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Hollywood Park: Thirtyfirststreet will take another shot in Hollywood Gold Cup
INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Four months later, the eighth-place finish by Thirtyfirststreet in the Santa Anita Handicap still stings co-owner Mark Gorman.
Turning into the stretch, Thirtyfirststreet was fourth when jockey Eswan Flores guided the 4-year-old colt to the rail, aiming for a narrow gap. There was not enough space. An 83-1 shot, Thirtyfirststreet struck the rail and faded to finish eighth.
“We thought we’d finish first or second there,” Gorman said.
Thirtyfirststreet lost his next two starts – an eighth in the New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds on April 1 and a fourth in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 5.
Those setbacks have not deterred Gorman and partners Neil Haymes and Sterling Stable from trying for another lucrative prize – Saturday’s $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles.
The task is formidable: Beat Game On Dude, the leading older horse in California and, arguably, the United States.
Game On Dude is the 124-pound highweight. Thirtyfirststreet will carry 112 pounds. Gorman describes the weight break as “a big advantage,” but realizes what Thirtyfirststreet must accomplish.
“We’re taking a shot,” he said. “We’ve built him up to give him every chance to compete against this type of horse. We thought we had a shot in the Big Cap, and we got knocked against the rail. That ended that.”
Gorman said the disappointment of the Big Cap defeat on March 3 led to a quick turnaround for the New Orleans Handicap, where Thirtyfirststreet raced wide throughout.
“The mistake we made after the Big Cap was we tried to make up for that loss,” he said. “We traveled across the country to New Orleans with four weeks between races. Who knows what knocking against the rail did to him?”
In the Mervyn LeRoy, Thirtyfirststreet finished fourth of nine, 5 1/4 lengths behind Morning Line, who led throughout.
“He raced good, it’s just that Morning Line had it all his own way,” Gorman said.
After that race, the goal for the owners and trainer Doug O’Neill became the Gold Cup, with ample rest time in between.
“We’ve always thought he was really special,” Gorman said. “We kind of raced him too much. We want to give him another chance. Unfortunately, we’re racing against some good horses.”
Game On Dude will be a heavy favorite in an expected field of seven. The other probable starters, with weights, are Richard’s Kid (120), Kettle Corn and Uh Oh Bango (both at 117), Anthony’s Cross (115), and Spud Spivens (114).
Bob Baffert trains Game On Dude and Richard’s Kid. Each won a stakes in his last start. Game On Dude won the Grade 2 Californian Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths on June 2. Richard’s Kid, who raced in Dubai in 2011 and earlier this year, won the Prove It Stakes over 1 3/8 miles on June 8 in his first start in the United States since a win in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes in October 2010.
Anthony’s Cross is trained by Eoin Harty, who put the chances of the 4-year-old colt starting at “50-50.”
Anthony’s Cross, winner of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes in 2011, finished fourth in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on May 28, but was promoted to third after a rival was disqualified for causing trouble in the stretch. Anthony’s Cross was steadied in the final sixteenth, which Harty said clearly cost a placing.
“It’s hard to say, but I think he would have been second,” he said.
Winning the Gold Cup against a rival such as Game On Dude will be difficult, Harty said.
“He has to have a bad day, and we have to have a good day,” he said. “This is a huge step up in class.”
why does he have to leave California BC is here no reason to deal with that crappy weather everywhere else
The equalizer here is the weight assignments. Sure helps with betting, but is costly to the sport from a casual fan's perspective. Very disappointing entries, as a whole, for this race. If this is a win and your in the BC Classic, carring 112 lbs (plus whatever overweight) really does not cut it if Thirtyfirststreet wins and elects to go to Classic.
weak Weak Weak field.... This article is at best silly. Good luck to all. But look at this group of horses..Yikes..
Game On Dude, arguably the best horse in the U.S.? Did they kill every other graded-caliber horse in the country and not tell anyone? When he leaves California, then we'll talk.
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“We thought we’d finish first or second there,” Gorman said. You got to be kidding me, this horse was 83-1 and hitting the rail or not, he was not going to be first or second. Furthermore, he didn't belong in that race in the first place, and also, he certainly doesn't belong in this race. He belongs in top level allowance races at best and putting him in any other minor stakes races would also be a stretch.
The truth is Game On Dude will leave this tired group of hard knockers gasping for air. Richard's Kid is likely to run 2nd and if he fails you could see Kettle Korn or Uh Oh Bango in the exacta. But Baffert could easily be one - two. The rest will stagger in whatever random order the day provides. To me this looks like it will be a highly paid work out. At least the other jocks will get a chance to admire Chantal's sweet booty! Thirtyfirststreet might be up against it with high priced claimers - let alone graded stakes horses. And poor placement really does a dis-service to the horse.
This field is what the Californian Stakes field should be, not the Gold Cup.
This horse has no shot at this distance. Pretty delusional placement.
mark gorman is in complete dreamland to think this horse has a chance,,it looks like his ego is ahead of reality but at least he gets to see his name in print, if anything else.
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