Improbable Wins G1 Hollywood Gold Cup In A Romp

June 7, 2020

Improbable was anything but on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he strolled to a dominating 3 ¼ length victory in the Grade I, $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup under Drayden Van Dyke.  Trained by Bob Baffert, Improbable, a 4-year-old colt by City Zip, got a mile and one quarter in 2:01.69.

Away smoothly from his number five post position in a field of six 3-year-olds and up, Improbable was second while under restraint, one length off of pacesetter Brown Storm heading into the first turn.  From there, Improbable relaxed while continuing to track in second, got on terms with Brown Storm heading to the three furlong pole, took command mid-way around the far turn and the race was for all intents and purposes, over leaving track announcer Frank Mirahmadi to exclaim a furlong out, “…But it is a complete runaway, as Improbable and Drayden Van Dyke stroll in the Hollywood Gold Cup!”

“I got the consolation prize,” quipped Baffert, who although he notched his fourth Gold Cup win, tasted defeat three races prior, as Authentic finished second at odds-on in the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.  “I honestly thought I could win three races today.  This horse has been training so well…Drayden had him in the perfect spot and he had plenty left for the run home.

“I’m happy for the team.  Everyone thought this horse was a turf horse and I thought he needed the dirt.  This horse is only going to get better.”

A winner of the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity in his second start in December, 2018, Improbable was most recently a close second at 3-1 in an ungraded one mile stakes run over a wet fast track at Oaklawn Park on April 11.

Favored at 6-5, Improbable paid $4.60, $3.00 and $2.40.

“It’s Awesome, walking back, it’s just kind of getting it into my head, I just won the Hollywood Gold Cup, there’s so much history in that race,” said Van Dyke in regard to the Gold Cup’s 81st renewal today.  “To be a part of it, I’m blessed.

“It was how he has been working in the mornings.  I worked him several times going seven furlongs and these gallop outs that he would give me, it was just unbelievable…He was sitting on a big one and he ran a big one.

“He’s matured, he still has his antics in the gate a little bit.  They put some pads in the gate today, I think it helped him also he was comfortable running at his home base.  When he travels, he seems to have more troubles at the gate.  Today, he did everything perfect.”

Owned by WinStar Farm, LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd and SF Racing, LLC, Improbable notched his second graded stakes win and with the winner’s cut of $180,000, he became racing’s newest millionaire, as his earnings reached $1,129,520.

Although attentive to the pace while third heading to the far turn, Higher Power had no chance to catch the winner when he spurted clear around the far turn.  Ridden by Flavien Prat, Higher Power was off at 3-1 and paid $4.00 and $3.00 while finishing 4 ½ lengths clear of Kentucky shipper Tenfold.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Mike Smith, Tenfold was off at 9-1 and paid $4.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.24, 47.57, 1:11.84 and 1:36.26.

Santa Anita Press Release/ Benoit Photo

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