diver as a multiple winner. Like Lava Man, Native Diver won the Gold Cup three times (1965-67).
A win by Rail Trip would also enable him to complete a rare sweep. The last horse to win the Mervyn LeRoy, Californian and Hollywood Gold Cup in the same year was Eleven Stitches in 1981.
A winner of eight of 11 with earnings of $967,790, Rail Trip was impressive in both the Mervyn LeRoy and Californian. The prohibitive favorite in both Grade II’s, he won by a combined six lengths.
He will again be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who has yet to win the Gold Cup, and will carry high weight of 123 pounds. He will break from post six.
Richard’s Kid will be making his Hollywood Park debut Saturday. Owned by Zabeel Racing International Corporation and trained by Bob Baffert, the 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid and the Broad Brush mare Tough Broad has been idle since finishing seventh in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 27 at Meydan.
In his only other race of 2009, Richard’s Kid, who has seven wins in 23 starts and earnings of $891,370, was victorious by a head over Dakota Phone in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 7 at Santa Anita.
A victory by Richard’s Kid, whose biggest score came in the 2009 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, would be the third in the Gold Cup for Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer’s last win in the race came with Congaree in 2003.
Owned by breeders John Harris, John Nicoletti and Don Valpredo and trained by Marty Jones, Compari scratched from the American Handicap on July 4 to try his luck in the Gold Cup.
A California bred son of Redattore and the Dixieland Band mare Southern Charm, Compari is 1-for-1 over Cushion Track. As a 3-year-old, he won the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes, a race restricted to California breds.
The gelding has six wins in eight starts while banking $422,640. California breds have won four of the last eight Gold Cups. In addition to Lava Man’s three victories, Sky Jack was successful in 2002.
The well-traveled Awesome Gem will be looking for his seventh win in 36 starts for West Point Thoroughbreds and trainer Craig Dollase.
A 7-year-old Awesome Again gelding and the Pentelicus mare Piano will be making his fifth start of 2010 and all have come at different tracks.
Awesome Again has yet to win this year, finishing second in both the Charles Town Classic and the Lone Star Park Handicap. He was third in the New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds and began his campaign with an eighth place finish in the Frank Kilroe Handicap on the Santa Anita turf on March 6.
David Flores, whose two wins in the Gold Cup came aboard Marquetry (1991) and Siphon (1996) has the call. Dollase was disqualified from a victory in the race in 2001 when Futural was placed third by the stewards. Aptitude was made the official winner.
Trainer Mike Mitchell will try to spring an upset with Tap It Light, a gelding he claimed for $40,000 last Aug. 18 at Del Mar.
In five subsequent starts, the son of General Meeting and the Half A Year mare Popular Opinion has won three times and was second in one of his losses. Owned by a partnership that includes Scott Anastazi and Dan Capen, Tap It Light has won eight of 27, earning $368,211.
A 5-year-old son of Drewman out of the Big Bold Sefa mare Foxey’s Last Key, Cigar Man chased Rail Trip in both the LeRoy and Californian. He finished third in the former and fifth in the latter. He has won four of 28 while banking $302,219. His trainer, Vladimir Cerin, won the 2000 Gold Cup with longshot Early Pioneer.
Seventh of eight in the Californian on June 12, Tres Borrachos was second behind Rail Trip in the 2009 Gold Cup. Owned by a partnership that includes breeders John Greely IV, Phil Houchens and Robert Shapiro and trained by Beau Greely, the 5-year-old son of Ecton Park out of the Peteski mare Pete’s Fancy has three wins in 26 attempts and has earned $602,682.
All three of Tres Borrachos’ wins have come at Hollywood Park, including an 11-1 surprise in the 2008 Swaps Stakes.
From the inside out, the field for the Hollywood Gold Cup: Cigar Man, Joe Talamo rides, 113 pounds; Compari, Mike Smith, 117; Awesome Gem, David Flores, 116; Richard’s Kid, Martin Garcia, 121; Tres Borrachos, Victor Espinoza, 113; Rail Trip, Rafael Bejarano, 123 and Tap It Light, Tyler Baze, 114.
A 5-year-old Gilded Time horse out of the Lost Code mare Devils Lake, Gayego has been away since finishing eighth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 27 at Meydan. In his last appearance at Hollywood Park he won an optional claimer on Nov. 30, 2008 when still in the barn of trainer Paulo Lobo.
Gayego, who is now trained by Saeed bin Suroor, is seeking his second Grade 1. The Godolphin owned dark bay won the Ancient Title last Oct. 11 at Santa Anita before finishing fourth, beaten by a neck, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He has won seven of 16 and earned $1,459,620.
The Triple Bend cast also includes the Baffert-trained duo of E Z’s Gentleman and Sangaree, M One Rifle and New Bay.
Owned by Arnold Zetcher, E Z’s Gentleman, a 5-year-old son of Yankee Gentleman and the Distinctive Pro mare Tensie’s Pro, has won three of 14, banking $149,711.
Most recently, E Z’s Gentleman was second to Cost Of Freedom in the Los Angeles Handicap on June 5.
Sangaree is cutting back in distance for Darley Stable after consecutive runner-up finishes in the Mervyn LeRoy and Californian. The 5-year-old Awesome Again horse and the Mari’s Book mare Mari’s Sheba has won four of 15 while earning $227,110. He is a half brother to Congaree.
M One Rifle, a 4-year-old One Man Army gelding and the Bertrando mare Leanessa, has won four of 10 and earned $392,372 for owner-breeders Ed Bernstein, Brian Greenspan and trainer Bruce Headley.
The California bred already has a Grade 1 victory at seven furlongs, taking the Malibu last Dec. 26 at Santa Anita. Headley is looking for his third win in the Triple Bend. He won with Son Of A Pistol in 1998 and with Street Boss in 2008.
New Bay, a 4-year-old son of Cuvee out of the Royal Academy mare Royal Dove, was a winner of an optional claimer on June 6 in his first since being claimed for $50,000 by Mitchell for Little Red Feather Racing on April 24. He has won four of 11 and earned $134,580. He is 3-for-4 at seven furlongs.
The other entrants are Tiznow winner Fantasy Free, My Summer Slew, who won the Robert K. Kerlan Memorial Handicap on turf on June 27 and Bestdressed.
The complete field, from inside out, for the Triple Bend Handicap: E Z’s Gentleman, Martin Pedroza rides, 116 pounds; Fantasy Free, Omar Berrio, 114; M One Rifle, Mike Smith, 117; Gayego, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Bestdressed, Victor Espinoza, 114; Sangaree, Martin Garcia, 116; My Summer Slew, Alonso Quinonez, 114 and New Bay, Tyler Baze, 114.
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