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Defunded leads all the way in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1)
Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Defunded gave Bob Baffert his third Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) win in four years on May 29 when the 5-year-old led from start to finish of the 1 ¼-mile contest at Santa Anita Park.

As part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series, Defunded’s victory also earned him an automatic berth in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November.

Coming into the Gold Cup off a three-length win in the April 22nd Californian S. (G2), Defunded was the odds-on favorite in Saturday’s contest. Juan Hernandez hustled Defunded to the lead out of the gate, with Piroli pressing the leader through a half-mile in :47.59. That duo would be one-two the rest of the way, with Defunded repelling several challenges by the runner-up to win by a length in 2:02.85 on a fast track.

"This horse got the lead and he wasn't going to let anybody pass him," said Baffert. "He's getting better, and I was happy to see him get the mile and a quarter. Juan rode him very well, and the horse has really matured and is relaxing."

Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Defunded is 7-4-2 in 17 starts and has earned $1,588,100, with four graded stakes wins.

Baffert now has a record nine wins in the Hollywood Gold Cup, dating back to 1999 with Real Quiet. He was previously tied with Charlie Whittingham with eight a piece.

"It's an honor to win this race," said Baffert. "It's a very important race."

The Gold Cup dates back to 1938 and was run at Hollywood Park until its closing in 2013.

Baffert 2013