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Jul 02, 2015

Hard Aces enters poll off Gold Cup victory


New York, NY ( - This week's NTRA National Thoroughbred Poll has just one new member in the top 10 while American Pharoah remains the unanimous top selection.

Joining the top 10 for the first time is Hard Aces, trained by John Sadler, off his victory in Saturday's Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The 5-year-old is 10th in the voting with 42 points.

Owned by Hronis Racing, Hard Aces nosed out Hoppertunity in the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup.

"He's improving. Every race, he's getting better and better. When he was back east he wasn't quite there but in his last race he ran good and today he ran great," said Hard Aces jockey Victory Espinoza.

The Gold Cup win puts Hard Aces into this year's Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 31. Sadler has Del Mar's Pacific Classic on Aug. 22 penciled in as the horse's next start.

"He'll stay home and run right in our own back yard at Del Mar," Sadler said.

The first nine places in the poll are unchanged from last week.

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah again received all 41 first-place votes for 410 points followed by Shared Belief (313), Honor Code (302), California Chrome (259), Main Sequence (167), Tonalist (153), Noble Bird (106), Beholder (89) and Lea (78).

The National Poll continues through the Breeders' Cup.

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