By Tom Quigley
$300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita Park
Race 10 (Saturday, June 6, 2020: 8:00 p.m./ET; 5:00 p.m./PT)
Mile and a quarter on the main track (three-year-olds and up)
Re-named this year after one of the great races of the 20th century and the early 2000’s, the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) is the second of a three-race series (Big Cap, Gold Cup & Pacific Classic) in Southern California for older males racing the classic distance of a mile-and-a-quarter. A half dozen runners have entered to compete in the 2020 edition, so let’s preview the field:
#1 PARSIMONY scored a win in his most recent start, the Curlin Stakes in Dubai, going this distance on February 27. He has no problem with distance and probably benefits from longer races. All that said, he doesn’t win often, with a 2 for 22 record on display. Not one to trust on the win end, but an underneath placing in exotics is possible.
#2 MIDCOURT will try to give John Shirreffs and owners CRK Stable a clean sweep of the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) and the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1). The last time this gelding won, he went right to the lead and never stopped in the mile-and-an-eighth San Pasqual (G2). In his first start traveling a mile-and-a-quarter on March 7, this son of MIDNIGHT LUTE went off at 3/5, stalked the pace and finished a close third behind COMBATANT in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1). Blinkers come off today.
#3 HIGHER POWER was fantastic in the Pacific Classic (G1) before finishing a distant third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November. In one start this year, he went off favored and finished at the back of the pack in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). A puzzling effort, no doubt (perhaps no Lasix was the key), but regular jockey Flavien Prat rides for trainer John Sadler. Another whose best race makes him a major player.
#4 BROWN STORM (CHI) set the pace in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) but eventually flattened out to fourth, losing by three lengths. He faces #2 MIDCOURT, who finished in front of him, and some other hard-knocking rivals who possess plenty of class. Unless he runs a career best race, an exotics placing may be his ceiling.
#5 IMPROBABLE broke from the outside post in a field of 11 in his most recent start, the Oaklawn Mile, and lost plenty of ground on both turns before getting run down late by TOM’S D’ETAT, arguably the best older racer in the country. His only career race at this classic distance came in the Kentucky Derby (G1) when finishing fifth behind MAXIMUM SECURITY, COUNTRY HOUSE and CODE OF HONOR. He has been working splendidly in preparation for this race. Legit player.
#6 TENFOLD is a deep closer that figures to get a solid pace to chase. In his last start, he finished fourth behind next out winner BY MY STANDARDS in the New Orleans Handicap (G2). He is just 1-for10 in his last 10 races, with the lone victory coming over a fast track going this distance in the Pimlico Special (G2) on Preakness Day 2019. Things need to go right for this guy to swallow ‘em all up late in the game.
1. #5 IMPROBABLE - Big run to kick off his 2020 year.
2. #2 MIDCOURT - His best race is too good to ignore.
3. #3 HIGHER POWER - Hard to count out.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY-#6 TENFOLD - Will be rolling late.
I’ll make a straight win bet on my top choice and box my top three selections in exactas.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$20 Win: #5 IMPROBABLE $5 Exacta Box: #2 MIDCOURT and #3 HIGHER POWER and #5 IMPROBABLE ($30).
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