Alex Solis was aboard the Strub stakes winner as he drilled the mile in 1:40 4/5 in company of Soul Of The Matter and Corey Nakatani, with the Dubai World Cup runnerup besting his stablemate and completing the mile in 1:40. Mervyn Le Roy winner Siphon went on his own and got the same mile distance in 1:37.
"The time on the Dare and Go and Soul Of The Matter work was a little slower in comparison to Siphon, due to my over instructing," said Mandella, whose best Gold Cup placing from four starters came in his initial attempt when saddling Poley to finish second in 1983. "They went slow the first half but finished the last three-eighths in :35-and-change and galloped out strong."
The race figures to be tough from top to bottom, with all seven probables listing Grade I or Group 1 wins. Siphon, the only challenger without a North Amercian Grade I victory to his credit, captured the Group I Grande Premio Juliano Martins in Brazil and missed by 3/4 of a length in last year's NYRA Mile, his only Grade I attempt.
Mandella holds a formidable hand for the Gold Cup, with a three-pronged attack, coming from the front with Siphon and the back with Soul Of The Matter with Dare And Go pressing the pace in the middle. "It doesn't matter how perfect it sets up on paper," he said. "You can look good going in, but it never works that perfectly and only one of them can get it right."
Gold Cup Probables Grade I / Group I win
Dare AndGo Strub StakesIn other developments:
Geri Oaklawn Handicap
Helmsman Strub Stakes
Mr Purple Santa Anita Handicap
Siphon Grande Premio Juliano Martins (Brz)
Soul Of The Matter Super Derby
Tinners Way Pacific Classic (1994 & 95)
Tinners Way is expected to work Friday morning for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Geri is set to arrive from Belmont Park next Wednesday.
Probables for the 57th running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, 1 1/4 miles on the main track, second leg in the MGM Grand Classic Crown: Dare And Go, Alex Solis; Helmsman, Chris McCarron; Mr Purple,* no rider; Siphon, David Flores; Soul Of The Matter, Corey Nakatani; Tinners Way, Eddie Delahoussaye, and Geri, Jerry Bailey.
Possible: Luthier Fever, Brice Blanc
* Eligible for the $2-million MGM Grand Classic Crown bonus.
The Milady figures to be one of the toughest distaff heats of the summer, and none of the four runners can be taken lightly.
"They're all of very equal ability," said Dollase. "These are all the best fillies in the country. There might be a better one out there, but if there is, we haven't seen her yet."
Jewel Princess defeated Serena's Song in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap on Kentucky Oaks day, and brings a four-for-six record at the mile and a sixteenth distance into the Milady. The game plan will be simple for Corey Nakatani, who can sit back on the late-running filly and watch the pace unfold.
"There's a lot of speed so we'll be watching them all and coming at them at the end," said Dollase.
Trainer John Shirreffs is off to a strong meeting in Inglewood, with five winners from 15 starters, including a win with Borodislew in the Hawthorne Handicap on May 25.
Shirreffs also considers the Milady a wide-open event, and didn't want to venture a guess as to who would be favored. "Every horse in there has a chance," said Shirreffs, who presented a different view of the possible pace scenario than Dollase. "Urbane will be the only speed and I thought she ran a real tough race last time. When Borodislew went by her, she really dug in gamely. Jewel Princess will be closing and Twice The Vice has beaten the best."
Confirmed for the 45th running of the Milady Handicap, 1 1/16 miles on the main track : Borodislew, Eddie Delahoussaye, 119; Jewel Princess, Corey Nakatani, 120; Twice The Vice, Chris McCarron, 120; Urbane, Alex Solis, 117.
"We're trying to sort that out," said Drysdale, who equipped the Gallantsky horse with blinkers for his last start and tried him back on the main track in an allowance race at Golden Gate where he ended up third as the $1.10-1 favorite.
"He ran so well on the dirt in New Orleans that I wanted to try it again," he said. "But he didn't do so well in San Francisco. He looked real good turning for home and then he sort of dogged it."
Drysdale is hoping Patio De Naranjos will find the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Jim Murray to his liking. "We're just trying to find the right thing for him," Drysdale said. "He's overdue."
Probables for the Jim Murray Handicap, in post position order from the rail out: Opera Score, Omar Berrio, 117; Hidden Source, Kent Desormeaux, 114; Bedivere, Chris Antley, 114; Shrewd Idea, Alex Solis, 117; Polish Admiral, Brice Blanc, 117; Patio De Naranjos, Rene Douglas, 118; Big Sky Jim, Eddie Delahoussaye, 115.
Saturday's schedule includes the $200,000 Mother Goose (Gr. I) from Belmont, 2:10 p.m. post time, and the Caesars International, 3:40 p.m. Sunday, Hollywood Park will offer the $100,000 Prioress Stakes (Gr. II) from Belmont Park, set for 2:00 p.m., and the $300,000 Ohio Derby (Gr. II), 2:45 p.m.
For the second year in a row Caesars Palace Las Vegas and Caesars World Atlantic City will offer a bonus for sweeping the Caesars International and the $700,000 Caesars Palace Turf Championship on July 21 at Hollywood Park. A horse capturing both races will receive a $280,000 bonus for a total $1,000,000 payday. Sandpit earned $750,000 for sweeping the series last year.
FINISH LINES: Jockey agent Bob Meldahl noted that Corey Nakatani has a big day lined up Gold Cup day with mounts on Soul Of The Matter in the Hollywood Gold Cup, Afternoon Deelites in the Triple Bend Handicap, Semoran in the Affirmed Stakes and Megan's Interco in the Super Diamond . . . Geri is due to arrive at Hollywood Park Wednesday with Northern Spur and Sandpit on the return flight from the East Coast . . . Hollywood Derby winner Labeeb worked six furlongs in 1:15 4/5 over the turf in preparation for the $100,000 American Handicap on July 4 . . . Thursday's notable works included Royal Chariot, who drilled seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5; Lit De Justice, five furlongs on the turf in 1:02 1/5; Windsharp returned to the worktab going five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over the grass . . . The Ron McAnally barn indicated that Hollywood Futurity winner Matty G will make his first start since his 17th place finish in the Kentucky Derby in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap on Gold Cup day. Trainer Ron McAnally won the race last year with Mr Purple
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