Gift Box ‘Better Than Ever’ Ahead Of Monday’s Gold Cup At Santa Anita

by | 05.24.2019 | 9:42pm
Jockey Joel Rosario guides Gift Box to the winner's circle after their victory in the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap, © BENOIT PHOTO

Hronis Racing's rapidly improving Gift Box, fresh off victory in the Santa Anita Handicap, bids for his second consecutive Grade I victory as he heads Monday's Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, to be contested for the 81st time at a mile and one quarter.

Trained by John Sadler, Gift Box, who campaigned under trainer Chad Brown through his first 13 starts, will be making his third start for Sadler on Monday and if successful, he would provide Hronis Racing and Sadler with their second consecutive Gold Cup win, as last year's renewal was taken by Accelerate.

The Gold Cup, which has attracted a field of seven 3-year-olds and up, will also include Todd Pletcher's Vino Rosso, Peter Eurton's Core Beliefs and the Tom Amoss-trained Lone Sailor, all of whom exit good performances back east.


Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer: John Sadler

Purchased privately following an 8 ¾ length allowance win at Aqueduct on March 24, 2018, this 6-year-old full horse by Twirling Candy made his first start for Sadler in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26, winning by a half length at 6-1. In his career-best performance, he prevailed by an ultra game nose over top older horse McKinzie in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap on April 6, his second try at a mile and one quarter. “He's doing better than ever, this should be his best race,” Sadler told Santa Anita Publicity Friday morning—a chilling shot across the verbal bow to his competition. Eastern-based Joel Rosario, who has ridden Gift Box to both of his Santa Anita wins, will be back in town for the Memorial Day assignment. Out of the Unbridled's Song mare Special Me, Gift Box is 15-5-5-2 overall with earnings of $879,160.


Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

A winner of the Grade II Wood Memorial in April, 2018, this 4-year-old colt by Curlin was then well beaten in the Kentucky Derby, but bounced back with a solid fourth place finish behind Triple Crown Champ Justify in the 2018 Belmont Stakes. Most recently fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths in the Grade I, seven furlong Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 6, Vino Rosso will be making his third start of the year in the Gold Cup on Monday. Winless in two starts at a mile and a quarter, including a fifth place finish in last year's Grade I Travers Stakes, Vino Rosso is 11-4-0-2 with earnings of $953,125.


Owner: Gary Broad
Trainer: Peter Eurton

Idle since well beaten in the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 22, this 4-year-old colt by Quality Road came back running in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds March 23, winning by three quarters of a length under Florent Geroux at odds of 9-1. Although based at Santa Anita, Core Beliefs' last five starts have come out of state, including a nose win in the Grade III Ohio Derby four starts back on June 23, 2018. A sharp horse with tactical speed, Core Beliefs will be ridden back by Geroux in his first-ever try at a mile and one quarter.


Owner: G M B Racing, Inc.
Trainer: Tom Amoss

Third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Core Beliefs two starts back in the New Orleans Handicap, this 4-year-old Majestic Warrior colt came back to run a big second, beaten a neck, in the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap at a mile and one eighth on April 13 with Flavien Prat up. Although winless in three tries at the Gold Cup distance, Lone Sailor, who has an overall mark of 18-2-6-3, brings the biggest bankroll to the Gold Cup party, with $1,124,737 to his credit.


Race 8 of 10 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

  1. Blitzkrieg—Rafael Bejarano—121
  2. Mongolian Groom—Martin Garcia—121
  3. Higher Power—Irad Ortiz, Jr.—121
  4. Lone Sailor—Flavien Prat—121
  5. Gift Box—Joel Rosario—125
  6. Core Beliefs—Florent Geroux—121
  7. Vino Rosso—John Velazquez—121

First post time for a 10-race card that will also include the Grade I Gamely Stakes and the Grade I Shoemaker Mile, is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

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