Big 'Cap winner Idol to miss Hollywood Gold Cup after setback

Big 'Cap winner Idol to miss Hollywood Gold Cup after setback
Photo: Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire

Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Idol will miss the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita May 31 due to an undisclosed issue that does not appear to be career-threatening.

Trainer Richard Baltas still has the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6 as a long-range goal for the four-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.

With his victory in Santa Anita’s marquee race for older horses on March 6, Idol was in line for a $1,870,000 bonanza offered in the inaugural $1 Million Wild West Bonus.

The Gold Cup is leg two and the Big ‘Cap was the first leg of the unique event formed by Santa Anita and Del Mar, which will present the third and final version with the running of the TVG Pacific Classic on Aug. 21.

Each race is run at the North American classic distance of a mile and a quarter, and including the $1 million bonus, any horse winning all three races would earn a total of $1,870,000.

"I wanted to train him up to the Gold Cup, but that’s off,” Baltas said of Idol, owned by Calvin Nguyen. “I wasn’t in a hurry with him because our ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”

Despite a slow start to Santa Anita’s meet, Baltas currently is fifth in the race for training honors with 23 victories, and third in purse earnings with $1,865,400.

“We’re doing fine,” Baltas said. “Forgetting all about wins, it’s about making money and bringing the right horses in. I’ve got a lot of nice horses coming up for the fall, five or six coming off layoffs that are very talented horses.”

Among them are 2020 San Vicente Stakes runner-up Ginobili and last year’s winner of the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes, Venetian Harbor.

“I’m looking forward to running them again,” Baltas said.

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