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Girl Power: Miss Match to Run in Gold Cup

Miss Match top story.

Females will be well represented in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Saturday. Miss Match, a 6-year-old mare, seeks to become the first distaffer in 43 years to win the Grade I stake at 1 ¼ miles on Cushion Track.

 

Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who became the first female jockey to win the Santa Anita Handicap on Game On Dude in March, tries to become the first female rider to win the coveted Gold Cup in its 72nd running.

 

Sutherland, a 35-year-old Canadian native, is seventh in the standings with 19 wins at the current meet.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time Gold Cup winners, will send out a duo of “Dudes,” Game On Dude with Sutherland and First Dude with Martin Garcia.

 

The Dudes worked six furlongs in tandem here Sunday morning, First Dude in 1:11.60 under Garcia and Game On Dude in 1:12.20 with exercise rider Gaetano Chapparo.

 

“The Dudes worked very well; they’re ready,” said Baffert. “We’re going to put Game On Dude on the lead. A mile and a quarter is no problem for him. The distance should not be a problem for First Dude either. He’s like Shaq (Shaquille O’Neill), a big intimidating horse.”

 

John O’Donoghue, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, confirmed that Miss Match would tackle the boys in the Gold Cup. “She loves the distance,” explained O’Donoghue of the decision. “And she’s in good form now, coming off a good run.”

 

The Argentine-bred mare comes off a strong third-place finish in the Vanity Handicap at 1 1/8 miles June 18, beaten by three-quarters of a length.

 

Victorious in six of 22 starts for earnings of $606,614, Miss Match won the Group I Argentine Oaks at 1 ¼ miles in her native land in 2008.

The last female to win the Gold Cup was Princessnesian in 1968, joining Happy Issue in 1944 and Two Lea in 1952.

 

The last female to start in the Gold Cup, Life Is Sweet, finished third in

 2009.

 

A field of eight to eleven is shaping up. Probable are Californian Stakes winner Twirling Candy (Joel Rosario), Californian runner-up Setsuko (Victor Espinoza), Game On Dude (Sutherland), First Dude (Garcia), Miss Match (Alonso Quinonez), Kentucky invader Dark Cove (Rafael Bejarano) and the Paddy Gallagher-trained duo of Soul Candy (Garrett Gomez) and Aggie Engineer.

 

California Cup Classic winner Soul Candy worked six furlongs in 1:15.40 and Native Diver Handicap winner Aggie Engineer drilled seven furlongs in 1:26.20 for Gallagher.

 

Possible are defending champion Awesome Gem, grass star Acclamation and Jeranimo. Vanity winner Blind Luck was also nominated and is considered remotely possible.

 

           

Don Warren, trainer of Acclamation, said a decision would be reached this week on the 5-year-old, a two-time winner of both the Jim Murray and Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicaps on turf.

 

 “He worked very well at Hollywood Park last week (seven furlongs in 1:25.20 on Cushion Track June 28),” said Warren from his Santa Anita base. “He will work again at Santa Anita in the next couple of days before we decide. It’s just a matter of deciding whether we want to take him off turf, where he has been doing so well. We want to do what’s best for the horse.”

 

Awesome Gem, an 8-year-old gelding with more than $2.5-million in earnings, finished second in the Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in Iowa on June 25. “I’m not sure yet,” said trainer Craig Dollase on running the veteran back so quickly. “I’ve got until Wednesday (entry day).”

 

Trainer Mike Pender was pleased with a four-fulong work in 48.60 here Sunday by Jeranimo, a Grade II winner on synthetic and turf. “He had a snappy drill, but we’re still on the fence,” said Pender.     

 

Twirling Candy, victorious in seven of nine starts, will try to make amends for a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the roughly run Santa Anita Handicap, his only outing at 1 ¼ miles.

 

“A mile and a quarter should be no problem,” said trainer John Sadler confidently after the 4-year-old colt worked seven furlongs in 1:25.20 Saturday.

 

 

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Older Comments about Girl Power: Miss Match to Run in Gold Cup...

Well this is the race for TC to step up for me as I have posted how talented I believe him to be. He has had his prep and should be set to get the 1 1/4. I don't know if this is the best spot for the lady but she must be doing well if the trainer wants to put her in here.

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