06/29/2013 3:43PM

Hollywood Park notes: Only nine nominated to Gold Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Game On Dude, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap in March, will be the favorite in next Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Saturday’s $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, the richest race of the Betfair Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting, drew just nine nominations.

There were six probable starters as of Saturday, a group led by defending champion Game On Dude. The winner of three stakes this year, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, Game On Dude will be a heavy favorite in the Gold Cup, which is run at 1 1/4 miles on the synthetic main track.

Game On Dude is expected to face the first five finishers of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on June 1 – Clubhouse Ride, Liaison, Oilisblackgold, Kettle Corn, and Batti Man.

Batti Man, who set the pace in the Californian before fading in early stretch, is not a certain runner.

“We’re keeping our options open,” trainer Dan Hendricks said on Friday.

Kettle Corn, third in the 2012 Gold Cup, worked six furlongs in 1:14.40 on Saturday.

Java’s War to head Swaps

Thursday’s $150,000 Swaps Stakes for 3-year-olds will have a small field led by Java’s War, the winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in April who was 13th in the Kentucky Derby, and Tiz a Minister, who won the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap here on June 2.

Java’s War worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Keeneland’s Polytrack surface on Saturday morning.

Other projected starters are Dice Flavor, who won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields in February and was fourth in the Affirmed, and Chief Havoc, an allowance race winner at 1 1/8 miles on May 30.

Chief Havoc worked a half-mile in 48.80 seconds on Saturday.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman