Continental Red, winner of the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. II) on turf at Santa Anita earlier this year, returns to the main track after a 16-race, 19-month absence from competition on dirt. Trained by Ian Jory, the 6-year-old gelding is the 5-1 morning line third choice for Saturday's $250,000 California Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
"Continental Red couldn't be training any better, just awesome," Jory said. "I went from turf to dirt a few years ago (1996) in the Cal Cup Classic with Mateo and we just got beat (by Megan's Interco), and he was switching from turf to dirt, too."
Most recently, Continental Red finished third in the Kentucky Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Kentucky Downs.
The Classic is one of 10 races on Saturday's Oak Tree card that have drawn 111 California-breds. A total $1.325 million in purses is being offered. Oak Tree is also offering a $1-million guaranteed Pick Six.
Morning-line favorite for the Classic, at 1 1/8 miles, is Hot Market, the winner of five of 14 starts who finished second in the Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II). Second choice at 4-1 is Grey Memo, winner of the San Diego Handicap (gr. II). The field for the 1 1/8-mile Classic in post position order:
1--Groom On The Run, Tony Lovato, 111, 20-1
2--Grey Memo, Alex Solis, 121, 4-1
3--Earl of Danby, Mike Smith, 111, 20-1
4--Slippery When Bet, Tyler Baze, 114, 20-1
5--Hot Market, Jose Valdivia Jr., 120, 3-1
6--Bonus Pay Day, David Flores, 116, 6-1
7--Calkins Road, Laffit Pincay Jr., 115, 6-1
8--Continental Red, Pat Valenzuela, 121, 5-1
9--Long Gone Con, Corey Nakatani, 115, 15-1
10--Eric Da Bomb, Victor Espinoza, 115, 20-1.