Gold Cup at Santa Anita Recap - Super Screener
Super Screener

Gold Cup at Santa Anita Recap

2015 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) post race recap

The 2015 Gold Cup at Santa Anita is an example of a great race not being a good race.  It was a great race in that it was thrilling, tons of fun to watch and why we love racing.  But from a quality standpoint, was it worthy of the Gold Cup’s lofty history and will it have a big impact on this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic?  We say no.  Hard Aces is a nice horse who picked a great time run his best race.  Equally important, the pace set up for the deep closer was perfect and Victor Espinosa gave a masterful ride.  All that led to Hard Aces wining a desperate photo over Hoppertunity.

Big Cazanova dueled suicide half mile of 45.90 with hopeless longshot Batti Man and in the process cooked any potential frontrunners and set the table for closers like Hard Aces, Hoppertunity and Finnegan’s Wake.  The key moment in the race was when Martin Garcia swung Hopperutnity 5 wide for the stretch drive and Victor Espinosa saved every inch of ground on the rail with Hard Aces.  Big Cazanova fought valiantly and only capitulated late. Favored Catch a Flight had the jump on Hoppertunty and Hard Aces but could only manage 3rd.

“Hopper” was almost certainly the best horse on the day and would have won with a more equitable trip, but his recent benign 3rd in the Stephen Foster indicates that the California handicap division is behind the East.

WINNER: Hard Aces


TOUGH TRIP: Big Cazanova ran very well considering the pace he set, Majestic City stumbled badly at the break

IMPRESSIVE EFFORT: If you want anybody going forward out of this race it’s Hoppertunity, but we don’t know if he’s up to competitors out East and the incoming 3 year olds