Hard Aces pre­vails in Gold Cup

Los Angeles Times - - INSIDE BASEBALL - In­clude Betty swept by the field to win the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes for 3-year-old fil­lies at Bel­mont Park. wire re­ports

Hard Aces charged up the rail to win the $500,000 Gold Cup by a nose over Hop­per­tu­nity on Satur­day at Santa Anita un­der jockey Vic­tor Espinoza.

Hard Aces ran 11⁄4 miles in 2:02.46 and paid $17.80, $8 and $4.20 at 7-1 odds in earn­ing his first graded stakes vic­tory.

Ear­lier in the day, Espinoza ap­peared in the win­ner’s cir­cle with Triple Crown cham­pion Amer­i­can Pharoah and then de­nied Bob Baf­fert, who trains Hop­per­tu­nity and Amer­i­can Pharoah, the day’s big­gest prize at the Arcadia race­track. Hop­per­tu­nity re­turned $5.60 and $3.40 as the 5-2 sec­ond choice. Ar­gentina-bred Catch a Flight was another 11⁄4 lengths back in third and paid $2.40 to show. Trainer John Sadler said Hard Aces would be pointed to­ward the $1-mil­lion Pa­cific Clas­sic on Aug. 22 at Del Mar, a race that is try­ing to at­tract Amer­i­can Pharoah.

In the $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes, 5-year-old geld­ing Masochis­tic got his first Grade I vic­tory, win­ning by 31⁄2 lengths as the even-money fa­vorite. Rid­den by Tyler Baze, Masochis­tic ran seven fur­longs in 1:20.25 and paid $4.20, $3.20 and $2.80. In the $200,000 Royal Hero­ine Stakes, Fan­ti­cola won by a neck to claim her first graded stakes vic­tory.

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