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Hollywood Gold Cup Preview: Midcourt, Higher Power, Improbable, Tenfold All Prominent
Midcourt winning the San Pasqual (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Hollywood Gold Cup Preview: Midcourt, Higher Power, Improbable, Tenfold All Prominent

ARCADIA, CA – A race steeped in history dating back to the legendary Seabiscuit’s inaugural triumph in 1938, the $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes (G1) will be run for the 81st time this Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

To be run at the classic North American distance of 1 1/4 miles, locally-based Midcourt (the beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Handicap [G1]), leading money-earner Higher Power, Grade 1 winner Improbable, and eastern-based millionaire Tenfold head a field of six 3-year-olds and up.

As a special treat, the three-time winner of the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup and the legendary California-bred Lava Man, who currently resides at trainer Doug O’Neill’s Barn 88, will lead the parade to the post. Lava Man became the first three-time winner of Hollywood Park’s signature race for the handicap division since Hall of Famer Native Diver did it for trainer Buster Millerick in 1965-67.

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Owner: C R K Stable, LLC

Trainer: John Shirreffs

A winner of 4 races in a row this past year, this 5-year-old Midnight Lute gelding ran the best race of his career two starts back, as he went gate to wire in the San Pasqual Stakes (G2) on February 1, winning by 3 1/2 lengths while earning a career-best 104 Beyer Speed figure for the mile and 1/8. Subsequently third, beaten 3/4 of a length as the 3/5 favorite in the Big ’Cap on March 7, Midcourt sat second throughout and will need to break sharply to have his best chance in the Gold Cup with Victor Espinoza back aboard.

Higher Power

Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC

Trainer: John Sadler

Idle since a well-beaten last as the 5/2 favorite in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park on January 25, the 5-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro’s biggest career win came 4 starts back in the Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) on August 17, 2019, a race in which he sat a close second early en route to a sensational 5 1/4-length win. Third in both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) two starts back on November 2 and the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) on September 28, Higher Power has 2 thirds from 3 Santa Anita Park starts and is 1-for-3 at 1 1/4 miles. With regular rider Flavien Prat engaged, Sadler will try to overcome a four-month layoff on Saturday.


Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Attentive to the pace, this 4-year-old City Zip colt opened up by 2 lengths turning for home on a wet fast surface but tired to finish a close second in the ungraded Oaklawn Mile Stakes on April 11, his first start since well-beaten at 9/2 in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) here on Novemver 2. Improbable, who won the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) in December 2018, could improve by many lengths on his home court with a recent race under his belt as he tries a mile and 1/4 for the second time.


Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Most recently fourth in the 1 1/8-mile New Orleans Classic Stakes (G2) on March 21, this 5-year-old full horse by Curlin has been winless since taking the Pimlico Special Stakes (G3) 7 starts back on May 17, 2019. A winner of Saratoga’s Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) in July 2018, Tenfold also has the notable distinction of being third, beaten 3/4 of a length by eventual Triple Crown Champion Justify in the 2018 Preakness Stakes (G1). A recently-turned millionaire, homebred Tenfold has 4 wins from 17 starts and will hope to have a lively pace to exploit.

The Hollywood Gold Cup field with jockeys and weights in post position order:

Race 10 of 11

Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT

Parsimony – Mario Gutierrez – 122
Midcourt – Victor Espinoza – 124
Higher Power – Flavien Prat – 124
Brown Storm – Abel Cedillo – 122
Improbable – Drayden Van Dyke – 122
Tenfold – Mike Smith – 122

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Originally presented on December 9, 1950, and on loan from the California Thoroughbred Foundation, the 1950 Hollywood Gold Cup trophy will adorn the Winner’s Circle ceremony. Originally run in 1938 at Hollywood Park, the inaugural Gold Cup was won by the legendary Seabiscuit.  When Hollywood Park was shuttered following their 2013 season, the race was moved to Santa Anita and renamed the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.

Recently restored to its original name, the Hollywood Gold Cup will be run for the 81st time on Saturday and Santa Anita Park has announced that in commemoration of the renaming, the track has commissioned a new issue of the Gold Cup trophy that will be presented to this year’s winner upon completion. Crafted by Shreve & Co., the 1950 trophy consists of more than 42 ounces of 14-Karat Gold and is more than a foot long.

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