Midcourt the Danger in Hollywood Gold Cup

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By Emily Shields

The 10th race on Saturday at Santa Anita is the $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), restored to its former name after being called the Gold Cup at Santa Anita the last few years.

The prestigious race, which has been won by the likes of Citation, Swaps, Affirmed, and Lava Man, drew a field of six, with shipper Tenfold (6-1) on the outside. The son of Curlin was sixth in the Pegasus and fourth in the New Orleans Classic (G2) last out. He does have a win over the ten-furlong distance.

A lot of the focus will be on Grade 1 winners Improbable and Higher Power. Improbable was a Grade 1 winner at two for trainer Bob Baffert, then ran second in the Rebel and Arkansas Derby en route to being placed fourth in the Kentucky Derby. He went favored in the Preakness but ran sixth, and returned in a big way with a smashing win in the Shared Belief. That was his last win, in August at Del Mar, but he most recently was second, beaten less than a length, in the Oaklawn Mile at Oaklawn Park on wet ground. The son of City Zip has earned just under $1 million to date.

Higher Power won the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic last August, but hasn’t won in three starts since. He was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) over this trip, but ran 10th as the favorite in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1). The John Sadler trainee has been working steadily since late March, and Flavien Prat will be back aboard.

Midcourt is the danger in the race. Blinkers come off the son of Midnight Lute, who is out of star racemare Mayo On the Side. John Shirreffs trains the five-year-old gelding, who won the Grade 2 San Pasqual over this track in February and finished third, beaten less than a length. He has been top three in six of seven starts on the course, and has won five of his 10 lifetime tries. Victor Espinoza will ride.

Parsimony and Brown Storm (Chi) complete the field. Watch TVG every day for live coverage of the racing at Santa Anita.


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