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Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park!
$20 Exacta Box – Stilleto Boy and Defunded = $40
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Stilleto Boy (3/2)
Fresh off an impressive front-running score in the Grade 2 Californian on April 30, Stilleto Boy headlines a compact field of five set for the 84th running of the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on Monday at Santa Anita.
Trained by Ed Moger, the 4-year-old son of Shackleford was third in both the Pegasus World Cup and Santa Anita Handicap earlier this year and will be looking for his first Grade 1 victory in his sixth try.
Chief among his rivals in the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup will be Royal Ship. Second, beaten only ahead in last year’s edition, he earned his first victory since last year’s Californian when he won impressively seven weeks ago.
Trained by Richard Mandella, the 6-year-old Brazilian import was a five-length winner of the ungraded John Shear Mile at Santa Anita in what was his first race in nearly eight months.
Second, in a pair of graded stakes last summer, Defunded is another who should get plenty of attention in the holiday feature. Like Royal Ship, he was a sharp winner in his first race back after a sizable layoff.
Previously trained by Bob Baffert, the 4-year-old Dialed In gelding rolled to an easy victory in a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita in his first start for trainer Sean McCarthy three weeks ago.
Ridden for the first time by J. J. Hernandez last time, this gelded son of Shackleford was sent right to the lead in the 9-furlong Californian and turned in a very strong effort over the Santa Anita main track. I look for the same tactics on Monday as he attempts to carry his speed an extra furlong.
In fact, in his two biggest wins, the Californian and last season’s Iowa Derby, he utilized his early speed to dominate. In between, he turned in several good performances from a little off the pace, but the rider change may have been what he needed.
The distance will be a question, but he is battle-tested and has proven to be a very game horse. The class of the race and with the most speed, he is the one to beat. He is the top pick.
This son of Midshipman had a big chance to win this race last year, when he had the lead in a deep stretch, but could not hold off Country Grammer late, in what was his finest performance of his career.
He was a little disappointing in the two races that followed last year but did come back with a nice win early last month. To be ridden again by Mike Smith, I expect him to work hard early to not let Stilleto Boy have things his own way. That could be a tough task in the 10-furlong Gold Cup.
His sharp return win gives him real hope that he can run another big race this year, but I only like him third-best this time.
Trained by Sean McCarthy, this Dialed In gelding made solid headway in graded stakes races as a lightly raced 3-year-old last season. After running fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby off a maiden win, he finished second in both the Affirmed and Los Alamitos Derby.
Given a break from graded stakes competition, he rolled in an allowance victory to close out the season, before returning from a layoff to win nicely in his first start this year.
With Stilleto Boy having the most speed and Royal Ship likely to chase, this one could sit in a good spot early behind the two favorites. It will be tough to run down the favorite, but I believe he has the best shot to pull the upset.
This consistent son of Will Take Charge will get his biggest test yet on Monday. Either first or second in every race that he has finished in the last eight, he comes into the race off an impressive victory in a turf allowance race 16 days ago.
Like Royal Ship and Defunded, he looks to have enough tactical speed to stay in touch early and is in good form. Having said that, I think his future might be on grass, as I don’t see anything he has done yet on dirt good enough to believe he can win the Hollywood Gold Cup.
A grade 2 winner as a juvenile, this son of Union Rags has been unable to fulfill the potential he showed early on. With only a single allowance victory in the last two years, he will be a deserving longshot in this Grade 1 affair.
Given his recent form, beaten a combined 41 lengths in three consecutive graded stakes, it’s difficult to imagine him suddenly popping up here with a big effort. He is not for me.
|Hollywood Gold Cup Race Information
|Hollywood Gold Cup (Grade 1)
|Santa Anita Park
|Monday, May 30 — 5:30 pm Eastern time
|How to Watch
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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