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Stilleto Boy targets first freshman win at Memorial Day Hollywood Gold Cup – Reuters





Steve Moger’s Stilleto Boy and jockey Juan Hernandez win the California $200,000 Grade II Stakes on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA. Benoit Photo

Stilleto Boy is aiming for his first win as a freshman and coach Ed Moger Jr. his second in the $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup for kids 3 and up at a mile and a quarter on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.

A four-year-old gelding son of Shackleford, Stilleto Boy is scheduled to work for the Gold Cup on Monday, according to Ed, 66, who trains the chestnut for his younger brother, owner Steve.

Winner of the California G2 lead on April 30, Stilleto Boy completed a half mile in 50 seconds on May 16 under lead jockey Juan Hernandez, who competes in the Gold Cup.

He’s only won three races in his life, so a Grade 1 victory would also be important for the horse, said Moger, whose only previous Grade 1 victory came when his brother’s owned Stormy Lucy stunned 13 rivals at 65-1 at Del Mar’s 2015 Matriarch, rising from a header under a classic Kent Desormeaux ride.

It was a perfect race and we wouldn’t have won without a perfect race like that,” explained Moger. He’s a great rider.

As for the Gold Cup strategy, Moger said Stilleto Boy is a good horse. We’re not going to send it or anything. We’re going to take it out, get it in the race, and play it by ear.

In the Californian (which had a field of four horses), I told Juan to push him into the race, then play him by ear.

He had a pretty easy lead and that’s how it is, but I think his best runs have been when he’s halfway close to the pace (although he’s won back-to-back twice before the Californian).

Humility aside, Ed gives Steve all the credit for buying Stilleto Boy with the highest bid of $420,000 last July at the Fasig Tipton Sale of selected horses of racing age.

Ed has his own stellar resume, though, with more than 1,900 wins as a presence in Northern and Southern California for half a century. He began his training in 1976.

Prior to his victory in the Californian, Stilleto Boy finished third in three consecutive Grade 1s, the Santa Anita Handicap presented by Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational presented by 1/ST BET and the Run happy Malibu Stakes.

Prior to those races, he was fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and second in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes.

Overall, Stilleto Boy is 3-3-6 in 15 starts with earnings of $1,031,175.

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