The Brock Talk

Friday, July 10, 2009

History Continues In Hollywood Gold Cup

While this, perhaps the final edition of the TVG/Betfair $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup may not feature any iconic runners, it is packed with plenty of story lines of interest and a full and evenly matched field of 13. The two favorites alone provide plenty of fan fodder with the 6-year-old gelding Parading shipping in from New York and the 4-year-old filly Life is Sweet moving out of the distaff division to take on the older boys.

Life is Sweet, who is trained by John Sherriffs and is a stablemate of the undefeated Zenyatta, is trying to become only the fourth female to win the Gold Cup which will be run for the 70th time Saturday. Princessnesian became the third female to win the Gold Cup in 1968, joining Happy Issue (1944) and Two Lea (1952). Not many have tried in the last three decades. Life Is Sweet, who will be ridden by two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez, will be the first to start in the Gold Cup since Kilijaro finished seventh in 1981.

But the sentimental favorite may be Mast Track trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who has been recovering from an undisclosed illness at his home near Los Angeles and is one of the more popular trainers in horse racing. Mast Track is also the defending champion in the Hollywood Gold Cup having won the race last year for Frankel. Frankel will be going for his third Gold Cup havig first won with Marquetry in 1991 and Aptitude in 2001.

Trainer Doug O'Neill will be trying to win his fifth Gold Cup since 2002 when he won with Sky Jack. He then took three consecutive Gold Cup from 2005-07 with Lava Man and has Informed for this year's edition. Informed. who was racing at the $25,000 claiming level a year ago, won the grade 2 Californian at 14-1 at Hollywood Park June 14 over Rail Trip, who also comes back in the Gold Cup.

O'Neill is still far from trainer Charlie Whittingham's record of eight wins in the prestigious 1-1/4 mile event. His list of Gold Cup victors reads like a Thoroughbred racing history book after winning with Ack Ack (1971), Quack ('72), Kennedy Road ('73), Tree of Knowledge ('74), Exceller ('78), Perrault ('82), Grienton ('85) and Ferdinand in 1987.

Seabiscuit and jockey George Woolf won the first Hollywood Gold Cup in 1938. Since then winner have included Citation in 1951, Swaps ('56), Round Table ('57), Gallant Man ('58), Native Diver won three times from 1965-'67, Affirmed ('79), Best Pal ('93) and Cigar in 1995.

Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. has won the race nine times and Bill Shoemaker eight times.

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