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Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will be the scene of the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita this Saturday, June 26. A purse of $500,000 will be on the line for horses three years old and upward as they go 1 1/4 miles on Santa Anita's dirt track.
11 older entries will take to the track in the Gold Cup - race 9 on Santa Anita's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:00 PM. Here is a peek into the past performances of all 11 entries for this intriguing Grade 1 stakes - a Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In" event for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland in the fall.
Catch a Flight 5-2 - Argentinean bred Gary Mandella trainee had six wins and a third place finish at home before debuting in North America with a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming January 19. He has four starts since that race - a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming February 13, a respectable third behind Shared Belief and Moreno in the competitive Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7 and two nice wins in his last two starts - last time out in the Grade 2 California Stakes here May 30 and in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes here May 2. He has improved every start on North American soil, has won three of his last four starts overall and hopes to keep that trend going Saturday. Gary Stevens gets the call on the morning line favorite from gate 9.
Moreno 7-2 - has looked good in four starts this year - a terrific win over Shared Belief among others in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic April 18, a third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Stakes at Fair Grounds March 28, a second behind Shared Belief in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7 and another second last time out in the Grade 2 California here May 30. Other good results include a terrific win at 10-1 odds in the $1.5 million Grade 1 Whitney Stakes in front running fashion August 2, good second in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga August 30, a second in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 5 and a third behind Game On Dude and Imperative in the 2014 Charles Town Classic last April. Moreno has four wins, nine seconds and four third place finishes in 27 career starts and has definitely been trending upward ahead of this race. Cornelio Velasquez gets the mount Saturday from gate 8 as the co-second choice.
Hoppertunity 7-2 - Bob Baffert trained colt was one of the favorites for last year's Kentucky Derby but missed that race. He is coming off consecutive OK third place finishes - in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap June 13 and the Grade 2 San Antonio Invitational on this track. Before that were two terrific wins - in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes here January 10 and in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs November 28 with an impressive 104 Beyer Speed Figure. The wins followed a pair of seconds - an Allowance Optional Claiming here in October and behind California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby in April to go along with a great win over Tapiture in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last March 15. Hoppertunity has three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in his last seven starts - as competitive as they come. Martin Garcia has the mount on the co-second pick from post 6.
Finnegan's Wake 6-1 - Peter Miller trainee has seven wins, four seconds and three third place finishes in 30 career starts and had been on fire before a fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park last time out June 6. He had won four of his previous five starts overall - the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 2 followed a second in the Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes and a three straight wins -- the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes February 7, the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes January 3 and the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar November 27. He also had a forgettable tenth at 58-1 odds in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Other good results include a win in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in July and a second in September in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship September 28. He looks to regain the dominance he had earlier this year in his first start in dirt in a year with Mike Smith getting the call from the outside post 11.
Big Cazanova 6-1 - Argentinean bred Peter Miller pupil has 22 career starts with four wins, six seconds and six third place finishes and was last seen running a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Californian here May 30 which followed a fifth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in January. Before that he posted a nice gate-to-wire win in the Grade 3 Native Diver at Del Mar November 29. Big Cazanova has placed in just one of his last five starts overall and enters in so-so form from post 7. Corey Nakatani rides.
Hard Aces 12-1 - John Sadler trainee finished third last time out in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes here May 30 after failing to place in his previous two starts - both graded stakes - a sixth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 11 and a fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7. Before that was a nice four length win in the minor Louisiana Handicap January 17 with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure and a second in the minor Tenacious Stakes in December. His only other graded stakes action resulted in sixth in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap at this time last year. Hard Aces looks for his first graded stakes score in so-so form Saturday from the rail with Victor Espinoza in the irons.
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Majestic City 12-1 - Richard Baltas multiple graded stakes winner has five wins, four seconds and four third place finishes. He enters off a good win in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park handicap May 25 which followed an eighth in the minor Santana Mile, a fifth in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes in March and 10 months away from the track. He also had a third in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes May 3, 2014 and a second in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in March of 2014. Majestic City hadn't looked good before that impressive win last time out - hopes are that he can continue that momentum from post 5 with Charles Lopez in the reins.
Motown Men 20-1 - raced in graded stakes company back in 2011 and finished fourth in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park before returning to top company May 2 and finishing a respectable third in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes on this track. He followed that result with a good win last time out in the minor Tiznow Stakes here May 23. Before the Precisionist was a clear victory by 7 1/2 lengths with a 103 Beyer Speed Figure in an Allowance Optional Claiming, a second and a third place finish in a trio of Allowance Optional Claiming races here this year. Motown Men has now placed in five straight races - competitive in every race this year. Jockey Tyler Baze hope to keep that trend going from gate 4 Saturday.
Batti Man 30-1 - Argentinean trained Kristin Mulhall trained gelding has 32 career starts with four wins, seven seconds and four third place finishes - a win and two seconds in four starts this year. Last time out was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming May 31 after a win in a similar race May 8 and another second in an Allowance Optional Claiming in February - all results on this track. He last raced in graded stakes company in May, 2014 and finished sixth in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes and has placed in just one of four graded stakes tries in his career. Batti Man looks to be in tough when he leaves from the rail with Fernando Hernandez Perez aboard.
Poshsky 30-1 - Peter Miller trained gelding has failed to place in his last four starts overall - a sixth last time out in the minor Tiznow Stakes May 23 followed a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming here in April, an eighth in the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile here in October and a sixth in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap in August. Before that was a two race Allowance Optional Claiming win streak at this time last year. Poshsky has four wins and two seconds in 14 career starts but hasn't looked great in the leadup to this race. Flavien Prat has been tabbed with changing his fortunes around from post 3.
Lideris 50-1 - made his North American debut June 28, 2014 trainer Peter Miller and finished fifth in last year's Gold Cup at Santa Anita and has been disappointing since - a sixth in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes followed a ninth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup way back in September and a seventh in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap in July. He had a couple of good wins in Peru - the Group 1 Gran Premio Asociacion Latinoamericana de Jockey Clubes e Hipodromos and a Grade 2 score - the Clasico Hipodromo de Monterrico but hasn't been great on North American soil. Hopes are that he can finally get on track Saturday from gate 10 with Joe Talamo in the.