Hard Aces Tunes Up for Gold Cup

June 21, 2015 02:50pm
Hard Aces, who finished third wearing blinkers for the first time in the Grade II
Californian Stakes on May 30, worked six furlongs at Santa Anita Sunday in 1:13 for next Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita.

“He galloped out (seven furlongs) in (one) 26,” said trainer John Sadler, who has had the 5-year-old Hard Spun horse for three races since he was privately purchased by the Hronis brothers.

“It was a good last work before the Gold Cup,” Sadler said. “He went in company (with Native Ride, 1:13.60) and looked good. He’s not a particularly fast work horse, but for him, it was a real nice work.”

Asked if the blinkers made a difference in the Californian, Sadler was ambivalent. “I just think he didn’t ship great for Oaklawn (sixth in the Oaklawn Handicap April 11). The blinkers helped and I think he’s just getting his form back a little bit. It was a good step to come off of a bad race at Oaklawn to run a good third. He was running at the end, so I think we’re in a fairly good progression.”

As to his recent hot streak, Sadler took it in stride.

“The last two, three weeks have been fairly strong,” he said. “We won a Grade I (the Shoemaker with Talco) last weekend and a Grade II yesterday (the Summertime Oaks with Stellar Wind). We’ve won five races this week. We’re in a good zone at the moment.”

Stellar Wind presumably came out of her hard-fought nose victory in the Summertime Oaks in good order and, if all goes well, could wind up in the rich Cotillion Stakes at Parx later this summer.

“I haven’t really put my hands on her as yet this morning,” Sadler said, “but I saw her walking around and she looked good. It looks like she came out of it well, but I don’t have any thoughts on where I’m going to run yet. I’ll enjoy this for a few days, but she might run at Del Mar and she might travel, too. It looks like a lot of the big 3-year-old filly races are out of town.

“The Cotillion is one we’d consider. I like that track.”

Tiznow Stakes winner Motown Men also worked Sunday for the Gold Cup, going seven furlongs in 1:23.40 under Tyler Baze.

“He worked great,” trainer Ted H. West said. “It was a littler fast but he didn’t seem to be too tired. Another horse broke in front and pushed him unexpectedly. That will happen.”

The Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race. The nominated winner is entitled to automatic entry into the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Oct. 31.

Probable for the Gold Cup: Big Cazanova, Catch a Flight, Finnegans Wake, Hard Aces, Hoppertunity, Majestic City, Moreno and Motown Men.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Santana Mile winner Blue Tone would pass the race and run in the Grade I Triple Bend at seven furlongs the same day.

“We’re going to try and shorten him up,” Hess said. Blue Tone was fourth last out in the Californian at 1 1/8 miles.

NBCSN will televise the Gold Cup live from 5 to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

First post time next Saturday and closing day next Sunday, June 28, will be 1 p.m.

Source: Santa Anita Park


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