Gift Box poised for 'his best race' in Gold Cup at Santa Anita

By Mike Willman/Santa Anita Park
May 25, 2019 09:44am
Gift Box poised for 'his best race' in Gold Cup at Santa Anita
Photo: Benoit

Hronis Racing’s rapidly improving Gift Box, fresh off victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, bids for his second consecutive top-level victory as he heads Monday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, to be contested for the 81st time at a mile and a quarter.  
 

Trained by John Sadler, Gift Box, who campaigned under trainer Chad Brown through his first 13 starts, will be going third out for Sadler and, if successful, he would provide Hronis Racing and Sadler with their second consecutive Gold Cup win following last year's score by Accelerate.

 

The Gold Cup, which has attracted a field of seven 3-year-olds and up, will also include Todd Pletcher’s Vino Rosso, Peter Eurton’s Core Beliefs and the Tom Amoss-trained Lone Sailor, all of whom exit good performances back east.

 

GIFT BOX 

Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC                                    
Trainer: John Sadler

 

Purchased privately following an 8 ¾-length allowance win at Aqueduct on March 24, 2018, this 6-year-old full horse by Twirling Candy made his first start for Sadler in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) on Dec. 26, winning by a half length at 6-1. In his career-best performance, he prevailed by an ultra game nose over top older horse McKinzie in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on April 6, his second try at a mile and one quarter.  “He’s doing better than ever," Sadler said Friday. "This should be his best race." Eastern-based Joel Rosario, who has ridden Gift Box to both of his Santa Anita wins, will be back in town for the Memorial Day assignment. Out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Special Me, Gift Box is 15: 5-5-2 overall with earnings of $879,160.

 

VINO ROSSO 

Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable                                     
Trainer: Todd Pletcher  
 

The Wood Memorial (G2) winner last season, this 4-year-old colt by Curlin was then well beaten in the Kentucky Derby, but bounced back with a solid fourth-place finish behind Triple Crown Champ Justify in the 2018 Belmont Stakes. Most recently fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths in the seven-furlong Carter Handicap (G1) at Aqueduct April 6, Vino Rosso will be making his third start of the year in the Gold Cup on Monday. Winless in two starts at a mile and a quarter, including a fifth-place finish in last year’s Travers Stakes (G1), Vino Rosso is 11: 4-0-2 with earnings of $953,125.

 

CORE BELIEFS 

Owner: Gary Broad                                
Trainer: Peter Eurton

 

Idle since well beaten in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx on Sept. 22, this 4-year-old colt by Quality Road came back running in the 1 1/8-mile New Orleans Handicap (G2) at Fair Grounds March 23, winning by three quarters of a length under Florent Geroux at odds of 9-1. Although based at Santa Anita, Core Beliefs’ last five starts have come out of state, including a nose win in the Ohio Derby (G3) four starts back on June 23, 2018. A sharp horse with tactical speed, Core Beliefs will be ridden back by Geroux in his first-ever try at a mile and one quarter.  
 

LONE SAILOR 

Owner: G M B Racing, Inc.                                    
Trainer: Tom Amoss

 

Third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Core Beliefs two starts back in the New Orleans Handicap, this 4-year-old Majestic Warrior colt came back to run a big second, beaten a neck, in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at a mile and one eighth on April 13 with Flavien Prat up. Although winless in three tries at the Gold Cup distance, Lone Sailor, who has an overall mark of 18: 2-6-3, brings a closing kick and the biggest bankroll to the Gold Cup party, with $1,124,737 to his credit.  

THE GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA WITH JOCKEYS AND WEIGHTS 

Race 8 of 10; approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

1. Blitzkrieg—Rafael Bejarano—121
2. Mongolian Groom—Martin Garcia—121
3. Higher Power—Irad Ortiz, Jr.—121
4. Lone Sailor—Flavien Prat—121
5. Gift Box—Joel Rosario—125
6. Core Beliefs—Florent Geroux—121
7. Vino Rosso—John Velazquez—121

 

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