Majestic Harbor pulled away to a dominant victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes on June 28. (Benoit Photo)
With one sweeping rally on the far turn at Santa Anita Park on Saturday night, Majestic Harbor secured a career-defining victory in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes and punched his ticket to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Game On Dude was bidding for his third straight win in the 1 ¼-mile race - formerly known as the Hollywood Gold Cup - but by the top of the stretch it was clear he did not have his “A” game.
Majestic Harbor, on the other hand, accelerated powerfully under Tyler Baze on the far turn and spurted to a clear lead in the stretch.
The 6-year-old by Rockport Harbor streaked away from six opponents en route to a 6 ¼-length victory. The win at 14.40-to-1 odds in the Gold Cup earned Majestic Harbor an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic via the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series.
Prior to 2014, Majestic Harbor had never finished in the top three in a stakes race, but he has flourished this year. Majestic Harbor won the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup Stakes in March at Santa Anita and also placed in Grade 2 stakes at Santa Anita in January and May.
The Gold Cup was by far Majestic Harbor’s most lucrative career victory with the $300,000 winner’s share of the purse boosting his career bankroll to $655,764.
Majestic Harbor is the first career graded stakes winner for trainer Sean McCarthy, who took out his trainer's license in 1991. The Gold Cup was McCarthy's fourth lifetime stakes win. McCarthy purchased Majestic Harbor for $20,000 on behalf of owner Gallant Stable at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Majestic Harbor completed the 1 ¼-mile race in 2:01.53 for his sixth career win. He has finished in the top three 16 times in 23 career starts.
Clubhouse Ride slipped through an opening on the inside of Game On Dude and pacesetter Fury Kapcori on the turn and looked poised to make a serious bid for the victory, but he could not match strides with the winner. Clubhouse Ride finished second, 1 ¾ lengths clear of Imperative.
Game On Dude faded to fourth as the 4-to-5 favorite after stalking a very fast early pace set by Fury Kapcori, who charged past Game On Dude shortly after the break and zipped through the first half-mile in :45.39. Fury Kapcori finished sixth as the 3.80-to-1 second betting choice.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
MAJESTIC HARBOR WINNING GOLD CUP