Automatic Bids into Breeders' Cup World Championships on the line Saturday in California, New Jersey and Florida
NEW YORK (July 6, 2012) – Winners of three Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Saturday in California, New Jersey and Florida will gain automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, November 2-3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
The Hollywood Gold Cup (GI) at Betfair Hollywood Park offers an automatic berth into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. The United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park gets the winner a free spot into the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), and the winner of the Smile Sprint Stakes (GII) at Calder Race Course earns a “Win and You’re In” berth into the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. If the Breeders’ Cup Challenge winners are nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by Oct. 22, their connections will receive free entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup races and a $10,000 travel allowance to the Championships.
Hollywood Gold Cup – Betfair Hollywood Park
Owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, Ernie Moody’s Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude comes off an authoritative win in the Grade II Californian June 2.
The 7 ¼ length win was the seventh in 17 starts for the 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding out of the Devil His Due mare Worldly Pleasure and increased his earnings to $2,344,658.
Baffert, who has won the Gold Cup three times – Real Quiet (1999) and Congaree (2003) prior to First Dude – will also be represented by Richard’s Kid. The 7-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse out of the Broad Brush mare Tough Broad was successful in his return to the United States in the Prove It Stakes June 8. His 10th career win in his first start for Baffert since October 2, 2010 came after he had lost five times in a span of nearly 13 months in the United Arab Emirates.
Owned by Zabeel Racing International Corporation, Richard’s Kid, a double winner of the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar, has earned $1,826,385 in 33 starts. The Maryland bred is making his second Gold Cup appearance. He was third behind Awesome Gem and Rail Trip in 2010.
Runner-up in the Californian, Kettle Corn will be making his Grade I debut for owners Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable and trainer John Sadler, who saddled favorite and eventual third place finisher Twirling Candy in this race a year ago. A 5-year-old Candy Ride horse out of the Lil E. Tee mare Somethingbeautiful, Kettle Corn has won six of 14 and earned $219,891. The Kentucky bred’s last win came in the Grade II Native Diver Handicap over Cushion Track last Dec. 3.
From inside out, the field for the 73rd Hollywood Gold Cup with morning line odds, jockeys and weights assigned: Love Theway Youare, 20-1, Alonso Quinonez,122 pounds; Richard’s Kid, 5-2, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Kettle Corn, 7-2, Garrett Gomez, 117; Spud Spivens, 15-1, Victor Espinoza, 114; Anthony’s Cross, 20-1, Kerwin John, 115; Game On Dude, 4-5, Chantal Sutherland, 124 and Thirtyfirststreet,15-1, Eswan Flores, 112.
United Nations Stakes – Monmouth Park
At Monmouth on Saturday, the fourth automatic berth into the $3 million berth is on the line in the 500,000 UN Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the Turf.
Slim Shadey, who was second to 2011 Champion Older Male Acclamation by only one length last out in the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 9, is the sole invader from the West Coast. With regular rider David Flores in the irons, he’ll take on some of the Beasts of the East in this year’s older male grass horse division.
Bred in Great Britain and trained by Tom Albertrani, Slim Shadey will carry top weight of 120 pounds while Air Support, Al Khali, Brilliant Speed, Eldaafer, Freud’s Honour and Turbo Compressor will all shoulder 118.
Al Kali and Brilliant Speed last raced in the Grade 1Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park and Turbo Compressor and Slim Shadey joined that pair two starts back in field for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. On June 16, Turbo Compressor went gate-to-wire while finishing in front of a fast-closing Air Support in the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs.
2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer and Freud’s Honour are stabled on the grounds and will be saddled by Diane Alvarado and Gregg Sacco, respectively. Eldaafer was second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at one-mile-and-a-half on Belmont’s main track after being steadied early in his last effort and Freud’s Honour is still looking for his first victory this year after two starts over Monmouth’s turf course in the allowance optional claiming ranks.
The field, from the rail out and with trainers and riders and morning line odds, is: Turbo Compressor, 2-1, Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo; Brilliant Speed, 5-2, Tom Albertrani, Joel Rosario; Slim Shadey, 3-1, Simon Callaghan, David Flores; Al Khali, 15-1, Bill Mott, Rosie Napravnik; Freud’s Honour, 30-1,Gregg Sacco, Angel Serpa; Eldaafer,12-1, Diane Alvarado, Paco Lopez; and Air Support, 3-1, Shug McGaughey, Alex Solis.
Smile Sprint Stakes – Calder Race Course
The Smile Sprint Handicap (GII) offers the winner free entry and a $10,000 travel allowance into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The Smile is perhaps the deepest field of sprinters gathered for the Summit of Speed races at Calder, attracting 10 entrants, with Brittlyn Stable, Inc.’s Gantry the likely favorite.
Trained by Ron Faucheux, Gantry had strung together three straight sprint-stakes wins at Fair Grounds prior to his recent third-place finish in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes where he chased home 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford and last year’s Eclipse Award winning champion sprinter Amazombie. Gantry drew post 10 for the Smile Sprint, and will be ridden by top Louisiana Downs jockey Richard Eramia.
Shivananda Racing’s sophomore sensation Trinniberg, cross-entered in the Smile Sprint and the Grade 3 Carry Back, which is restricted to 3-year-olds, would make an intriguing Smile entrant should he be given the opportunity to test older horses for the first time on Saturday.
Trained by Bisnath Parboo, Trinniberg is a three-time graded stakes winner this year with victories in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens, Grade 3 Bay Shore, and Grade 3 Swale Stakes. The son of Teuflesberg was victorious in his lone Calder appearance, a 5 ¾-length maiden-breaking win on July 8, 2011. Trinniberg, to be ridden by Willie Martinez, drew post three for the Smile.
No winner at the meet may have been more impressive than Edward Seltzer and Larry Baum’s Field Commission, a commanding 3 ¼-length winner of the $75,000 Ponche Handicap, the local prep for the Smile Sprint. That outing was the son of Service Stripe’s first career effort on dirt after spending the first 28 starts of his career competing on turf and synthetic surfaces at Woodbine, where he was a Grade 2 winner. The Ponche was also the 7-year-old’s first start off an 18-month layoff. Conditioned by Curtis Garrison, Field Commission will start from post five in the Smile Sprint, with Manoel Cruz to ride.
Donald Dizney’s Apriority, winner of the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector in late December; Stud El Aguila’s Indiano, a previous Summit of Speed winner having taken last year’s Grade 2 Carry Back; and Shadybrook Farm, Inc. and Robert Eversole’s Cajun Breeze, second in this year’s $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint add further depth to the Smile field.
The field, with morning line, for the Smile Sprint: 1. Cajun Breeze 15-1; 2. Close It Out 20-1; 3. Trinniberg 3-1; 4. Artefacto 10-1; 5. Field Commission 5-2; 6. Peb Hughes 12-1; 7. Indiano 6-1; 8. Apriority 6-1; 9. Atlantic Bull 20-1 10. Gantry 5-1.