The 4th of July weekend is upon us and that means some quality stakes racing. This Saturday Betfair Hollywood Park will be running the Hollywood Gold Cup, a Grade 1 for three year olds and up. Last year’s winner, Game On Dude, will be in the gate to defend his crown. Game On Dude will be looking to join Native Diver (1965-1967) and Lava Man (2005-2007) and the only multiple winners in the races history.
The Hollywood Gold Cup will be run at Betfair Hollywood Park at a distance of 1 1/4 miles over cushion track. Five horses are entered the $500,000 race. Whoever wins this week just might be the winner of the final running of the Gold Cup with the track apparently being shut down after this seasons meets. Hopefully the race will live on but let’s try and focus on this Saturdays race. Below is a table of entrants and morning lines.
|1||Clubhouse Ride||5/H||J Talamo||2-1|
|2||Game On Dude||6/G||M E Smith||4-5|
|3||Oilisblackgold||6/G||E A Maldonado||10-1|
|4||Kettle Corn||6/H||R Bejarano||5-1|
|5||Sky Kingdom||4/C||M Garcia||8-1|
Clubhouse Ride is coming into this race off a June 1st victory in the Grade 2 Californian at a distance of 1 1/8 miles over the Hollywood Park track. Prior to that he finished 2nd in five straight including the last three to Game On Dude. Clubhouse Ride has won four of 28 lifetime races. Talamo gets the mount for the first time since August of last year.
Game On Dude is the 4-5 favorite and enters this race on a four race winning streak dating back to loss in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Those wins include the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, G2 Charles Town Classic and the G3 Native Diver Handicap right here at Hollywood Park. Smith gets the mount since he has won all four since climbing on last December.
Oilisblackgold was third last time out to Clubhouse Ride in the Californian. He has never won a graded stakes race but also finished second in the G2 Tokyo City in March. This is his first attempt at G1 completion. Oilisblackgold is three for 26 lifetime.
Kettle Corn has not won a race since a 1 1/16 allowance race in November. He finished 3rd to Game On Dude in the Native Diver and was fourth to Clubhouse Ride in the Californian last time out. The six year old will be attempting to turn the table on both in the Gold Cup. Bejarano gets the mount.
Sky Kingdom is the son of Empire Maker so there are some bloodlines. He is four for 10 lifetime but failed in his first turf start as the odd-on favorite in the G2 San Juan Capistrano in April. He is rested and ran a big race two back winning the 1 1/2 mile Tokyo City Cup.
What to Expect
Technically any horse can win any race if everything goes just right but looking at these five Game On Dude is the clear favorite and has the supreme pedigree. He will have some rust to knock off since his last start was on April 20th. However he should be ready to fire as this is beginning of a run to the G1 Pacific Classic and eventually the G1 Breeders Cup Classic.
Game On Dude should have the lead by the time they hit the first turn with Sky Kingdom stalking in second. You should expect Clubhouse Ride and Kettle Corn to sit two to three lengths off of Sky Kingdom with Oilisblackgold bringing up the rear. Not much will change on the backstretch with the exception of Clubhouse Ride moving closer, within a length of the first two, by the time they enter the far turn.
By the time they hit the stretch Game On Dude, Sky Kingdom and Clubhouse Ride should all be within a half a length setting up a brilliant final furlong. I expect Game On Dude to dig deep, Clubhouse Ride should get up for second with a valiant Sky Kingdom in third about three lengths back.
The Pick (Winner vs. Value)
Obviously Game On Dude is my pick to win. You can figure that out from the earlier writing. If you are looking for a price, and Game On Dude will probably go off at 3-5, I would back Sky Kingdom and here is why.
He should be expected to go off in the 10-1 to 13-1 range at post time. If you consider his last start proof that he doesn’t like turf and that he prefers dirt or even cushion (which is somewhere between dirt and turf) then it can be thrown out. If you look two back to the Tokyo City there is a running style that on a perfect day can catch Game On Dude.
This is not a race that anyone should play their bankroll on and is also a race that warrants a single in multi-race tickets. That being said if you are determined to play $20 on this race I would consider the following with an eye to value.
Sky Kingdom on top with Game On Dude, Clubhouse Ride and Oilisblackgold for second and third.
Game On Dude, Clubhouse Ride, and Oilisblackgold, with Sky Kingdom with Game On Dude, Clubhouse Ride and Oilisblackgold
$4 Win and Place
Overall remember this is supposed to be fun and never wager what you can’t afford. Also if you find yourself betting to much or trying to scrounge for your next bet consider getting help. Enjoy the Hollywood Gold Cup and check back soon for the next race breakdown.