Game on Dude Leads Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup for Automatic Berth into $5 Million Breeders' Cup Classic
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (July 6, 2012) – Led by last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up, Game on Dude, an automatic berth into this year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) will be at stake tomorrow at Betfair Hollywood Park in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (GI).
The Gold Cup, to be run at 1 ¼ miles on Hollywood’s Cushion Track, is the second of six Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in the Classic division this year. As a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series benefits, the Breeders’ Cup will pay the $150,000 Classic entry fee of the Gold Cup winner and provide the connections a $10,000 travel allowance to start in the 1 ¼ mile Classic, which will be run Saturday, November 3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. All Challenge winners must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup by Oct. 22 in order to receive the free entry and travel benefits.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic will be televised live and in primetime on NBC on Nov. 3 from 8-9 p.m. ET. A total of 11 Classic winners have been named Horse of the Year, since the inception of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984.
The 5-year-old Ron the Greek won the first Classic qualifier of 2012, the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 16.
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.
Game on Dude, ridden by Chantal Sutherland, held the lead into deep stretch of last year’s Classic at Churchill Downs, with the Horse of the Year title on the line, only to be passed by longshot Drosselmeyer at the wire. 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 into the Gold Cup 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.
Anthony’s Cross will be seeking his first win since a nose victory over Riveting Reason in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes Feb. 12, 2011. Owned by A D K Racing and trained by Eoin Harty, the 4-year-old Indian Charlie colt out of the Unbridled mare Screening has won two of 10 and banked $230,790.
Spud Spivens, a California bred who has earned all four of his wins over Cushion Track, will, like Kettle Corn, be making his initial start in a Grade I. Owned by Vincent and Audrey Marchionno and trainer Henry Moreno, the 4-year-old Tizbud gelding out of the Cutlass Reality mare Ocean Reality has earned $239,044 in 23 races.
Love Theway Youare, who upset heavily-favored Include Me Out in the Grade I Vanity Handicap June 16, will take on males in her first attempt at 10 furlongs. Trained by owner Myung Kwon Cho, the 4-year-old Arch filly out of the Tabasco Cat mare Diversa has won three of 19 and earned $362,990.
The last female to compete in the Gold Cup was Life Is Sweet, who finished third in 2009. The last filly or mare to win the race was Princessnesian in 1968. The other female winners were Happy Issue (1944) and Two Lea (1952).
Trainer Doug O’Neill, who won the Gold Cup three times in a row (2005-2007) with Lava Man, will be represented by Thirtyfirststreet. Owned by Neil Haymes, Sterling Stable and Mark Gorman, who bred the 4-year-old colt with O’Neill in California, Thirtyfirststreet was a much troubled eighth – he bounced off the rail early in the stretch – when 83-1 in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap March 3.
The son of Good Journey and the Sky Classic mare Avian has subsequently finished last in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap April 1 at the Fair Grounds and fourth in the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 5 at Betfair Hollywood Park. A winner of four of 17, Thirtyfirststreet has earned $364,200. The first of his victories came in his second career start against state bred maidens over Cushion Track Nov. 20, 2010.