Hollywood Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile & Gamely Recap

The star of the show at Santa Anita on Monday was undoubtedly Defunded, who rolled gate-to-wire to win the historic G1 Hollywood Gold Cup and give trainer Bob Baffert a record ninth victory in the race. Exaulted has been transformed by a switch to turf and sealed his ascent with a convincing success in the G1 Shoemaker Mile, while the ex-Brazilian Macadamia claimed a notable G1 double – both hemispheres – when taking the Gamely.

Belmont Stakes Odds

Hollywood Gold Cup

G1, $400,000, 1m 2f dirt, 3yo+

Defunded cashes in for Baffert

The main event at Santa Anita on Monday had Bob Baffert’s name all over it, both historically and from the moment entries closed, so it was no surprise when the master trainer nailed a record ninth Hollywood Gold Cup with all-the-way winner Defunded, who was too good for longshots Piroli and Kiss Today Goodbye.

Defunded – runner-up in this race 12 months ago – has improved out of all recognition since last fall and the 3-5 favourite quickly assumed the position he prefers, dictating the pace under Juan Hernandez. He took them all the way around, and when 28-1 poke Piroli threw down a challenge at the top of the lane he was more than equal to it, turning back that persistent rival through the stretch to score by a comfortable length.

There were three and a quarter lengths back to 37-1 chance Kiss Today Goodbye in third, and he was a half-length clear of disappointing second-choice Country Grammer, barnmate of the winner, who played no part.

“It’s a very important race and it’s an honour to win it,” said Baffert, whose first Hollywood Gold Cup came with Real Quiet in 1999. “The mile and a quarter has always been a question mark for this horse, but he has relaxed as he’s matured.”

Since his stakes breakthrough in the G1 Awesome Again in October, which announced him as a coming force, Defunded has never been off the board and has bankrolled just shy of $1m this year alone. Now that he has proved beyond doubt his efficacy at ten furlongs, the logical mid-season target is the $1m G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar on September 2.

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Defunded goes wire to wire to win the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Sports #Horse #Horses #FYP

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Hollywood Gold Cup Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Defunded3.202.602.10
2. Piroli 10.406.80
3. Kiss Today Goodbye  8.20

Winning time: 2m 02.85s

Shoemaker Mile Stakes

G1, $500,000, 1m turf, 3yo+

Exaulted wins the turf war

Half an hour earlier, Juan ‘Hot-hand’ Hernandez had claimed another G1 prize aboard Exaulted, a late-blooming six-year-old who completed a four-timer when turning back longshot Irideo and favourite Hong Kong Harry in the Shoemaker Mile.

The switch to the lawn at the beginning of the year has completely transformed Exaulted, who is unbeaten on turf and produced a clear career-best here. The 3-1 second-choice was never too far from the brisk fractions laid down by Lamplighter Jack and came with a swooping surge to take command at the top of the stretch.

There were challengers queuing up behind him but Exaulted had more to give and never looked like being reeled in, although 41-1 shot Irideo never gave up and closed to within a half-length at the wire. The pair had also filled the exacta in the G3 American over course and distance last month. Hong Kong Harry rallied too late down the outside and was a length further back in third.

“He has improved with every race on turf,” said Hernandez, the current meet leader in the jockeys’ room. “We had a nice trip – he picked it up at the three-eighths pole and wouldn’t let anything go past him.”

It’s a different world now for Exaulted, a one-for-11 allowance horse on the main track but an unbeaten G1 winner on turf. This race was a win-and-in for the $2m G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, run over course and distance on November 4, and trainer Peter Eurton – winning his first G1 since late 2019 – will work back from that destination when making plans for his new stable star.

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Exaulted takes the G1 Shoemaker Mile and earns a spot in the BC Mile #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Sports #Horse #Horses #FYP

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Shoemaker Mile Stakes Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Exaulted8.204.803.20
2. Irideo 27.809.20
3. Hong Kong Harry  2.40

Winning time: 1m 34.08s

Gamely Stakes

G1, $400,000, 1m 1f turf, 3yo+ females

Macadamia cracks it at last

It took a while for Macadamia to find her feet after leaving her native Brazil, but she’s right at home in California now and picked up her first G1 in the northern hemisphere when springing a mild upset in the Gamely, beating Quattroelle and odds-on favourite Queen Goddess.

“A lot of times, South American imports can take longer to catch up with the older horses,” said trainer Phil D’Amato, pointing to the fact that they are six months younger than horses of the same ‘age’ owing to different breeding seasons. “She finally did, and now she can compete with the best of them.”

Macadamia took her time here too, the 6-1 third-choice given a patient ride by Tiago Pereira as her barnmate School Dance twelved the field along on the front end. When it came time to run she was ready, though, hooking up with Queen Goddess in mid-stretch before asserting with an eighth to run and keeping on strongly to get the job done by a length. Quattroelle rallied from the rear to pip Queen Goddess for the place slot by a nose.

“Tiago gets a lot of credit for her transformation,” added D’Amato, who was signing for his first success in the Gamely. “He rides her every week and the two have just gelled.”

Macadamia is now five-for-13 lifetime, with two G1s in Brazil set against this victory and her G3 Wilshire score last month. Now she has settled in properly there could be more to come, with D’Amato considering the G2 Yellow Ribbon over a mile-sixteenth at Del Mar on August 12 as her next objective.

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Macadamia cracks it at last in the G1 Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Sports #Horse #Horses #FYP

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Gamely Stakes Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Macadamia14.406.403.40
2. Quattroelle 6.603.40
3. Queen Goddess  2.20

Winning time: 1m 48.01s

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