Classic, juvenile contests highlight Cal Cup Day
Date Posted: 10/11/2012 2:18:54 PM
Last Updated: 10/13/2012 6:58:05 PM
John Scott, who appears to have found a new lease on life at age five, heads
a competitive eight-horse field in Saturday's $175,000
California Cup Classic, a race which headlines Santa Anita's 23rd annual Cal
Cup Day for horses bred or foaled in the Golden State.
"The Golden State Series, which was initiated this year by the California
racing industry, has helped bolster entries for this year's Cal Cup and it is
responsible for significant increases in purses for both of our two-year-old
stakes," Santa Anita Vice President of Racing Rick Hammerle said. "Both the Bob
Benoit Juvenile and the Keith Card Juvenile Fillies have had their purses bumped
from $100,000 to $250,000 each. This is great news for the Cal Cup and for our
game here in California."
Trained by Carla Gaines, John Scott exits a game win in the one-mile Harry F.
Brubaker at Del Mar on September 4, a race run on synthetic Polytrack. The
gelded son of Bertrando entered that contest off a half-length second in the
Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, his first foray against stakes company since running
fourth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by eventual classic winner and dual champion
Lookin at Lucky in Santa Anita's Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes as a two-year-old in
John Scott subsequently went to the sidelines following the Norfolk and did
not resurface until April 21, 2012 at Santa Anita. In that race, a 6
1/2-furlong, first condition allowance, he finished a close fourth and went on
to register consecutive allowance wins at Hollywood Park going seven furlongs
and 1 1/16 miles.
Saturday's Cal Cup Classic will be the first time John Scott has faced state
breds since winning the I'm Smokin Stakes at Del Mar in 2009.
John Scott figures to press the Classic pace or make the early lead under his
regular pilot, Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for the Brubaker score and who
has partnered with the dark bay "John" in four of his lifetime victories.
Rousing Sermon, a three-year-old colt by Lucky Pulpit, has faced America's
best three-year-olds this year and will be taking on older competition for the
first time in the Classic.
Most recently fourth in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on
September 8, the chestnut has been busy on a national scale throughout 2012. He
ran fourth behind I'll Have Another in Santa Anita's Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis
Stakes on February 4, fifth while staying at that track in the Grade 2 San
Felipe on March 10, third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on April 1 at Fair
Grounds, eighth in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, fourth in
Hollywood Park's Grade 2 Swaps Stakes on July 4 and second in the state-bred
Real Good Deal Stakes on August 3 at Del Mar.
Conditioned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Rousing Sermon's best races
have come when he is able to mount a late-charging rally from off the pace. His
most recent win came in the Cal Cup Juvenile a year ago.
Other contenders in the Cal Cup Classic include Grade 3-placed stakes winner
Holladay Road, a seven-year-old Street Cry gelding who was third in last year's
running of the Classic as well the Brubaker behind John Scott most recently; and
Lucky Primo, beaten only a neck when second in the 2011 Classic. The
six-year-old gelded son of Atticus has competed just twice since then, capturing
an allowance by 2 1/4 lengths while making his seasonal debut in mid-July at
Hollywood Park and most recently finishing a a close fourth in an allowance race
at Del Mar on August 30.
While the 1 1/16-mile Classic enjoys top billing on Saturday's 10-race
program, the $100,000 California Cup Distaff will garner plenty of notice as
well as it attracted 22 fillies and mares, resulting in the race being split, to
be run as the
8TH races. The Distaff will be contested at 6 1/2 furlongs down the Camino
Real Turf Course and with the split of the race, bettors will be offered a total
of six stakes on the afternoon.
The first division of the race could see favoritism befall the Marty
Jones-trained Tiz Flirtatious. A winner of her first three starts, the lightly
raced Tiz Bud four-year-old filly tasted defeat as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade
2 La Canada Stakes on January 22 and has not run since. The dark bay miss will
be reunited on Saturday with jockey Joel Rosario while trying turf for the first
time on Saturday.
Teddy's Promise should also garner plenty of attention as winner of the Grade
1 La Brea Stakes on New Year's Eve. The Salt Lake four-year-old has been idle
since running fifth in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap on July 14 at Hollywood
Park, but has posted series of drills for trainer Ron Ellis to prepare for this
return to action.
The second division of the Distaff, like the first, attracted a field of 11
fillies and mares. The Walther Solis-trained Willa B Awesome, winner of the
Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in late March, is one of the top draws in the contest
despite not having run since finishing third as the 3-2 favorite in Del Mar's
Fleet Treat Stakes on July 28.
The Awesome Gambler three-year-old miss will be tackling older competition
and trying the turf for the first time in the Distaff.
Willa B Awesome will vie for favoritism in the Distaff with
Sugarinthemorning, who just missed when a half-length second in the Grade 2
Rancho Bernardo Handicap on August 19. An allowance winner down the hillside
turf course, the Ron McAnally-trained daughter of Candy Ride has two Grade 1
stakes placings to her credit and four graded placings overall.
Sandwiched between the two Distaff divisions is the $100,000
California Cup Sprint for three-year-olds and up, and trainer Doug O'Neill
will saddle the consistent Mensa Heat in the six-furlong affair.
|Mensa Heat is still seeking his first win this year
The Cal Cup Sprint attracted a wide-open field of 10 and Mensa Heat may enjoy
a class edge, as he appears to have been facing the toughest recent competition.
The six-year-old Unusual Heat gelding exits a third, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths,
in the Grade 3 Eddie D. Stakes on September 28. Prior to that, he was second to
the highly regarded Comma to the Top in the Pirate's Bounty Stakes and three
starts back ran second to recent Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship winner
Coil in a classified allowance on July 26.
The stakes action on Cal Cup Day will begin and end with the juvenile races.
First up will be the $250,000
Cup Juvenile, which drew a field of 10 colts going 1 1/16 miles. Though he
is still a maiden, The Humancomplaint would appear to have run better in his
most recent start than any of the rivals he'll be facing on Saturday. The son of
Tribal Rule was surging late when second, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in the
six-furlong I'm Smokin Stakes on September 3 at Del Mar and opened his career
with a half-length second in a maiden over that same Polytrack in early August.
The Ben Cecil pupil will be trying two turns for the first time in the Cal Cup
Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies will conclude Saturday's program as 10 juvenile
fillies take to the track. The Mike Harrington-trained Tilde, a daughter of
Swiss Yodeler, is easily the most accomplished in the field off a nice win in
the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar in late August. Two starts back the gray
lass captured the C.T.B.A. Stakes and shows only one loss from four starts to
date, with that coming as a third in the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park in
Admission gates open at 11 a.m. (PDT) Saturday and first post is 1 p.m. All
attendees will receive a collector's item Doug O'Neill Bobblehead, free with
paid admission. Santa Anita will also offer a $400,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 on
the final four races. For information, or to make reservations, visit
santaanita.com, or call
Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com
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