Updated on 09/15/2011 12:29PM

Pincay gets Aptitude for Gold Cup

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Captain Steve's feisty attitude has convinced Bob Baffert to put him in the field for the Hollywood Gold Cup.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Bobby Frankel already has the horse to catch in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on Sunday. But if his front-runner, Skimming, does not stay

1 1/4 miles, Frankel hopes the good luck he and jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. are having together translates into victory for Skimming's entrymate, Aptitude.

Tuesday, Frankel named Pincay to ride Aptitude in the $750,000 Gold Cup, a race Pincay has won seven times, most recently in 1986. Although Pincay has never ridden Aptitude, he and Frankel are on a roll. Two of Pincay's five winners last weekend were for Frankel; together this meet they are 5 for 10, with three seconds. "He's riding good and I'm lucky with him," explained Frankel.

Pincay, who entered the week as the meet's second-leading rider, also will ride Frankel-trained Squirtle Squirt on Sunday in the Triple Bend Handicap. The seven-furlong race, expected to attract Caller One, is one of three Grade 2 stakes on the Gold Cup undercard. Go Go heads the

A Gleam for fillies and mares at seven furlongs, and 3-year-old fillies race 1 1/4 miles on turf in the Honeymoon Handicap.

Four of the five Gold Cup probables worked Tuesday, three at Hollywood. Aptitude, newly equipped with blinkers, was timed in 1:01.20 after breaking off slow and finishing fast. Skimming was timed in 1:01.40. Futural, on whom Chris McCarron seeks his first Gold Cup win (from 18 mounts, he has nine seconds), worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 for trainer Craig Dollase.

The most important work, however, took place at Santa Anita, where Captain Steve worked five furlongs in company in 1:00.20. His participation in the Gold Cup hinged directly on the workout. Captain Steve sent the right signals to trainer Bob Baffert: "He's in. He was aggressive, he wanted to do more, and that's what we were looking for."

Captain Steve is wheeling back 15 days after a runner-up finish June 16 at Churchill Downs in the Stephen Foster Handicap, but Baffert said the Gold Cup is not a whim. "I was always looking at this race. I figured he'd need the one at Churchill," he said. The Foster was Captain Steve's first start since winning the Dubai World Cup on March 24.

The Gold Cup will go as race six Sunday at 2:40 p.m. Pacific, and is expected to attract five starters with four betting interests. They are: the Juddmonte Farms entry of Skimming (Garrett Gomez) and Aptitude (Pincay); Captain Steve (Stevens); Futural (McCarron); and Power Wing (Julio Garcia).