Cowboy Cal returns to Santa Anita for trainer Todd Pletcher, looking to get back on the winning track in the $150,000 Oak Tree Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 10.
As one of four Breeders' Cup Challenge races on the program, the Oak Tree Mile guarantees the winner a berth in the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) over the same course Nov. 7.
Cowboy Cal, a 4-year-old son of Giant's Causeway , won both the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) and Strub Stakes (gr. II) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride racing surface this winter prior to an eighth-place showing in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Switched to the turf after that, Cowboy Cal has been winless in four starts while performing solidly. He is coming off a second-place finish, beaten a half-length, in Saratoga's Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 28.
With earnings of $911,810 from six wins in 16 starts, Cowboy Cal is the most accomplished of the Oak Tree Mile contestants. He has four wins in 10 starts on turf, with four seconds and a third.
Garrett Gomez, the nation’s leading money-winning jockey the last three years, will be aboard for the first time. Cowboy Cal just missed by a head to Einstein in the Turf Classic (gr. IT) on May 2 at Churchill Downs. He breaks from post 9.
After finishing eighth at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) routing and third in the Bing Crosby (gr. I) sprinting, Global Hunter returns to turf. The 6-year-old Argentina-bred had his biggest moment in winning Del Mar’s Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at 1 1/8 miles July 25. Corey Nakatani rides the son of Jade Hunter trained by A. C. Avila. Owned by L-Bo Racing and Monte Pyle, Global Hunter has winnings of $491,365 with a 7-2-8 showing in 27 lifetime starts.
Monterey Jazz disappointed while heavily bet in two starts on the Del Mar turf this summer following an outstanding Hollywood Park meet in which the 5-year-old son of Thunderello captured the American Handicap (gr. IIT). Trained by Craig Dollase, Monterey Jazz ran seventh most recently in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 29. Mike Smith takes over aboard the dark bay.
Also coming out of the Del Mar Mile is the filly Allicansayis Wow, who finished second, and Victor's Cry, who was fourth.
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds' Whatsthescript returns to action after a brief freshening by trainer John Sadler following the 5-year-old Irish-bred bay's third-place effort in the Eddie Read. The third-place finisher in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile must contend with the far outside post position.
$150,000 Oak Tree Mile Stakes (gr. IIT, Race 6, 3 p.m.), 3 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Times Gone By (KY), V Espinoza, 119, R E Mandella
2. Skyrush (ARG), M A Pedroza, 119, D Vienna
3. Polonius (FL), A T Gryder, 119, M Pender
4. Global Hunter (ARG), C S Nakatani, 123, A C Avila
5. Victor's Cry (VA), B Blanc, 119, E G Harty
6. Blue Chagall (FR), R Bejarano, 119, J C Canani
7. Monterey Jazz (KY), M E Smith, 123, C Dollase
8. Allicansayis Wow (KY), K Fallon, 116, P L Biancone
9. Cowboy Cal (KY), G K Gomez, 123, T A Pletcher
10. Whatsthescript (IRE), J Rosario, 119, J W Sadler