Steve Schuelein of the Hollywood Park publicity office reported today that the brilliant filly Life Is Sweet might race against the boys in the $700,000 Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 11 rather than tackling the unbeaten Zenyatta again in the $300,000 Grade I Vanity Handicap:
Here’s an excerpt from Schuelien’s barn notes dealing with Life Is Sweet:
Owner-breeder Marty Wygod said Life Is Sweet may make her next start against males in the TVG/Betfair Hollywood Gold Cup after the multiple stakes-winning 4-year-old filly worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11 on Cushion Track at Hollywood Park Thursday.
“She worked great this morning,” said Wygod. “It’s between running her against Zenyatta next Saturday in the Vanity or in the Gold Cup two weeks later. I’ll play it by ear and see who is probably running in the Gold Cup.”
Life Is Sweet was named champion female of the Santa Anita meet after sweeping the El Encino and La Canada stakes and the Santa Margarita Handicap but was no match for unbeaten Eclipse Award winner Zenyatta in her season debut in the Milady Handicap here May 23, finishing 1 lengths behind in second.
“I would rather run against Zenyatta at Santa Anita,” said Wygod. “Gomez (jockey Garrett Gomez) said she likes the surface there better.” Both female stars are trained by John Shirreffs.
Life Is Sweet, a full sister to 2004 2-year-old filly champion Sweet Catomine, has won five of 11 starts and earned $570,810. All her starts have been against females.
The last female to win the Gold Cup was Princessnesian in 1968. She was the third, following Happy Issue in 1944 and Two Lea in 1952. The $700,000 Gold Cup is a Grade I test at 1 miles on July 11.
Zenyatta is scheduled to defend her Vanity crown in quest of her 11th straight victory. The $300,000, Grade I test will be run at 1 1/8 miles on June 27.
Zenyatta won the Milady under 126 pounds, four more than Life Is Sweet. The 5-year-old mare won the Vanity last year under 124 with regular rider Mike Smith up.
The last horse to repeat in the Vanity was champion Azeri, also under Smith, in 2002 and 2003. Other repeat winners are It’s In The Air in 1979-80, Convenience in 1972-73 and Annie Lu-San in 1957-58.
Joining Zenyatta and Life Is Sweet as nominees to the Vanity are Allicansayiswow, Briecat, Dawn After Dawn, Forest Melody, Hot n’ Dusty, Modification and You Lift Me Up.