Trainer Craig Dollase was all smiles in his stable
office in Barn 54 North Sunday, basking in the afterglow of Awesome Gem’s upset
victory in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Saturday.
“I’ll just have to decide which Gold Cup to run him
in next,” said Dollase in jest, noting that Awesome Gem had recorded his
previous victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago
The 7-year-old gelding, a golden oldie, ran in the
gold and black silks of West Point Thoroughbreds in securing his first Grade I
win in 36 starts.
“He came back well, but he was tired,” said Dollase.
“He laid his body down.”
Dollase was happy and relieved with his first Gold
Cup victory after being frustrated by two earlier near-misses. The 39-year-old
trainer said he celebrated with a steak dinner at Fleming’s in El Segundo
“Everything came together,” said Dollase, praising
jockey David Flores. “David gave him a great ride. He didn’t panic. That was
the winning move.”
Jeff Bloom, vice president of West Coast operations
for West Point, said president Terry Finley watched the race on television from
his New Jersey home.
“I’m so proud of this horse to add that elusive Grade I to his record,” said
Awesome Gem and runners-up Rail Trip and Richard’s
Kid could meet again in the $1-million Pacific Classic at Del
Mar August 28.
Trainer Ron Ellis said that defending champion Rail
Trip, the 2-to-5 favorite who finished second after a wide trip, also came back
in good shape.
“I’m a little disappointed,” said Ellis. “He will
stay here and going to the Pacific Classic makes some sense.”