Longshot Power Wing had the spotlight all to himself Wednesday, working four furlongs in :48 4/5 under regular rider Julio Garcia at Hollywood Park for Sunday's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr . I). Major players for the Gold Cup -- Captain Steve, Skimming, Futural, and Aptitude -- all worked on Tuesday.
"He went very easy," Garcia said. "He felt good. I never asked him."
Power Wing, a 7-year-old gelding coming off a second-place finish in a seven-furlong allowance race June 13, looms the rank outsider in the field of five for the $750,000 race at 1 1/4-miles. All starters will carry 124 pounds.
Asked if he expected Power Wing to take the early lead, trainer Ahmad (Mikey) Salih said, "Julio will have to make that decision. Skimming and Captain Steve have both shown speed. Julio is our captain. He will have to make that decision."
Salih made Power Wing eligible by paying a $12,500 late nomination fee for owner Salah Al Mudarris, his brother. Salih claimed the horse for $16,000 at Santa Anita in March of 2000, and gave him more than a year off because of foot problems. He has raced creditibly at the meet with one win, a second, and two fourths from four starts.
Salih, a 38-year-old native of Iraq, took out his license three years ago. He has never started a horse in a graded stakes, much less a grade I. "I've won several allowance races and finished second in the Cal Cup Sprint Starter's Handicap at Oak Tree with Confirmed Flight. I claimed him for $16,000, too, and he has earned $140,000.
"I'll see how he looks tomorrow, and if he is all right, I will enter."
Last year, the longest shot on the board, Early Pioneer, came home the winner.
Post time for the Gold Cup is 2:40 PDT (5:40 EDT) and will go as the sixth race on the card. The probable lineup: Captain Steve (Gary Stevens), Skimming (Garrett Gomez), Futural (Chris McCarron), Aptitude (Laffit Pincay Jr.), and Power Wing (Julio Garcia).