$500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup : Whittingham Tries to Roll a ‘7' With Greinton
Trainer Charlie Whittingham, who has won the Hollywood Gold Cup a record six times, figures that all he needs for a seventh win today is a performance similar to the one Greinton gave him in the Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park two weeks ago.
In the Californian, Greinton and jockey Laffit Pincay sat behind the leaders, Lord at War and Precisionist, until the head of the stretch, then blasted by them for a 2 3/4-length victory in 1:32 3/5, which tied Buckpasser for the second-fastest mile ever run.
“Greinton would beat almost anybody with the race he ran in the Californian,” Whittingham said. “And the mile-and-a-quarter distance in the Gold Cup shouldn’t hurt him.”
Greinton, a 4-year-old English-bred who was purchased by Whittingham and his partners, Mary Jones Bradley of Santa Monica and Howell Wynne of Dallas, for about $500,000 last year, will have Lord at War and Precisionist to contend with again in the 46th running of the Gold Cup, a $500,000, 1-mile race that has also drawn Forzando II, Carocrest, Kings Island and Semillero in a seven-horse field.
A win by Lord at War would also enable Whittingham to add to his Gold Cup record, since he trains that horse, too.
A win by Greinton, however, would make him eligible for the $1-million bonus that Hollywood offers to any horse that sweeps the Californian, the Gold Cup and the Sunset Stakes. The Sunset will be run July 22, the last day of the meeting.
Greinton is the most consistent horse in today’s field. Since making his U.S. debut last November at Hollywood, he has started nine times, recording five wins and four seconds. Three of the seconds were behind Precisionist. The other was behind Lord at War (by 1 3/4 lengths) in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap.
Pincay has had the most success riding Greinton. He won three in a row last year and was aboard for victories this year in the San Bernardino Handicap at Santa Anita, as well as the Californian. Pincay also rode Greinton to second place behind Precisionist in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood Park.
The 72-year-old Whittingham, usually stingy with praise for jockeys, believes that Greinton will run regardless of the rider. “In all his races, no matter who’s been on him, this horse has been right there,” Whittingham said.
The last time Whittingham won the Gold Cup, in 1982, he teamed with Pincay, who rode Perrault to victory. That was Pincay’s fifth win in the race, a total surpassed only by Bill Shoemaker, who will ride Lord at War today. Shoemaker’s last Gold Cup win, in 1978 with Exceller, another horse trained by Whittingham, was the seventh of his career.
Lord at War, an Argentine-bred, was the hot horse earlier in the year, winning the Santa Anita Handicap for his fifth straight stakes victory. But in his last two starts, the 5-year-old chestnut was fourth in the Century Handicap and third in the four-horse Californian, 6 lengths behind the victorious Greinton.
“There’s nothing wrong with him,” Whittingham said of Lord at War. “He’s just been getting beat by better horses.”