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 1 1/4 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 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.40...