Gold Cup Caps Closing Weekend at Santa Anita

A strong field will line up to contest the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) on Saturday, previously known as the Hollywood Gold Cup before the Hollywood venue was demolished. Trainer Bob Baffert will saddle race-time favorite Game on Dude who is a sensational 8-for-11 on this main oval. A multiple winner of this race, including a fine score in it last campaign, the gelded son of Awesome Again has been pretty sharp in his last pair of races this season and will surely be sent hard from the break in hopes of adding another trophy to his stellar career. The seven-year-old has trained fast of late and looms a huge shot with something near his best.

Fury Kapcori has risen to new heights this season for conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer and comes off a brave second in the Californian S. (G2), which snapped a four-race win streak. The bay son of Tiznow also likes to send early and he’s good enough with the right trip without a ton of pace pressure. Clubhouse Ride bagged the Californian most recently and he could be in a perfect spot in a field full of early speed. The Craig Lewis trainee will be on most of our tickets as he in in a solid form cycle with improvement here expected.

Imperative was a fine winner over the favorite in the lucrative Charles Town Classic (G2) and the four-year-old gelding is no fluke with some fine efforts in two of his last three against some strong competition. Grade 3 hero and Californian third Majestic Harbor, the rapidly improving Footbridge, Peruvian Group 1 hero Lideris and Salto Del Indio, a multiple Group 1-winning Chilean debuting for Mike Puype here, add to the intrigue of this field.

Also on Saturday, some of the better one-turn runners on the grounds will contest the $300,000 Triple Bend H. (G1). The Richard Baltas-trained Big Macher has evolved into one of the better sprinters on the West Coast over the past year or so and proved it with a smart tally in the Potrero Grande S. (G2) in advance of this. The ultra-consistent son of Beau Genius has won or placed in seven straight and could be the one to beat in this form run he is on.

2013 Met Mile (G1) star Sahara Sky, Los Angeles S. (G3) victor Cyclometer, Peter Miller’s Wine Police, second in the Los Angeles, Grade 2 hero Wild Dude, 2013 Southwest S. (G3) romper Super Ninety Nine, the surging Seeking the Sherrif, who has ripped off four straight fine wins and possible Happy My Way, who has been rolling over foes on the East Coast for Joe Orseno, makes this a fine betting race with a slew of options.

The $200,000 Royal Heroine S. (G2) and $100,000 Senorita S. (G3) will add depth to the Saturday card, while Sunday, which is closing day, will feature turf marathoners going 14 furlongs in the $200,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational S. (G2).