Scheduled for 1 ¼ miles over Cushion Track, the Gold Cup is a “Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In’’ race. The Breeders’ Cup nominated winner is guaranteed a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. Additionally, pre-entry and entry fees will be waived and the owner given a $10,000 travel allowance.
I’ll Have Another, the recently retired winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will be paraded after the third race, providing fans a final opportunity to see the 3-year-old son of Flower Alley before he begins his new career as a stallion in Japan.
Before the races begin, jockey Mario Gutierrez, who won all four times he rode I’ll Have Another, and trainer Doug O’Neill, who conditioned the chestnut for owner J. Paul Reddam, will have an autograph session. The pair will be available between 12-1 p.m. near the Paddock Tote Board.
The Gold Cup isn’t the only stakes event Saturday. The 10-race card also includes the $150,000 Royal Heroine Mile, a Grade II for fillies and mares on turf. The Royal Heroine goes as the eighth race while the Gold Cup is the ninth.
Owned by a partnership that includes Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, Lanni Family Trust, Ernie Moody’s Mercedes Stable and Bernie Schiappa and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Game On Dude comes off an authoritative win in the Grade II Californian June 2.
The 7 ¼ length win was the seventh in 17 starts for the 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding out of the Devil His Due mare Worldly Pleasure and increased his earnings to $2,344,658.
The 124-pound highweight, Game On Dude will be trying to make amends for a nose loss – to stablemate First Dude – in the 2011 Gold Cup. The last horse to win the Gold Cup a year after finishing second was Ancient Title. The talented California bred won in 1975 after chasing Tree of Knowledge in 1974.
Chantal Sutherland will take her usual place atop Game On Dude. She became the first female jockey to ride in the Gold Cup in 2011.
Baffert, who has won the Gold Cup three times – Real Quiet (1999) and Congaree (2003) prior to First Dude – will also be represented by Richard’s Kid.
The 7-year-old Lemon Drop Kid horse out of the Broad Brush mare Tough Broad was successful in his return to the United States in the Prove It Stakes June 8. His 10th career win in his first start for Baffert since October 2, 2010 came after he had lost five times in a span of nearly 13 months in the United Arab Emirates.
Owned by Zabeel Racing International Corporation, Richard’s Kid, a double winner of the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar, has earned $1,826,385 in 33 starts. The Maryland bred is making his second Gold Cup appearance. He was third behind Awesome Gem and Rail Trip in 2010.
Runner-up in the Californian, Kettle Corn will be making his Grade I debut for owners Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable and trainer John Sadler, who saddled favorite and eventual third place finisher Twirling Candy in this race a year ago.
A 5-year-old Candy Ride horse out of the Lil E. Tee mare Somethingbeautiful, Kettle Corn has won six of 14 and earned $219,891. The Kentucky bred’s last win came in the Grade II Native Diver Handicap over Cushion Track last Dec. 3.
Anthony’s Cross will be seeking his first win since a nose victory over Riveting Reason in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes Feb. 12, 2011.
Owned by A D K Racing and trained by Eoin Harty, the 4-year-old Indian Charlie colt out of the Unbridled mare Screening has won two of 10 and banked $230,790.
Spud Spivens, a California bred who has earned all four of his wins over Cushion Track, will, like Kettle Corn, be making his initial start in a Grade I.
Owned by Vincent and Audrey Marchionno and trainer Henry Moreno, the 4-year-old Tizbud gelding out of the Cutlass Reality mare Ocean Reality has earned $239,044 in 23 races.
Love Theway Youare, who upset heavily-favored Include Me Out in the Grade I Vanity Handicap June 16, will take on males in her first attempt at 10 furlongs.
Trained by owner Myung Kwon Cho, the 4-year-old Arch filly out of the Tabasco Cat mare Diversa has won three of 19 and earned $362,990.
The last female to compete in the Gold Cup was Life Is Sweet, who finished third in 2009. The last filly or mare to win the race was Princessnesian in 1968. The other female winners were Happy Issue (1944) and Two Lea (1952).
Trainer Doug O’Neill, who won the Gold Cup three times in a row (2005-2007) with Lava Man, will be represented by Thirtyfirststreet.
Owned by Neil Haymes, Sterling Stable and Mark Gorman, who bred the 4-year-old colt with O’Neill in California, Thirtyfirststreet was a much troubled eighth – he bounced off the rail early in the stretch – when 83-1 in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap March 3.
The son of Good Journey and the Sky Classic mare Avian has subsequently finished last in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap April 1 at the Fair Grounds and fourth in the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap May 5 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A winner of four of 17, Thirtyfirststreet has earned $364,200. The first of his victories came in his second career start against state bred maidens over Cushion Track Nov. 20, 2010.
From inside out, the field for the 73rd Hollywood Gold Cup: Love Theway Youare, Alonso Quinonez rides, 112 pounds; Richard’s Kid, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Kettle Corn, Garrett Gomez, 117; Spud Spivens, Victor Espinoza, 114; Anthony’s Cross, Kerwin John, 115; Game On Dude, Chantal Sutherland, 124 and Thirtyfirststreet, Eswan Flores, 112.
All Star Heart, who was successful in her first start of the year in the Redondo Beach Stakes June 10, will try to remain perfect over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass in the Royal Heroine Mile.
Owned by breeder Gerald Gibbs and trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, the 5-year-old daughter of Arch and the Ascot Knight mare Gift of the Heart has won six of 16 and earned $305,385.
All of her wins have come since she joined the McAnally barn late in 2010. She is seeking her second win in a Grade II, having captured the Las Palmas last Nov. 6 at Santa Anita. McAnally won the 2001 Royal Heroine with Kalatiara.
Trained by John Shirreffs for owner Eric Kronfeld, Nereid will be looking for her first win since she finished in a dead heat with Cambina in the Grade I American Oaks last July 16.
The Rock Hard Ten filly has lost four times since, including a sixth place finish as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade I Gamely May 28. Out of the Belong to Me mare Dowery, Nereid has won three of eight and banked $244,800.
Runner-up in the Gamely, Quiet Oasis shortens to the distance of her victory in the Grade III Wilshire Handicap April 29. Trained by Ben Cecil for owner J. Paul Reddam, the Irish bred has won three of nine and earned $172,379. Quiet Oasis is a daughter of Oasis Dream and the Sunday Silence mare Silent Heir.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won this race in 2009 with Tuscan Evening, will be represented by City to City, a mare he co-owns with William DeBurgh and Mark DeDomenico.
The 5-year-old daughter of City Zip and the Storm Cat mare Stormbow has won seven of 27 and has a bankroll of $529,726. She was fourth in the Gamely, 2 ½ lengths behind winner Belle Royale.
Third behind All Star Heart in the Redondo Beach, Briecat is a double winner over the local grass, including the Grade II Las Palmas Handicap during the 2010 Oak Tree season. Owned by David and Holly Wilson and trained by Vladimir Cerin, the 7-year-old daughter of Adcat and the Marlin mare Silk Briefcase is 10-for-34 with earnings of $658,535.
Ninth Infantry stretches out after winning an optional claimer at six furlongs May 24 in her first start of the year for trainer David Bernstein.
Owned by a partnership that includes James McFeeters and Sandy Weinstock Farm, the 5-year-old daughter of Forest Danger and the Lemon Drop Kid mare Sapphire N Chiffon has won seven of 16 and banked $204,352.
In Ninth Infantry’s lone prior start in a graded race, the Kentucky bred finished eighth of nine in the Grade II Palomar Handicap last Sept. 5 at Del Mar.
The upset winner of the Great Lady M. Stakes at six furlongs May 27, Mega Dream will make only the second start of her career at one mile.
Owned by Barry Arnason, Jerry Durant and Mersad Metanovic and trained by Jeff Bonde, the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and the St. Jovite mare Dream Away is 4-for-11 with earnings of $146,585. She is 2-for-2 since being purchased for $40,000 at a Keeneland mixed sale earlier this year by her current connections.
Up In Time returns to Southern California for trainer Simon Callaghan after finishing fourth in the Grade I Just A Game June 9 at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old Noverre filly out of the Inchinor mare Up At Dawn has won four of 15 and earned $255,576. The English bred is owned by Three Chimneys Racing LLC and Lordship Stud.
From inside out, the field for the 16th Royal Heroine Mile: Ninth Infantry, Chantal Sutherland rides, 115 pounds; Up In Time, Rafael Bejarano, 121; City to City, Martin Pedroza, 121; All Star Heart, Brice Blanc, 121; Quiet Oasis, Mario Gutierrez, 119; Briecat, Victor Espinoza, 115; Mega Dream, Garrett Gomez, 115 and Nereid, Joe Talamo, 123.