The Dudes do it: 1-2 finish in Hollywood Gold Cup

The Dudes did it.

First Dude held off Game On Dude by a nose to win the $500,000

Hollywood Gold Cup on Saturday, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob

Baffert a 1-2 finish.

The victory earned First Dude an automatic berth in the

Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Churchill Downs.

Their sweep of the top two places salvaged the day for Baffert,

who earlier saw 1-2 favorite Coil lose the $150,000 Swaps Stakes by

a head. His horses went 0 for 3 at Calder in Miami, including a

neck loss in one of the stakes races.

”I was having a bad day,” he said.

But the Dudes put a smile on his tanned face.

”I was hoping for a dead heat, which would have been really

cool. They both could have gotten a `Win and You’re In’ and really

bust out the Breeders’ Cup,” he said. ”I knew I’d won it, I just

didn’t know which one.”

The last trainer to go 1-2 in the Gold Cup was the late Bobby

Frankel in 2001, when Aptitude and Skimming did so after Futural

was disqualified from first and placed third. Richard Mandella, who

trained fourth-place Setsuko, swept the top three spots in the 1997

race.

Besides a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, First Dude’s

$150,000 entry fee and $10,000 in travel costs will be paid as part

of the BC Challenge program. If the horses had dead-heated, both

would have received berths in the race.

First Dude ran 1 1-4 miles under Martin Garcia in 2:01.57 and

paid $10.20, $4.80 and $3.20. First Dude was second in last year’s

Preakness and third in the Belmont for owner Donald Dizney, who

also bred the 4-year-old bay colt.

”I knew there was speed in the race, so I just broke and tried

to get him to relax and make one run,” Garcia said. ”That’s the

key to this horse, to make him relax. If you start fighting him,

he’ll just take off and no matter what you do you cannot pull him

up because he’s a big horse.”

Ridden by Chantal Sutherland, Game On Dude returned $5.60 and

$3.60 after setting the early pace.

”Twirling Candy felt so powerful, like he was going to pass me,

but Game On Dude can get the mile and a quarter and Twirling Candy

just faltered a little bit late,” Sutherland said. ”I could feel

Twirling Candy’s heart breaking.”

Even-money favorite Twirling Candy was another neck back in

third and paid $2.40 to show.

”It looked like he had a perfect trip and just didn’t have an

excuse, so maybe we’ll look at the distance,” trainer John Sadler

said, whose colt is winless in two attempts running 1 1-4

miles.

Sutherland was the first woman to have a mount in the race’s

72-year history. She and Game On Dude won the Santa Anita Handicap,

but the horse lost his two previous races.

The Baffert exacta paid $19.80.

It was the trainer’s third career win in the Gold Cup. He

trained 2003 winner Congaree and 1999 champion Real Quiet.

Baffert’s success came a day after a funeral mass for his mother

in his hometown of Nogales, Ariz. Ellie Baffert died June 23 after

a long fight against cancer. She was 88.

”She loved watching the races,” he said. ”She would feel

worse for me after a loss. She was a mother until the very

end.”

Defending champion Awesome Gem was fifth, followed by Dark Cove,

Miss Match and Soul Candy.

In the Swaps, Dreamy Kid beat Coil, denying Baffert a record

fifth victory in the race for 3-year-olds.

Joe Talamo and Dreamy Kid covered 1 1-18 miles on the synthetic

Cushion Track in 1:50.43 and paid $40, $8 and $4.40 at 19-1 odds.

Coil returned $2.60 and $2.10, while Uncle Sam was another 2 1-4

lengths back in third and paid $3 to show in the five-horse

field.

Coil was second most of the way around under Martin Garcia

before taking the lead in the stretch.

”Turning for home, I thought he was going to win by a lot, but

you just can’t do that on a synthetic (surface),” said Baffert,

who will point Coil toward either the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July

30 or the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 31.

Dreamy Kid closed strongly to win in his stakes debut and stop

Coil’s three-race winning streak. Talamo, who finished second

aboard Sidney’s Candy in last year’s Swaps, considered going

four-wide on the final turn.

”But I hate going that wide,” he said. ”Anytime you go

four-wide, they usually hang the last part. So I went to wait and

wait and I said, `You know if he runs like he works, he’ll win.’

And man, he really had a nice turn of foot. He’s the kind of horse

that’s just going to get better and better.”

Trainer Neil Drysdale, who has won the Swaps three times, put

blinkers on the colt for the first time to cut down on

distractions.

”We worked him the other day in blinkers and it made a huge

difference,” he said. ”We wanted to put blinkers on for the last

race but we couldn’t because he had won his previous race and

you’re not allowed to put blinkers on after you’ve won.”

Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas are tied with four victories apiece

in the 38-year history of the Swaps.

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