Trainer Ron Ellis said Thursday from Barn 52 North
that he was happy with post six in a field of seven in the $500,000 Hollywood
Gold Cup Saturday for Rail Trip, who defends his crown in the Grade I test at 1
¼ miles on Cushion Track.
“The post is perfect,” said Ellis, who will be
outside the other two horses who have shown speed, Compari and Tres Borrachos.
“If the race was run on paper, I think we would be sitting third. But as you
know, they’re not run on paper.”
Ellis thinks he is bringing a fresher, stronger, more
mature horse to the Gold Cup this year. “He’s doing real well,” said Ellis
after the 5-year-old gelding jogged on the main track. Rail Trip makes only his
third start of the year after an eight-month layoff. Last year the Gold Cup was
his eighth start in eight months.
Rail Trip comes off easy victories in the Mervyn
LeRoy Handicap and The Californian and seeks to join Eleven Stitches in 1981 as
the only horse to sweep the series. He also seeks to join Native Diver and Lava
Man as the only multiple winners in the 71-year history of the race.
Rail Trip was assigned high weight of 123 pounds,
seven more than when he won the race by three lengths last year. “I’m not happy
with the weights, but what are you going to do?” said Ellis. “Richard’s Kid
beat us at equal weights in the Pacific Classic last year, and I’ve got to give
him two pounds.”
Rail Trip will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano. The
Kentucky-bred son of Jump Start has won eight of 11 starts and earned $967,790
for Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable.
The Gold Cup will be run as the eighth of ten races.
Post time is approximately 4:35 p.m.