The $1 million Wild West Bonus will go unclaimed with the announcement that Santa Anita Handicap winner Idol will miss the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup with an undisclosed issue.
Trainer Richard Baltus told Santa Anita Park’s Ed Golden that the issue doesn’t appear to be career-ending and that the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar is Idol’s ultimate racing destination.
“I wanted to train him up to the Gold Cup, but that’s off,” Baltus said. “I wasn’t in a hurry with him because our ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
The Wild West Bonus is a $1 million payout going to any horse sweeping the West Coast’s three marquee events for older horses: the Santa Anita Handicap, the May 31 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita, and the Pacific Classic. That latter event, set for Aug. 28, is Del Mar’s summer meet headline race.
Idol in line for a nearly $2 million payday
All three events run at the American Classic distance of 1 ¼ miles. Any horse sweeping the three was looking at a $1,870,000 payday.
The 4-year-old son of Curlin began his career last September, finishing second in a maiden special weight race on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Three weeks later, he broke his maiden by 2 ½ lengths in another Churchill Downs maiden special weight.
Idol showing his up-and-coming form
From there, Idol made his bones up the class pyramid. He won a November allowance at Churchill Downs, then finished second to 15/1 upset-puller Kiss Today Goodbye in his stakes debut – the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on Santa Anita’s Boxing Day opener.
Idol’s Big ‘Cap victory evened the score with Express Train, who won the Grade 3 San Pasqual in late January. Idol finished third, the only time he missed the exacta in six races.
Still, Idol is an older horse to watch. Despite not starting his career until he was 3 ½, Idol’s already banked $416,604 in those six races. He’s cracked triple-figure Equibase Speed Figures in five of his six races. The one race he failed to hit 100? His debut, when Idol clocked a 99.