FINNEGAN’S WAKE A GOLD CUP WILD CARD
So when we look at the race formerly known as the Hollywood Gold Cup there is a bit of a pony perplexor. The noggin scratcher in the now called Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 27 is Finnegan’s Wake.
This great grandson of Northern Dancer has four wins and a second place finish in his last six starts, all in graded stakes races. So why should we wonder about this veteran runner that has found the light switch? If he wants to run in the second leg of the California Handicap triple crown why shouldn’t he?
In 30 career starts, the six-year old Finnegan’s Wake has raced on dirt only 4 times and none of those starts came at Santa Anita. Since moving to the barn of Peter Miller, this son of Powerscourt has been arguably one of the top grass runners in the nation. His powerful closing kick in the grade 1 Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day this year was nothing short of fantastic.
So, with all that success on grass, why in the nanny goat would you jump off into the mix of the Gold Cup against the likes of accomplished dirt runners like Hoppertunity, Moreno, and Catch a Flight?
Well, it seems like Miller and my old grandpappy share a similar philosophy. You can’t win if you ain’t in. The California conditioner sees this as an opportunity for his horse to prove his worth. The probable early pace and mile and a quarter distance could set things up quite nicely for the Wake. In the end, he should be there along with the Richard Mandella trained Catch a Flight. But if things play out the way Miller intends, in the end he will be looking slicker than his own hair-do.