The 17th Running of the G2 HOL Turf Cup
November 26, 2021 17:10
DMR Race #6 $250.000 11/2 Turf
3YO 121 Older 124 Lbs
Track Record-2:24.75 (Clockwork Chai-2017)
Stakes Record-2:23.59 (Bronze Sabre-2011)
Holiday weekend stakes action at DMR on Friday where they will run the 17th edition of the G2 HOL Turf Cup. A field of eight has signed-on for the 11/2 turf contest where the contestants will battle for the $250.000 purse. Three year-olds will carry 121 pounds and the elders get in at 124. Jockey Mario Gutierrez (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) has dominated this event recently as his mounts have taken the prize four consecutive runnings. Trainers John Henry (2019, 2020) and Aml Racing (2008, 2017) have secured two Turf Cups each and share the lead for all HRP trainers.
This year’s field includes last year’s champion, Dead Madness as he looks to become the first HRP athlete to take two of these events. He has his work cut out for him as there are several horses in here who possess the capability to etch their own name on to the trophy. Here’s the eight horses who will battle it out in the $250.000 G2 HOL Turf Cup:
#1 Dracarys (TwinTowersRacing/T. Gaffalione 124): Rail-horse is 0-9 this season, but his latest is probably the best run of his season and he gets the same 12-furlong trip for this. He does look like he will be forwardly-placed, but hard to envision a scenario where he wins this. May be able to use his early foot and this post and secure a minor prize, but it will take something greater than what we’ve seen from him so far.
#2 Hammerfest (Smokey Stover/Mario Gutierrez 124): Jockey has won the last four renewals of this event and his mount looks like a true 12-furlong horse. Last two were near misses going this trip in graded events and he took a G3 up the road at this same distance. Going to be involved from the get-go and appears to have the class and stamina to be around when the money is on the line. Lots to like about this guy; obvious contender.
#3 A Born Dancer (Maxmillion Farm/D. Davis 124): 5yo is a cool horse and appears to want every inch of this trip. Has spent the majority of his season chasing dirt prizes, but he should handle the surface switch just fine. He has a bit of diversity in his running lines so it will be interesting to see how he attacks this assignment. Tough to endorse for the top spot, but there is some quality here and could see him grabbing a piece of this.
#4 French Style (Maxmillion Farm/A. Cedillo 121): Three year-old draws right outside his stablemate and he is still seeking a maiden-breaking win. This will be his fourth graded start in five races for the current barn and he is built to relish these types of trips. He has been making-up ground/improving his position at the end of his last four starts and just needs to put it all together. Still, hard to take maidens in graded events and especially so when facing these types. Wouldn’t be a surprise if he cashed, but don’t think he gets his picture taken.
#5 Spankersville (The Sidley Stud/J. Bravo 121): 3yo gets his sixth crack at the graded level and is still seeking his first win against these types. Needs to improve on his first effort at this trip when he was always last in a five-horse field and it’s difficult to find an effort in his form that suggests he could take this; however, that is why they run the races before handing out the trophies. Think he probably drops back and tries to run them down late, but doubt he can pass all of the ones that will be in front of him.
#6 Dead Madness (John Henry/S.R. Bahen 124): Defending champ has had seven runs this season with six off-the-board finishes sandwiching his G1 win back in June. He’s still dangerous, but just appears to have lost the consistency that has been a staple of his previous seasons. If he is “right” and fires one of his big efforts, he is capable of repeating, but it is hard to know when those types of efforts are going to pop-up. Always root for these types and hope he fires big for this.
#7 Hindenburg Tour (Nakamura Stables/J.K. Court 124): 5yo is an interesting entry as he has had an excellent season on the lawn while going shorter trips than what he’s tasked with today. As we’ve seen all year, some horses are better-suited to this racing engine than previous iterations and he looks like one who “fits” the programming. He has the early foot to be a part of the pace and should be in good position if he handles the trip. Not arguing with anyone whose money lands here.
#8 Raj Action Packed (Arindel/T.J. Pereira 124): War horse was loving the new racing engine before a late fall swoon, but the trainer believes he is back and gives him an opportunity to strut his stuff for the 58th time in his career. All of us at HRP should be so lucky as to own an animal like this. If the hiccup has indeed been remedied, he should be super tough, but the last two non-efforts will be hard to forgive for some. This author is not one of those people; think we see the best of the old man at least one more time and he is the selection.
Final Analysis: 8-2-7 feels about right, but only a couple would be a complete shock. Good luck to all of the connections involved in the $250.000 G2 HOL Turf Cup!