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HORSE RACING

Hollywood Gold Cup not just a boys' club

Second choice Life Is Sweet will test her mettle in a large field at Hollywood Park, and story lines abound.

July 09, 2009|Bill Dwyre

If this is, indeed, the year of the female in horse racing, as Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have been showing, then Life Is Sweet could further that premise Saturday in the 70th Hollywood Gold Cup.

The last time a female won this prestigious race was 1968, when Princessnesian crossed first. Two others preceded her: Happy Issue in 1944 and Two Lea in 1952. No filly or mare has even tried since 1981, when Kilijaro ran seventh.

Life Is Sweet, a 4-year-old owned by Pam and Marty Wygod and trained by John Shirreffs, drew the 10th hole Wednesday and will take on the largest field for a Gold Cup since 1972, when Quack beat 13 others.

This $700,000 race, which has been won by the likes of Seabiscuit, Affirmed, Native Diver and Lava Man -- the latter pair three times each -- will be run at a mile and a quarter and will be the eighth race on an 11-race program at venerable Hollywood Park.

Though the race may lack star power, it certainly does not lack betting angles or story lines.

Life Is Sweet was made the 9-2 second choice, behind Eastern horse Parading, who will carry top weight of 119 pounds. Parading, a 6-year-old, got the morning-line nod at 4-1 and will attempt to make the Gold Cup his third straight win, after victories at Keeneland and Pimlico.

Last year's winner is back. Bobby Frankel's Mast Track, struggling in his last four races, will start in the third post. He won last year at 10-1 and may give even more betting value this time, with his morning-line listing at 20-1.

A pair of 8-year-olds is entered, and Big Booster and Magnum could be factors, each at 12-1.

Trainer Doug O'Neill's Informed will start from the No. 12 hole and attract a betting following at 6-1, if those odds hold. O'Neill has entered horses in the race four times and won all four, three with Lava Man in 2005-07 and with Sky Jack in '02.

The third pick on the morning line is 4-year-old Rail Trip, a Ron Ellis-trained horse with five straight wins to start his career and only seven starts.

Perhaps the most interesting entry is 30-1 shot Autism Awareness, the Northern California 4-year-old who won acclaim for a victory in the 2008 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows at 62-1. Much of the horse's $281,745 in winnings has gone to doing what his name proclaims -- promote autism awareness. Owner Johnny Taboada's son, Renzo, is autistic.

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bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Hollywood Gold Cup

Eighth race Saturday. Purse $700,000 of which $420,000 is to be paid to the winner, $140,000 to second, $84,000 to third, $42,000 to fourth and $14,000 to fifth. 1 1/4 miles on all-weather track.

*--* PP Horse A/S Jockey Wgt Trainer 1 AutismAwareness (CA) 4/C D Lopez 114 G Vallejo 2 Big Booster (KY) 8/G J Rosario 115 M Mitchell 3 Mast Track (KY) 5/H D Flores 114 R Frankel 4 Bullsbay (KY) 5/H J Rose 118 H Motion 5 Parading (KY) 6/H Desormeaux 119 C McGaughey 6 Dakota Phone (KY) 4/G R Bejarano 116 Hollendorfer 7 Song Of Navarone (KY) 5/H V Espinoza 117 H Dominguez 8 Rail Trip (KY) 4/G J Valdivia Jr. 116 R Ellis 9 Tres Borrachos (KY) 4/G J Talamo 114 C Greely 10 Life Is Sweet (KY) 4/F G Gomez 113 J Shirreffs 11 Global Hunter (ARG) 6/H C Nakatani 115 A Avila 12 Informed (KY) 5/H T Baze 117 D O'Neill 13 Magnum (ARG) 8/G M Pedroza 115 D Vienna *--*

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