Grade 1 winner Rockemperor (IRE) looks to add another graded win to his resume when he headlines the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) to contested at 1 ½-miles at Del Mar on Nov. 26.
Trained by Chad Brown, Rockemperor comes into the Hollywood Turf Cup off a troubled trip in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 6 where he could only finish eighth of 14. The son of Holy Roman Emperor (IRE) has been a steady sort throughout his career, however, garnering graded stakes black type six times since being transferred to Brown, including a close second beaten a neck to stablemate Instilled Regard in last year’s Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont.
Previously trained in France by Simone Brogi, Rockemperor made his debut for Brown when a late-closing third in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational in July 2019. The 5-year-old bay horse scored his first victory in North America when dropping down to allowance optional claiming company on June 26 going ten furlongs over the Belmont inner turf ahead of a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 31 at Saratoga.
Owned by Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Wonder Stables, Michael E. Kisber and Michael J. Caruso, Rockemperor broke through for his first graded win when he captured the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) by two lengths at Belmont Park on Oct. 9.
“He has moved to the top of the list of one of the most deserving horses in our barn to win a Grade 1,” Brown said after the Joe Hirsch. “He finally got it done.”
Among the top contenders Rockemperor is slated to face is Acclimate also ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but finished far back in the field. The 7-year-old gelding by Acclamation is a seven-time winner of $633,872. He was beaten only a whisker in the mile and one-quarter John Henry Turf Cup at Santa Anita on Oct. 2 in his race before his Breeders’ Cup try.
Friar’s Road was just a nose behind Acclimate in the John Henry in his most recent attempt. The 4-year-old Quality Road colt works out of the barn of trainer Mike McCarthy and appears to have found a home running long on the grass.