Criminal Type Bags the Gold Cup : Horse racing: The 5-year-old son of Alydar beats Sunday Silence by a head for his third consecutive victory.
Criminal Type has gone from being a horse who doesn’t want the lead to a horse who won’t give it up. On Sunday, continuing his role as a transcontinental giant- killer, Criminal Type held off Sunday Silence at the wire in one of the most stirring Hollywood Gold Cups ever run.
The margin in the $1-million race was a head, and Wayne Lukas, who trains Criminal Type, liked the outcome so much that he shot his right fist to the sky as he walked across the track to greet his horse and his jockey, Jose Santos, after they had pulled up.
Races with purses of $1-million or more ought to be routine for Lukas, who now has won 15 of them, but Criminal Type’s victory Sunday was special because it came over last year’s horse of the year and vaulted Criminal Type into the early No. 1 position for this year’s national honors.
“This is the year of Dick Tracy, so why not Criminal Type?” Lukas said. “This victory took every bit we had, and maybe that includes the three or four pounds, too.”
Sunday Silence, who won the Californian at Hollywood Park on June 3, in his first race in seven months after arthroscopic knee surgery, carried high weight of 126 pounds under the handicap conditions, five pounds more than Criminal Type.
The stretch-long duel between the two horses was reminiscent of Sunday Silence’s victory by a nose over Easy Goer in last year’s Preakness. This time, though, Sunday Silence and jockey Pat Valenzuela were on the receiving end of the performance that got them to the wire on time in Baltimore.
“Maybe it was the five pounds that got us beat,” Valenzeula said Sunday. “That’s a big difference between two horses when the race is a mile and a quarter. My horse ran super, and the wire just came up too soon. My horse finished well, but Criminal Type had a lot left.”
Sunday Silence, who has lost five times in 14 starts, three of the defeats coming at Hollywood Park, finished 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Opening Verse, and it was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Santangelo, who at 49-1 was the biggest price in the seven-horse field.
Ruhlmann, Sunday Silence’s entrymate, ran fifth, and Mi Selecto and Stylish Winner completed the order of finish.
Ruhlmann, who beat Criminal Type two out of three times at Santa Anita this winter, including a 1 3/4-length victory over Lukas’ 5-year-old in the Santa Anita Handicap, lost by a neck to Criminal Type in another $1-million race, the Pimlico Special, six weeks ago.
Santos, a 29-year-old Chilean-born jockey, has ridden Lukas horses for several years, but still sometimes misinterprets the trainer’s pre-race instructions.
“I didn’t want to take any chances on him misunderstanding, so I just told him to run the Pimlico race all over,” Lukas said.
At Pimlico, the headstrong Ruhlmann went to the lead as he usually does, with Criminal Type and Santos shadowing him, and that’s the way the Gold Cup was run.
Ruhlmann gave up the lead sooner on Sunday, though. After an opening quarter in :23 1/5, a half-mile in :46 4/5 and three-quarters in 1:10 1/5, Ruhlmann found Criminal Type and Sunday Silence both outside him and in full gear at the quarter pole.
Criminal Type had the lead heading into the stretch, and Sunday Silence was on the outside, right next to him. The two horses battled to the wire, with Santos whipping furiously at Criminal Type’s flanks.
“At the half-mile pole, I thought we were going to win,” Santos said. “My horse has got a big heart.”
Asked if Sunday Silence might have passed Criminal Type in a couple more jumps, Santos said: “If we had gone around (the track) another time, the result would have been the same. My horse would have never given up.”
As usual, Criminal Type sneaked up on the bettors, paying $6.80 to win as the second choice behind the Sunday Silence-Ruhlmann entry. The son of Alydar and Klepto, a No Robbery mare, has won nine of 22 races and he’s been favored in only one of the victories.
Only 30,010 attended Sunday, the second smallest crowd in the history of the Gold Cup, which was first run in 1938.
“What makes this win more noteworthy is the fact that we did it after Criminal Type’s been on the road,” Lukas said.
After winning the Pimlico Special, Criminal Type shipped from Baltimore to Belmont Park, where he beat Housebuster and Easy Goer, Sunday Silence’s mainstay adversary from last year, in the Metropolitan Handicap on May 28.
“There was a difference in the weights, but the result still might have been the same, knowing my horse,” Lukas said Sunday. “He gets there (to the lead), and then he stays there and fights.”
It used to be that Criminal Type wouldn’t pass horses. He’s had eight second- and third-place finishes, and three times he’s been beaten by a nose or a head.
Chris McCarron rode Criminal Type during his sluggish days. McCarron, who normally would have ridden Sunday Silence, is sidelined until the end of the year with broken legs and a broken arm and was a spectator Sunday.
“Criminal Type was a sour horse and didn’t do things right,” McCarron said. “Wayne got him convinced that racing was fun.”
Criminal Type, timed in 1:59 4/5, earned $550,000, lifting his total over the $2-million mark.
“It took two years for me to show him how to get his nose in front,” Lukas said. “He wasn’t too social. He didn’t like to run around other horses.”
J.T. Lundy, president of Calumet Farm, followed Lukas across the track to greet his horse and jockey. “He’s a real game horse and he ran good,” Lundy said. “I got a little nervous when we were on the inside (of Sunday Silence).”
The race of the summer, the $1-million Arlington Challenge Cup, is supposed to be between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer Aug. 4 at Arlington International. But now they’ve both been beaten by Criminal Type.
“We’re not supposed to be crashing that party, but maybe we’ll crash it if they’ll let us,” Lukas said. “Maybe they’ll find room for us on the also-eligible list. I’ll buy J.T. a tie and we’ll go.”
The Arlington race would be the third straight $1-million stake for Criminal Type. The horse is getting as accustomed as Lukas is to those kind of affairs.
Horse Racing Notes
Jose Santos, four-time national leader in purses, said after the Gold Cup that there’s a good chance he will leave New York after the Breeders’ Cup in late October and move to California. . . . The Gold Cup was the eighth win for Santos in a race worth $1-million or more. . . . Chris McCarron and Laffit Pincay have won 10 apiece, and Santos caught up with Pat Day, who was third on that list. . . . Among trainers, Charlie Whittingham has eight $1-million wins, seven less than Wayne Lukas.
Whittingham, who has won eight Gold Cups, has now finished second in the race 10 times. . . . Sunday Silence earned $200,000, leaving him about $31,000 short of the $5-million mark. . . . Sunday Silence was upset by Prized at Hollywood Park in last year’s Swaps and he lost an allowance race, to the Lukas-trained Houston, as a 2-year-old in 1988. . . . The Gold Cup was Sunday Silence’s first defeat since the Swaps and ended a three-race winning streak.
Criminal Type, whose first two racing years were spent in France, has won six of his last 10 starts after his career started with nine losses in 12 races. . . . Calumet Farm’s other Gold Cup winners were Citation in 1951 and Two Lea in 1952.
Bold Forbes, who won the 1976 Kentucky Derby, apparently is sterile and will be retired as a stallion, says Aaron Jones, one of the major shareholders in the horse. Bold Forbes, who has been standing at Stone Farm in Paris, Ky., had a poor record of getting mares in foal last year and this past breeding season he was able to get only two mares pregnant. He is likely to be sent to the Kentucky Horse Park, a Lexington, Ky., tourist attraction where several horses, including John Henry and Forego, are spending their retirements.
Morry’s Lad, a 4-year-old gelding who won the second race in 1:57 3/5, tying the Hollywood Park record for 1 3/16 miles, was making his first start for Claude Feillatre, who bought him from the Sully Stable for $1. The victory Sunday was Morry’s Lad’s second in 13 starts.