06/29/2013 3:43PM

Hollywood Park notes: Only nine nominated to Gold Cup

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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