The razor-sharp City of Light is the headliner in Saturday’s $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) with a field of seven going to the post in the 1 ¼ mile race.
The race was originally named the Hollywood Gold Cup and moved to Santa Anita in 2014 after the closure of Hollywood Park. The race was first run in 1938 and was won by Seabiscuit.
The race has quite a long list of other classy winners including Citation, Swaps, Round Table, Native Diver, Ferdinand, Cigar, Real Quiet, Lava Man and Game On Dude.
With the additions of the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and the Dubai World Cup (G1), this race along with the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) have lost a bit of its luster, but this year’s field is solid.
City of Light has won three in a row, taking the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in his last outing. He owns a pair of Grade 1 wins in the Malibu and Triple Bend. The Michael McCarthy trainee is the 9-5 morning line favorite.
Accelerate was beaten a neck in the Oaklawn ‘Cap and is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. The John Sadler trainee won the Big ‘Cap two back.
The race is one of three graded stakes on an outstanding card at Santa Anita on Saturday. The supporting stakes are the $200,000 Charlie Whittingham (G2) which drew a field of eight older turf runners and the $300,000 Gamely (G1) which drew a field of eight fillies and mares that will travel 1 1/8 miles on turf.
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My Best Plays for Saturday will include my strongest plays from Belmont Park and Santa Anita.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
SA Race 5 The Gold Cup at Santa Anita G1 (2:30 PT)
#4 City of Light 9-5
#5 Dr. Dorr 5-2
#2 Accelerate 2-1
#6 Pavel 5-1
Analysis: City of Light has run three straight career tops, winning the nine-furlong Oaklawn Handicap (G2) last out by a neck over our third choice. He raced wide much of the trip and looks as if he will be able to handle the stretch out to 1 1/4 miles here. He came up short in two starts against Alw-1 optional claimers last year and then won the Malibu (G1) in his stakes debut at seven furlongs. Next up in the Triple Bend (G1) and he was a sharp winner again, beating Bobby Abu Dhabi, who came back to win the Kona Gold (G2) with a Beyer of 103 on April 21. The colt was a $710,000 Keeneland purchase by Quality road out of a Dehere mare. He looks primed for another top effort in his third start of his current form cycle and is getting four pounds from Accelerate.
Dr. Dorr earned a career top speed fig winning the Californian (G2) here at nine furlongs by 7 1/4 lengths, his third win in a row. He won the Santana Mile two back for his first starts win. He steps into a tougher spot here but has Baffert in his corner and he should be able to handle the extra ground. He is by Lookin At Lucky out of an Unusual Heat mare.
Accelerate was the beaten chalk in the Oaklawn ‘Cap last out. He earned a career top two back wining the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) here over a wet fast surface at 1 1/4 miles. He was just 1 for 8 last year, taking the San Diego ‘Cap (G2) by 8 1/2 lengths. The Sadler trainee shows up every time, landing in the money in 16 of his 18 career starts. If he runs back to his Big ‘Cap score he will be dangerous.
WIN: #4 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 4,5 / 2,4,5,6
TRI: 4,5 / 2,4,5,6 / 2,3,4,5,6