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With three consecutive graded stakes wins to his credit, trainer Michael McCarthy's City of Light, John Sadler's consistent, hard-hitting Accelerate and Bob Baffert's upstart Dr. Dorr head a field of seven 3-year-olds and up going a mile and a quarter in the 79th running of the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita this Saturday.
A race steeped in history, the inaugural Gold Cup was taken by the legendary Seabiscuit in 1938 and was run at Hollywood Park until the Inglewood, CA. oval was shuttered in December, 2013.
Race 5 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:40 PM
|1||Little Scotty||15-1||Asa Espinoza||Vladimir Cerin|
|2||Accelerate||2-1||Victor Espinoza||John Sadler|
|3||Prince of Arabia||12-1||Stewart Elliott||James Cassidy|
|4||City of Light||9-5||Drayden Van Dyke||Michael McCarthy|
|5||Dr. Dorr||5-2||Joseph Talamo||Bob Baffert|
|6||Pavel||5-1||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill|
|7||Full of Luck (CHI)||15-1||Flavien Prat||Jerry Hollendorfer|
Most recently second, beaten a neck by City of Light in the Oaklawn Handicap, Accelerate notched his biggest win two starts back when he cruised to a 5 ½ length win going a mile and a quarter in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on March 10. A four-time graded stakes winner, this 5-year-old full horse by Lookin At Lucky appears to be at the top of his game as he seeks his seventh win from 19 overall starts.
The beaten 6-5 favorite by City of Light at Oaklawn Park, Accelerate's connections may opt to ease off what could develop into a fast early pace on Saturday. With $625,000 in the bank this year from three starts, his overall earnings now total $1,412,480.
Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer: John Sadler
A rising star in a deep and varied equine arsenal, this 5-year-old Lookin At Lucky gelding has won three races in a row here dating back to March 2, at distances of 6 ½ furlongs, a flat mile and most recently, a mile and one eighth. In an effort that served notice to the racing world that he's now poised to become a major player, Dr. Dorr pressed the early pace and went on to a sensational 7 ¼ length win in the Grade II Californian Stakes on April 28, earning a career-high 108 Beyer Speed figure.
Out of the Unusual Heat mare Jax El, Dr. Dorr, who is named for a prominent Southern California-based orthopedic surgeon, is owned by Baffert's wife Jill and was bred in Kentucky by CHRB Commissioner Madeline Auerbach, the late actor Jack Klugman and Bob Baffert. With five wins from 11 starts and earnings of $288,320, he'll be trying Grade I competition for the first time.
Owner: Natalie J. Baffert
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Under McCarthy's patient tutelage, this 4-year-old Quality Road colt has blossomed into one of America's top rated older horses by virtue of a pair of Grade I wins here going seven furlongs, first on Dec. 26 in the Malibu Stakes and then on March 10, in the Triple Bend.
Streaking City of Light goes for his fourth consecutive graded stakes win and his third Grade I in his last four races Saturday in the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, one of three appealing and challenging graded stakes on a nine-race card that starts at 12:30 p.m.
At a mile and a quarter, the Gold Cup will be an eighth of a mile longer than City of Light's previous longest race, in which he posted a neck victory, the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap at a mile and an eighth on April 14.
Prior to that, the four-year-old Quality Road colt captured the Triple Bend and the Malibu, both Grade I's at seven furlongs, but credit trainer Michael McCarthy for developing the Kentucky-bred bay with patience and poise, as might be expected from one who came up under Todd Pletcher.
"It's been a nice progression from the Malibu to now," McCarthy said. "We tossed and turned about going to New York for the Met Mile, but the bottom line was, the horse relaxed so nicely going a mile and an eighth in the Oaklawn Handicap, we thought it was worth going ahead and finding out if a mile and a quarter was well within his scope.
"It opens a lot of options for us coming into the summer."
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
First run in 1938, the inaugural race had eight horses trying to beat Seabiscuit but the effort was in vain as he won by 1 ½ lengths. In 1948, Historian became the first horse to fly to a race when he flew from Chicago to California to compete in what was then known as the Hollywood Gold Cup and more history was made in 1951 when Citation won the race to become the first million-dollar earning racehorse.
Other winners of the race were Swaps, Round Table, Native Diver, Affirmed, Ferdinand, Cigar, Skip Away, Real Quiet, Lava Man and Game On Dude. Trainer Charlie Whittingham winning five editions of the race including four straight from 1971 to 1974.
In 2014 with Hollywood Park shutting down, Santa Anita Park took over the race and it was renamed the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.
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