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
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
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
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
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
”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.