(from Hollywood Park)
Owner-breeder Marty Wygod is spending the week in Canada on a fishing trip before returning in hopes of hooking the big one -- the $700,000 TVG/Betfair Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) on July 11.
His homebred 4-year-old filly Life Is Sweet could become the first female in 41 years to win the coveted Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on Cushion Track.
Wygod decided a couple of weeks ago that he'd rather roll the dice against males in the Gold Cup than than face unbeaten female champion Zenyatta again in the Vanity Handicap (gr. I). A grade I winner, Life Is Sweet was a soundly beaten second to the champion in the Milady Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood May 23. That was Life Is Sweet's only prior start at Hollywood.
Life Is Sweet and Zenyatta are both trained by John Shirreffs. Shirreffs said he could never recall starting a female against males before but hoped for the best in a wide-open race.
“With 13 horses, she’s going to need a little luck to work her way through the field,” said Shirreffs of the stretch-running filly who drew post 10 under Garrett Gomez. Life Is Sweet is the 9-2 second choice behind New York invader Parading at 4-1.
Life Is Sweet won the El Encino (gr. II), the La Canada (gr. II) and the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) in succession over Santa Anitas's Pro-Ride racing surface prior to the Milady. The bay daughter of Storm Cat--Sweet Life (by Kris S.) has five wins and three seconds in 11 lifetime starts with earnings of $570,810.
Princessnesian was the last female to win the Gold Cup in 1968 as a 4-year-old. Ridden by Don Pierce for trainer J.W. Maloney and owner William Haggin Perry, she won by a neck over Racing Room. Princessnesian was part of an entry favored at 9-to-10 with another female star, Gamely, who finished seventh.
Princessnesian became the third female to win the Gold Cup, following in the footsteps of Happy Issue in 1944 and Two Lea in 1952. Two Lea, like Princessnesian, was part of a favored two-female entry. Two Lea, a 6-year-old mare, was coupled with Wistful, who finished ninth for Calumet Farm and trainer H.A. Jones.
Life Is Sweet will become the 29th female to start in the 70-year history of the Gold Cup and the first since Kilijaro, who finished seventh in 1981.
Zenyatta, unbeaten in 11 starts following her Vanity victory under 129 pounds, worked five furlongs breezing in 1:03.20 Thursday for her next probable start in defense of her title in the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar on Aug. 9.