Thursday, June 26, 2014

Down to the Wire: Gold Cup at Santa Anita Edition



Saturday, June 28, 2014: Santa Anita race 8 -- G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita:
This week's highlight is the race formerly known as the "Hollywood Gold Cup," that has now found a home at Santa Anita following the closing of Hollywood Park. The heavy favorite, and rightfully so, will be Game on Dude, who is the two-time defending champion of this race. At this point in his career, however, we know what he's all about and he seems most vulnerable when the early pace is a contested one. For this reason, the inclusion of Fury Kapcori in this field is incredibly intriguing to me. While he wants no part of this distance (he's much better suited to 8-8.5f), he's fast and I think he'll prove to be a thorn in the side of Game on Dude early. Remember, earlier this year, Hollendorfer implemented an aggressive "take the lead at all costs" strategy with Blueskiesandrainbows versus The Dude, so don't be surprised if it happens again here. Clubhouse Ride and Imperative recently won the Californian and Charles Town Classic, respectively, but they do their best running over nine furlongs, so this may well prove to be just a touch longer than they'd like. Ultimately, I've landed on Majestic Harbor, who wants every bit of this distance and has won going further this year. Majestic Harbor was in the aforementioned Blueskiesandrainbows vs Game on Dude standoff and he traveled 42 ft (~4.9 lengths) more than second place finisher Imperative (who runs here), which more than evens out the distance between them at the finish. In his most recent run in the G2 Californian, which was won by Clubhouse Ride over Fury Kapcori, Majestic Harbor covered 56 ft (~6.5 lengths) more than Clubhouse Ride and yet he only finished two and three quarters lengths back and was fast closing. There are two South American shippers who'll be making their debut and while Salto Del Indio may be the classier of the two, I did quite like Lideris' running style in video -- he appeared to be a game, grinder who wanted every bit of this distance. 

1. #6 Majestic Harbor
2. #1 Game on Dude
3. #7 Lideris

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