The breakout season for five-year old Melatonin continued over the weekend as he became the Gold Cup winner at Santa Anita in a starring performance. It was yet another rousing run by the gelding who has literally become one of the stars of 2016 after doing not-so-much for the early part of his career. He now hast two major victories in 2016 and a second place finish at the Oaklawn Handicap.
The victory for the Gold Cup winner has cemented his spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a $6 million race which is likely to include major contenders like Beholder, California Chrome, Exaggerator and Nyquist.
The David Hofmans trainee went off as a 9/5 favorite, and sat patiently in second during a slow opening mile that favored his strengths. Lieutenant Colonel set the pace as the front runner, but the 13/1 longshot couldn’t hold the lead as he was passed by Melatonin around the second turn. Win The Space tried desperately to challenge Melatonin down the stretch but was no match for the Gold Cup winner and his closing speed. Hard Aces finished third.
Hoppertunity was largely considered to be the biggest threat in the race, but trailed in last for much of the race before a commendable late effort brought him up to fourth place at 3/1. Bal A Bali, the former Brazilian Triple Crown winner from 2014, was also a strong consideration but finished last.
“I was very proud of him. That was his best race. He ran two seconds faster than his last race at a mile and a quarter . I was very pleased with his effort yesterday.” Hofmans continued to indicate that there is no set pathway fI don’t have a race in mind for him right now. I’ve got to give him time, because he’s not that big (of) a horse. Maybe the Awesome Again here. I don’t know. We’ll see.”