With their purses enhanced to $250,000 apiece, two stakes races for juveniles take center stage at this year's 23rd California Cup, to be run Oct. 13 at Santa Anita Park.
The $250,000 Keith E. Card Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies has 10 entrants, headed by the talented Tilde. The $250,000 Bob Benoit Cal Cup Juvenile also has a field of 10, headed by promising winners Strong Wind and The Humancomplaint. The races were worth $100,000 apiece last year but received a boost through the Golden State Series, jointly funded by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the California Marketing Committee, and through nominations of 2-year-olds in 2012.
Cal Cup Day, an important stop on the schedule for California-bred horses, includes the $175,000 Cal Cup Classic presented by City National Bank, now named for Lava Man, the $100,000 Donald Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint, and two divisions of the $100,000 John Deere Cal Cup Distaff.
The stakes racing begins with the fifth on the card, the Bob Benoit Cal Cup Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, with a 3:05 p.m. PDT scheduled post time.
Strong Wind, winner of the Graduation Stakes over the Del Mar Polytrack, comes off a third-place finish in Del Mar's I'm Smokin' Stakes Sept. 3 and will be making his first try around two turns for trainer Steve Knapp. The Roncelli Family Trust and Bill and Sue Tomasic own the Tribal Rule colt who broke his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park June 30 and has two wins from six races overall. Joe Talamo rides the speedy chestnut from post 2.
Reddam Racing's The Humancomplaint has been second in both of his starts for trainer Ben Cecil, a maiden debut at Del Mar Aug. 4 and in the I'm Smokin, where he finished a half-length in front of Strong Wind. Also by Tribal Rule, the late-running bay colt will have the services of Rafael Bejarano. They break from post 3.
Another exiting the six-furlong I'm Smokin is Herman Sarkowsky's homebred Ballard Ruler, fourth as the 3-2 favorite, and sixth-place Life a Riley, owned and bred by Pam and Martin Wygod. Both maiden winners are from the John Sadler barn.
Monument, also trained by Sadler for C R K Stable, and Lovmeister, conditioned by Walther Solis, ran second and third, respectively, in the seven-furlong C.B. Afflerbaugh Stakes at Fairplex Park Sept. 12.
The Keith E. Card Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track as well, is the last of 10 races on the program with a 5:38 p.m. PDT post. Mike Harrington's Tilde, a daughter of Swiss Yodeler, looks for third consecutive stakes win over state-bred 2-year-old fillies.
Conditioned by Harrington, the gray/roan filly is coming off a smart score in the six-furlong Generous Portion Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Del Mar's Polytrack. She tallied by 3 1/2 lengths in the CTBA Stakes, also at Del Mar, prior to that, and has won three of four starts overall. Bejarano, who has ridden Tilde in all of her races thus far, has the return engagement. For Tilde's first route try, they break from post 9.
Cotton's Point, second in the CTBA for trainer Jeff Bonde, was most recently second in a maiden special weight at Del Mar Aug. 12.
Bert's Altarcation, trained by Marty Jones for Emily Wygod, tries to atone for a seventh-place finish when well backed in the Generous Portion. The Bertrando filly, a sharp maiden debut winner at Hollywood in July, got off to a slow start in the Generous Portion and was in tight in the lane.
A race before the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies, eight vie in the Lava Man Cal Cup Classic at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Holladay Road and John Scott each shoulder top weight of 124 pounds.
Holladay Road is a four-time winner at Santa Anita, including the Crystal Water Stakes on the main track in January. Gary and Wendy Broad's 7-year-old son of Street Cry has enjoyed success on the turf as well as dirt for trainer Julio Canani. Holladay Road is coming off a third in the Del Mar's Harry Brubaker Stakes Sept. 1. Joe Talamo retains the mount on Holladay Road, who was third, beaten a neck by Norvsky and Lucky Primo, in last year' Cal Cup Classic. They break from the rail.
Harris Farm's John Scott won the one-mile Brubaker by neck over Kettle Corn and has been superb for trainer Carla Gaines since returning from 2 1/2-year absence in April. Since that comeback race, a fourth, the 5-year-old Bertrando gelding has won three of four races and was a close second to Rail Trip in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) in his only loss. He drew post 7 with Victor Espinoza riding once again.
Rousing Sermon, winner of last year's Cal Cup Juvenile but winless in nine start since, will face older horses for the first time for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Mr. and Mr.s Larry D. Williams' Lucky Pulpit colt ran eighth in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and comes off a fourth in the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs Sept. 8. Bejarano has the call on Rousing Sermon, who will race without blinkers.
J B K Stables Lucky Primo was away from the races for 8 1/2 months following his game front-running runner-up effort in last year's Cal Cup Classic. A winner in his return in allowance company on the grass at Hollywood for trainer Joshua Litt, the 6-year-old Atticus gelding was fourth last time out in an allowance/optional claimer on the Del Mar grass Aug. 30.
Teddy's Promise leads one division of the John Deere Cal Cup Distaff at 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course, and Sparkling Style and Going for a Spin top the second. Both divisions have 11 entrants.
Shudacudawudya is the 124-pound high weight in a field of 10 drawn for the Don Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint.
$250,000 Bob Benoit California Cup Juvenile Stakes (Race 5, 3:05 p.m.), 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Warren's Rocky (CA), A Quinonez, C A Lewis
2. Strong Wind (CA), J Talamo, S Knapp
3. The Humancomplaint (CA), R Bejarano, B D Cecil
4. Monument (CA), M Garcia, J W Sadler
5. Star Rocker (CA), M Gutierrez, D F O'Neill
6. Ballard Ruler (CA), J Rosario, J W Sadler
7. O Wild West Wind (CA), A Cedeno, R L McAnally
8. Real Heat (CA), R A Baze, J E Kruljac
9. Life a Riley (CA), G K Gomez, J W Sadler
10. Lovmeister (CA), M A Pedroza, 120, W Solis
All carry 120 pounds.
$175,000 Lava Man California Cup Classic Stakes (Race 9, 5:08 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Holladay Road (CA), J Talamo, 124, J C Canani
2. Got Even (CA), B Blanc, 114, P Miller
3. Rousing Sermon (CA), R Bejarano, 114, J Hollendorfer
4. Woodmans Luck (CA), G K Gomez, 117, M Puype
5. Lucky Primo (CA), T Baze, 117, J M Litt
6. Thirtyfirststreet (CA), C Sutherland, 117, P Eurton
7. John Scott (CA), V Espinoza, 124, C Gaines
8. Accelerant (CA), E A Maldonado, 117, D Warren
Blinkers Off: Rousing Sermon
$250,000 Keith E. Card California Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes (Race 10, 5:38 pm.), 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Doinghardtimeagain (CA), M Garcia, J Hollendorfer
2. Warren's Sugarbuzz (CA), T Baze, J Gutierrez
3. Cotton's Point (CA), M E Smith, J Bonde
4. Bert's Altarcation (CA), J Rosario, M F Jones
5. Akiss Forarose (CA), A Quinonez, G Sherlock
6. Qiaona (CA), J J Hernandez, E Moger Jr.
7. Sacred Delight (CA), G K Gomez, J E Kruljac
8. Awe Golly Molly (CA), M A Pedroza, W Solis
9. Tilde (CA), R Bejarano, M Harrington
10. Graduator (KY), J Talamo, B J Koriner
All carry 120 pounds.