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America’s Best Racing

A year after jockey Chantal Sutherland came up just short under Game On Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), the dynamic duo on Saturday teamed to take down the 73rd edition of the signature race at the 2012 Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

Sutherland guided the Awesome Again gelding to an ideal trip in the 2012 Hollywood Gold Cup and became the first female rider ever to win the prestigious race, which lists legends such as Seabiscuit, Swaps, Round Table, Gallant Man, Affirmed and Native Diver among its conquerors.

Sutherland, who in March 2011 became the first female jockey to win the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), also aboard Game On Dude, led home a one-two finish for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who understood the significance of Sutherland’s achievement.

“I’m happy for Chantal because I sort of got goose bumps when [track announcer Vic Stauffer] said she was trying to become the first woman to win this,” Baffert said. “I hoped it wasn’t the kiss of death.”

For a brief moment it looked like stablemate Richard’s Kid might spoil Sutherland’s historic bid, but Game On Dude, as his name might suggest, is quite a gamer and fought determinedly for his third career Grade 1 triumph.

“I could actually hear Rafael [Bejarano, who rode Richard’s Kid], yell, ‘I’m coming Chantal,’ at the quarter pole,” Sutherland said. “We’re friends and it was just like ‘I’m coming to get you,’ like a game of tag.

“It’s exciting,” Sutherland said of becoming the first female jockey to win the Hollywood Gold Cup. “I feel really honored. It’s pretty cool. I hope I’m one of many more to come.”

A LOOK AT THE 2012 HOLLYWOOD GOLD CUP IN PICTURES

(Images Courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

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Chantal Sutherland and Game On Dude get a good stalking position early in the race.

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Game On Dude digs in to hold off fast-closing stablemate Richard's Kid.

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Sutherland and Game On Dude cross the finish line first, making her the first female jockey to win the prestigious race.

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Sutherland's smile says it all after the victory.

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Chantal waves to her fans at Hollywood after returning to the winner's circle.

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This photo captures the emotions after Sutherland's historic win aboard Game On Dude.

WATCH A REPLAY OF THE 2012 HOLLYWOOD GOLD CUP

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