Game On Dude, an easy winner of the Grade 2 Californian June 2, tops 13 nominees to the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.
The signature race of the Spring/Summer meet, the Gold Cup, which is run at 1 ¼ miles over Cushion Track, will be renewed for the 73rd time Saturday, July 7 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Won a year ago by Florida-bred First Dude, who defeated stablemate Game On Dude by a nose with favored Twirling Candy a neck back in third, the Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ race.
The BC nominated winner of the Gold Cup will earn automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run Nov. 3 at Santa Anita, as well as having pre-entry and entry fees waived. The owner will also receive a $10,000 travel allowance.
Besides the Gold Cup, the card will include the Grade 2 Royal Heroine Mile on turf for fillies and mares.
Owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Ernie Moody’s Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude has won seven of 17 and earned $2,344,658.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again and the Devil His Due mare Worldly Pleasure, Game On Dude will be ridden by Chantal Sutherland, who could become the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup.
Baffert, who has won the Gold Cup three times – First Dude, Congaree (2003) and Real Quiet (1999) – also nominated Richard’s Kid.
A two-time winner of the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, Richard’s Kid was successful in his return to the United States, easily winning the Prove It Stakes by 7 ¼ lengths June 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Owned by Zabeel Racing International Corporation, the 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid and the Broad Brush mare Tough Broad has won 10 of 33 and banked $1,826,385.
The nominees also include Papaw Bodie, who was second, beaten by a nose by Desert Blanc, in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap on turf June 9 at Belmont Park, and the Todd Pletcher-trained Queen’splatekitten.
Owned by Mill House, Queen’splatekitten has won three of 10 and earned $292,013. The 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt out of the Wild Again mare Iteration was fourth in the Grade III Eclipse Stakes May 26 at Woodbine in his most recent start.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Strong Hope and the In the Wings mare Trillion Wing, Papaw Bodie is 6-for-18 with a bankroll of $442,826. He has two wins and two seconds in five starts since being claimed for $50,000 by trainer Mike Maker for owner Connie Apostelos last Oct. 26 at Keeneland.
The other nominees are the Eoin Harty trained pair of Anthony’s Cross and Balladry, the John Sadler conditioned duo of Kettle Corn and Gladding, Spud Spivens, Stately Victor, the 40-1 winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes in 2010 at Keeneland and also trained by Maker, Thirtyfirststreet, Uh Oh Bango and the Vanity upsetter Love Theway Youare.
–Hollywood Park Publicity contributed to this report.
Game on Dude/Benoit photo