Californian winner Twirling Candy, Santa Anita Handicap upsetter
Game On Dude, talented filly Blind Luck and defending champion Awesome Gem are
among 14 nominees for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.
A Grade I at 1 ¼ miles over Cushion Track, the Gold Cup will
be renewed for the 72nd time Saturday, July 9.
The Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In’’ race.
The winner of Hollywood
Park’s signature event earns
a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Additionally, the Breeders’ Cup nominated winner will have
pre-entry and entry fees waived and given a $10,000 travel allowance.
Owned by breeder Jenny Craig’s Family Trust and William S.
Farish and trained by John Sadler, Twirling Candy overcame an eventful trip to
win the Californian June 4. The victory was his third in four starts over the Hollywood Park main track.
Game On Dude, who survived a lengthy stewards’ inquiry
before his surprise at nearly 15-1 in the Big `Cap was official, will be making
his first start at Hollywood Park for a partnership that includes Diamond Pride
LLC, Lanni Family Trust and Ernie Moody’s Mercedes Stable LLC and trainer Bob
Baffert, who won the Gold Cup with Real Quiet in 1999 and
Congaree in 2003, also nominated First Dude, who has won two in a row,
including the Grade III Alysheba Stakes May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Fresh off a last-to-first victory in the Vanity Handicap
June 18, Blind Luck would be the fourth female to win the Gold Cup if she
starts and is successful July 9.
Proven at 10 furlongs – she won the 2010 Alabama at Saratoga
– for a partnership that includes trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, John Abruzzo,
John Carver and Mark DeDomenico, Blind Luck has two wins and a second in three
races over Cushion Track.
The last filly to win the Gold Cup was Princessnesian in
1968. The other female winners were Two Lea (1952) and Happy Issue (1944).
Awesome Gem, who upset Rail Trip with a rail-skimming ride
from jockey David Flores in 2010, may attempt to become the third multiple Gold
Cup winner, joining Lava Man and Native Diver. The two California breds won the race three times.
Acclamation, a multiple graded stakes winner on the
Hollywood Park turf, Aggie Engineer, Ashtar, Dark Cove, Jeranimo, Miss Match, a
6-year-old mare, Setsuko, Soul Candy and Uh Oh Bango were also nominated for
the Gold Cup.
Weights will be released Sunday.
The Gold Cup card will also include the $150,000 Swaps
Stakes, a Grade II for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track.
Baffert, who has won the Swaps four times, tying him with D.
Wayne Lukas for most in a race which was first run in 1974, has four of the
eight nominees – Affirmed Handicap winner Coil, Jaycito, Sinai and Uncle Sam.