Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, the national earnings leader with more than $12 million in purses, seeks to pad those figures with an invasion of Hollywood Park for the three richest races of the meet the next two weekends.
Pletcher confirmed from his New York base Wednesday that he will ship A.P. Arrow west Thursday for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) on Saturday. On Tuesday he will fly three fillies west: champion Wait a While for the $1 million CashCall Mile (gr. IIT) on July 6, and Audacious Chloe and Panty Raid for the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) on July 7.
Pletcher hopes his third Gold Cup start is the charm after a second-place finish with Harlan's Holiday in 2003 and a fifth-place finish with Limehouse in 2005.
“There are a couple of reasons I decided on the Gold Cup for A.P. Arrow,” said Pletcher. “First, he likes the mile-and-a-quarter distance. Second, he ran decent on the Polytrack at Keeneland last fall. To win a grade I would be a huge accomplishment to add to the record of a horse with his pedigree.”
A.P. Arrow, a 5-year-old chestnut by A.P. Indy out of the Mr. Prospector mare Garimpeiro, has won four of 17 starts and earned $611,209 for his owner-breeder, the Allen Paulson Living Trust.
He finished third in his most recent start, the Birdstone Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, after a good winter at Gulfstream Park in which he won the Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) and finished third in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), two lengths behind reigning Horse of the Year Invasor.
A.P. Arrow has recorded one first, two seconds and one third in four starts at 10 furlongs and finished a closing fourth in the Fayette Handicap at Keeneland in his only outing on a synthetic surface.
Pletcher said assistant Michael McCarthy would saddle the horse for the Gold Cup, which goes as the tenth race on an 11-race card. A.P. Arrow drew post seven in a field of nine. He will be ridden by David Flores under 116 pounds.
Wait a While, a 4-year-old gray/roan, will return to the site of her 4 1/2-length victory in the American Oaks last year in the 2007 CashCall Mile. “She ran a good race at Hollywood Park last year, and we’re hoping a mile is not too short for her,” said Pletcher. Regular rider Garrett Gomez has the call.
Wait a While has won eight of 16 starts and earned $1,449,917 for Arindel Farm. She has won one of two starts at one mile, most recently finishing second in the Just A Game Handicap (gr. IIT) at that distance at Belmont Park on June 9.
Audacious Chloe has won four of five turf starts while Panty Raid will make her grass debut in the American Oaks after winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico for her third victory in five outings. David Flores has the call on Audacious Chloe, while Edgar Prado will remain aboard Panty Raid.
“Audacious Chloe has run real well on turf and I’m hoping she will handle a mile and a quarter,” said Pletcher of the Team Valor co-owned More Than Ready filly. She has strung together three straight stakes victories on the turf at Gulfstream, Keeneland and Monmouth, the longest at 1 1/16 miles.
“Panty Raid has been very good on dirt, but Prado said all along she would like turf, and she has worked very well on it here,” said Pletcher in reference to drills at Belmont Park.
Pletcher, who shipped a 17-horse division to Hollywood Park from November to April for the first time last winter, said he planned to follow suit again this fall.