Ten Things You Should Know: Gold Cup at Santa Anita
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Gold Cup at Santa Anita (formerly the Hollywood Gold Cup) is a Grade 1 race run over the dirt surface at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California. The race is run at a distance of 1 1/4 miles and is open to 3-year-olds and up. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October.
2) The race was run for the first time at Hollywood Park in 1938 and has been run every year except for 1942 and 1943 because of the Second World War. The final running at Hollywood Park came in 2013 when the track ran its final meeting.
3) In 1949, Santa Anita hosted the Gold Cup after fire destroyed the grandstand at Hollywood Park. Santa Anita will host its second Gold Cup in 2014 and future editions of the race as the result of Hollywood Park’s closure last year.
5) A colt named Quack set the track and world record for 1 1/4 miles in the 1972 Gold Cup when he stopped the clock in 1:58.20. In 2009, Rail Trip set the stakes record on a synthetic track, finishing in 2:00.75.
6) Seabiscuit won the inaugural Gold Cup in 1938. It was his one and only appearance over the Hollywood Park racing strip.
7) In 1951, in the final race of his career, the great Citation won the Gold Cup. The winnerâ€™s purse made him the first horse to ever surpass $1 million in career earnings.
8) In the 1970â€™s, trainer Charlie Whittingham won five editions of the race, including four in a row from 1971 to 1974. His winners were Ack Ack (1971), Quack (1972), Kennedy Road (1973), Tree of Knowledge (1974), and Exceller (1978).
9) Affirmed, the last colt to win the Triple Crown, won the 1979 edition of the Gold Cup. He also won that yearâ€™s Santa Anita Handicap.
10) A former claiming horse and California superstar named Lava Man won three straight editions of the Gold Cup starting in 2005. Native Diver also won three straight from 1965 to 1967.