Hollywood Turf Cup Predictions, Betting Odds, Top Picks (Del Mar)

Hollywood Turf Cup Odds and Post Positions

Check out our predictions and odds for the Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 AWARD WINNER 10/1
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J J Hernandez D Hofmans
2 FRIAR’S ROAD 4/1
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U Rispoli M McCarthy
3 SAY THE WORD 8/1
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K Desormeaux P D’Amato
4 ASTRONAUT 6/1
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V Espinoza J Shirreffs
5 CUPID’S CLAWS 8/1
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A Cedillo P Miller
6 ACCLIMATE 5/1
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R Gonzalez P D’Amato
7 ROCKEMPEROR 6/5
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F Prat C Brown

Best Bets for the Hollywood Turf Cup

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$20 Win and Place – Friar’s Road = $40

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Friar’s Road (4/1)

Hollywood Turf Cup Predictions

Rockemperor

Trained by Chad Brown, this son of Holy Roman Emperor had plenty of chances against top company before finally breaking through with an excellent victory in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. It was certainly his best result ever in a career with many good performances. Off that, he went straight to the Breeders’ Cup Turf, where he did not have the best of trips before finishing mid-pack. Either performance could be good enough to win this, but he will have to make sure Acclimate does not get away early, and then have enough left to hold off the true late runners. He is a deserving favorite and the one to beat, but there is one in here who I think has a big chance to prevent his second ever stakes win.

Friar’s Road

Trained by Michael McCarthy, this son of Quality Road is the least proven horse in the race. He’s actually only made two starts on the grass. The good news is that both were very good. His turf debut came three months ago, going 11 furlongs at Del Mar, and he powered home an easy winner over a short field despite a dawdling early pace. Next out, he was last of all for much of the 10 furlongs of the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita, but was able to uncork a big run, splitting horses in the stretch to just miss the victory in a three-horse photo with United and Acclimate. He appears to be a budding turf star, and the experience of the last one should only help as he stretches out to 12 furlongs on Friday. He is the top pick to upset the favorite.

Acclimate

Early speed is always dangerous, and there is little doubt that this 7-year-old gelding will find his way to the front quickly after the gates open. Last time in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he settled for second early and had no answers for all the talent in that race when the real running began. This race is certainly lighter than that, and it also has less early pace to contend with. As a matter of fact, there appears to be only one other horse in the race who looks likely to stay close early. If they leave him alone for two long this veteran could become awfully tough to catch when they make the final turn for home. He is dangerous in this spot.

Astronaut

Trained by John Shirreffs, this one is also a 4-year-old son of Quality Road, like Friar’s Road. He finished 12th of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf earlier this month, but the result can be somewhat excused, having been checked hard at the 5/16 pole. Before that he turned in his best races yet, finishing second to Acclimate in the San Juan Capistrano, before turning the tables on him in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap. Like many in here, he does his best running from behind, and that late run has been consistent since moving to the turf in his second career start. If he can bounce back from the rough trip in the Breeders’ Cup, he could contend.

Say the Word

Bred in Canada, this 6-year-old veteran has been a solid turf performer for several years and at multiple distances. At his best, he is certainly capable of winning a race like this. One year ago, he made a strong late run to finish third in the Hollywood Turf Cup, while beaten only a length. This year, he was going better in the Spring with a trio of very good efforts, including a victory in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland going 12 furlongs. His last couple, though, were a little short of his best, so he will need a better performance on Friday to make a run at the top spot. Given a brief freshening, I can’t throw him out in here.

Cupid’s Claws

While this one has plenty of experience on the grass, he has found his biggest success on the main track. He exits a solid third-place performance behind top dirt marathoners Lone Rock and Tizamagician on Breeders’ Cup weekend, so he is in good form and clearly is comfortable with the 12 furlong distance, but whether he can handle turf horses of this class is very much in question. Having said that, his two turf tries recently were both promising enough to consider him as an exotics filler at nice odds.

Award Winner

A 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper, he looks to be the one most likely to press Acclimate for the early lead on Friday. In fact, he stalked and defeated him four starts back in the Grade 2 Charlie Whittingham. In three subsequent starts, though, he has failed to finish in the money while beaten twice by Acclimate, and once each by Friar’s Road and Astronaut. With a perfect stalking trip, he’s a possibility, but it’s hard not to like the horses who have been beating him recently better.

How to Watch the Hollywood Turf Cup

Hollywood Turf Cup Race Information
What Hollywood Turf Cup (Grade 2)
Location Del Mar
Time Friday, November 26 — 6:30 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $250,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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]