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Country Grammer gives Baffert record 8th Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) win
Monday, May 31, 2021
Country Grammer and Royal Ship (BRZ) staged a terrific stretch-long duel in the $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) on Memorial Day at Santa Anita Park, with Country Grammer prevailing by a head after giving up the lead in mid-stretch.

The win was the eighth in the prestigious race for Bob Baffert, tying him with the immortal Charlie Whittingham for the most all-time in a race that dates back to 1938.

Four-year-old Country Grammer was making just his second start for Baffert after campaigning on the east coast over the previous two years. The Gold Cup was a rematch with Royal Ship, who had beaten him by just a neck in the April 17 Californian S. (G2).

Brown Storm (CHI) led the way early, with Country Grammer no more than a length behind at any time through the first six furlongs. Midway on the final turn Country Grammer and Royal Ship moved past Brown Storm to set the stage for the dramatic finish. Royal Ship, on the outside, seemed to have the momentum and was up by a half-length in mid-stretch, but Country Grammer, under Flavien Prat, battled back gamely to get to the wire first.

The final time was 2:02.23 for the 10 furlongs on a fast track.

Country Grammer is owned by WinStar Farm, who teamed up with Baffert to win last year's Gold Cup with Improbable. The victory upped Country Grammer's earnings to $377,320 and is his second graded stakes win, the first coming in last year's Peter Pan S. (G3). 

Baffert 2013