Gold Cup Takes Shape; Musique Toujours Drills

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Musique Toujours, upset winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic in January, worked six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 Monday for Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I).

"Nice and smooth," said trainer John Sadler of the 5-year-old gelding's drill. "He worked a mile last week, so this was like a blowout."

Musique Toujours, a California-bred son of Musique d'Enfer, is owned by Lloyd DeBrucker and Richard Glassman. Musique Toujours won the Sunshine Millions race wire-to-wire at Gulfstream Park as a 70-to-1 outsider off a five-month layoff. He will be coming into the Gold Cup fresh off a layoff of nearly four months.

"He's coming up to this better than for the Sunshine Millions race," cautioned Sadler. "He doesn't have to be on the lead although he runs better if he's close up." The rider assignment was pending.

A field of 11, the most since 11 competed in the 1987 race won by Ferdinand, is probable for the 1 1/4-mile test. It has been returned to a handicap for the first time since 1996.

The probable lineup: (Horse/Jockey/Wt)
Lava Man, Patrick Valenzuela, 118
Congrats, Tyler Baze, 117
Limehouse, John Velazquez, 117
Perfect Drift, Gary Stevens, 117
Anziyan Royalty, Alex Solis, 115
Borrego, Garrett Gomez, 115
Musique Toujours, no rider, 114
Al Arz, David Flores, 113
Keep On Punching, Rene Douglas, 113
Pt's Grey Eagle, Corey Nakatani, 113
Deputy Lad, Jon Court, 112

Choctaw Nation (115) was withdrawn from consideration after working five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 at Hollywood under Victor Espinoza. "No chance, zero," said trainer Jeff Mullins of Choctaw Nation's prospects for entering. "He doesn't like this track."

Trainer Richard Mandella, a two-time winner of the Gold Cup, said that Santa Anita Handicap runner-up Congrats is coming up to the race well.

"He's doing as well as he was coming up to the Big 'Cap," Mandella said Monday from his base at Santa Anita. "He worked a mile in 1:38 and change a few days ago, will do a little something this week, and come over a couple of days before the race."

Perfect Drift, earner of more than $3-million, is scheduled to be flown to California Tuesday from Kentucky for trainer Murray Johnson and be stabled with Paddy Gallagher.

Limehouse, winner of the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park in his last start for trainer Todd Pletcher on June 11, is scheduled to be flown Wednesday from New York. Pletcher finished second in the race two years ago with Harlan's Holiday.