Defunded wires foes in the G1 Hollywood Gold Cup

Dialed In’s Defunded scored the second Grade 1 victory of his career with an impressive front-running win in the $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) on Memorial Day, stamping himself as one of the top older horses in the country.

Winner of the Californian Stakes (G2) in his prior outing, Defunded went straight to the front at the break of the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup. After taking control early, he led throughout with pressure from Piroli through splits of :23.89, :47.59, and six furlongs in 1:11.83. When jockey Juan Hernandez asked Defunded for his best in the lane, the classy and accomplished 5-year-old responded with determination, shrugging off the challenge of a stubborn Piroli to win by a length at the wire.

“Today, he was very professional,” said Juan Hernandez. “He broke comfortably. He was pulling me on the back side, which is a really good sign. I waited until the last quarter, and he switched leads and gave me two good jumps toward the wire. He really didn’t get tired.”

Defunded, who is owned by Michael Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman and trained by Bob Baffert, covered the distance in 2:02.85.

“This horse today he got the lead, and he wasn’t going to let anybody pass him,” said Baffert. “He is just improving and getting better. I was happy to see him get a mile and a quarter.”

Runner-up in last year’s Gold Cup, and winner of the 2022 Awesome Again S. (G1), Defunded is now a winner in seven of 17 lifetime starts and boasts career earnings of $1,588,100, $980,000 of which has been added to his coffers this season. The $210,000 Keeneland September Sale graduate in 2019 is produced from the multiple stakes-placed Touch Gold mare Wind Caper and was bred in Kentucky by Athens Woods LLC.

Defunded has enjoyed a productive 2023. In addition to his wins in the Gold Cup and the Californian, he also finished third behind Stilleto Boy and Proxy in the Santa Anita H. (G1) and was runner-up to Art Collector in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.