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Jul 15, 2011

First Dude is first in Hollywood Gold Cup


Inglewood, CA (Sports Network) - The late running First Dude got the best of stablemate Game On Dude to win Saturday's $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park. The Gold Cup victory gives the four-year-old colt an automatic spot in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic November 5 at Churchill Downs.

Owned by Donald Dizney, First Dude was ridden by Martin Garcia in the 1 1/4- mile stakes. The colt settled off the pace that was being set by fellow Bob Baffert-trainee Game On Dude.

First Dude went off as the 4-1 second choice and Game On Dude was the 9-2 third pick.

With Chantal Sutherland in the saddle, Santa Anita Handicap winner Game On Dude set the pace up the backstretch with even-money favorite Twirling Candy racing second and Setsuko and Miss Match close behind. Defending Gold Cup winner Awesome Gem was running fifth in the eight horse field.

On the far turn Twirling Candy and jockey Joel Rosario drew even with the leader as Setsuko, with Victor Espinoza riding, also closed the gap. The top three runners were across the track on the final turn and entering the stretch.

Twirling Candy took a short lead coming off the turn, but Game On Dude responded and retook the lead at the top of the stretch. Beginning to rally was First Dude from off the pace.

With a furlong to go, Game On Dude had a neck lead over Twirling Candy as First Dude drew closer from the outside. First Dude, second in last year's Preakness, got his nose on the wire first and was able to edge out Game On Dude.

"When they hit the wire, I knew I'd won it," Baffert said. "I just didn't know which one. I was hoping for a dead heat. That would have been really cool. They both could have gotten a "Win and You're In" and really bust out the Breeders' Cup. I didn't know what I was going to do with him, but now I can take him to Del Mar and run him in the Pacific Classic."

Twirling Candy had to settle for third followed by Setsuko, Awesome Gem, Dark Cove, Miss Match and Soul Candy.

The time for the 72nd Hollywood Gold Cup was 2:01.57 on the track's synthetic main surface.

First Dude has now won his last three starts and picks up $300,000 for Saturday's win. The colt has won four times in 17 lifetime starts for $1,442,140.

The four-year-old won an allowance race at Santa Anita Park in April and captured the Alysheba the next month at Churchill Downs.

Garcia, who won last year's Preakness with Lookin At Luck for Baffert, notched his first Gold Cup win and the Hall of Fame trainer has his third victory. Baffert previously won with Real Quiet (1999) and Congaree (2003).

First Dude returned $10.20, $4.80 and $3.20. Game On Dude paid $5.60 and $3.60, and Twirling Candy paid $2.40 to show.

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