June 12, 2024

Mr Fisk overpowers Reincarnate in Hollywood Gold Cup

Mr Fisk was too strong for pacesetting stablemate Reincarnate in the Hollywood Gold Cup
Mr Fisk was too strong for pacesetting stablemate Reincarnate in the Hollywood Gold Cup (Photo by Benoit Photos)

Barely a week after Arrogate’s son Seize the Grey captured the Preakness (G1), the late Hall of Famer continued to enhance his legacy as a sire when Mr Fisk scored a new career high in Monday’s $201,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G2) at Santa Anita. Trained like Arrogate by Bob Baffert, Mr Fisk blew past stablemate Reincarnate en route to a decisive 2 1/4-length victory.

Unfortunately, the jubilation quickly turned to concern on the gallop-out. Jockey Kazushi Kimura sensed something was amiss, pulled Mr Fisk up, and dismounted. The four-year-old colt was vanned back to Baffert’s barn for further examination.

“Kazushi Kimura said it was nothing major,” Baffert told Santa Anita publicity, “but he says he just felt a little off, nothing obvious. We are just being cautious. He was a little bit off so hopefully it’s a foot or something.

“It’s too bad we can’t celebrate in the Winner’s Circle, but the horse looks like he is going to be fine. That’s the good news.”

A homebred for Sunny Brook Stables, Mr Fisk rated as the slight 5-2 favorite over the 3-1 Reincarnate. The 1 1/4-mile distance of the Gold Cup was expected to bring out the best in Mr Fisk, who was coming off a strong tally in the 1 1/8-mile Californian (G3). He’d also defeated elders at that trip in last fall’s Native Diver (G3). With the stamina not only of Arrogate, but also his dam, the Manduro mare Plein Air, Mr Fisk did indeed appreciate the added ground on Monday.

Although Subsanador broke fast to lead, a keyed-up Reincarnate didn’t want to concede and instead moved up to put his head in front through the opening quarter in :23.58. Subsanador deferred in a tracking second as Reincarnate doled out fractions of :47.25 and 1:12.19.

By that point, Mr Fisk had crept into a close fourth, only a length back, and just in need of a seam. When a tiring Subsanador could not maintain his position, a gap opened, and Mr Fisk rumbled into the clear. Reincarnate persevered, but lacked the potent punch of his stablemate.

Mr Fisk was much the best in a final time of 2:03.10. Aside from topping an exacta for the barn, Mr Fisk was furthering Baffert’s grip on the record book, as his 10th Hollywood Gold Cup hero. He joins Real Quiet (1999), Congaree (2003), First Dude (2011), Game on Dude (2012-13), Cupid (2017), Improbable (2020), Country Grammer (2021), and Defunded (2023).

“My horses ran great, both of them, one and two like that,” Baffert said.

“I knew they weren’t going very fast, and he was in a good spot. Reincarnate – when he gets a lead, he’s tough. He showed up. I’m proud of them both.”

Judge Miller, third at every call, reported home another 2 1/4 lengths back. Next came Subsanador, Mixto, and the eased pair of Arrowthegreat and Oviatt Class. Ashcroft was scratched.

Mr Fisk’s resume reads 11-5-2-0, $369,700, including a dead-heat win in last summer’s Shared Belief S. and a runner-up effort in the Affirmed S.

Baffert also trained his dam, Plein Air, during the stateside portion of her career. The Italian stakes vixen added the 1 1/2-mile Astra S. to her ledger in 2018. After a fourth in her title defense, she retired from racing, visited Arrogate, and produced Mr Fisk.