Cal Breeders Champion Stakes Draw Big Fields

Cal Breeders Champion Stakes Draw Big Fields
Photo: Benoit Photo
Weewinnin tries two turns in the California Breeders Champion Stakes.

Weewinnin, who blew out the Betfair Hollywood Park toteboard at 60-1 to take the state-bred King Glorious Stakes Dec. 16, will tackle two turns for the first time in the $300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 26.

A second division of the Cal Breeders Champion Stakes for fillies is also on tap one race earier. Both events, part of a stakes-filled card at Santa Anita, are for 3-year-olds and will be contested at one mile. Eleven were entered in each division. There are two other stakes for state-breds, the $100,000 Crystal Water for older horses at nine furlongs on turf, and the $100,000 Valentine Dancer for older fillies and mares at one mile on grass.

The state-bred races are in addition to a pair of open affairs, the $250,000 Santa Monica Stakes (gr. II) for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, and the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Drawn outside in a field of 11, it’ll be up to jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. to tuck Weewinnin in and save as much ground as he can to the turn. Although he was dismissed in the King Glorious at long odds, the son of Comic Strip ran a good fourth, beaten 4 1/4 lengths in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 1.

A first-out maiden $32,000 claiming winner June 16 at Golden Gate Fields, Weewinnin is owned by breeders Dr. and Mrs. William T. Gray, along with E-Racing.Com, Janet Lyons, and partners. With two wins from three starts, he has earnings of $125,900.

"Everything's good," trainer Brian Koriner said. "It was a shocker that he was that big of a price (in the King Glorious), because he had just run fourth against the same horses (in the Graduation) and got beat a head for second. But he's doing good now and that's all I can ask."

Trainer John Sadler will send out Lee and Susan Searing’s homebred Monument, who won the Cal Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 13. The Cindago colt comes off a close third as the 2-1 favorite to Weewinnin in the King Glorious.

With a field-leading $217,500 in earnings, Monument has a record of 3-1-1 in six starts.

Veteran trainer Hector Palma will be represented by Fighting Hussar, who rallied to be second to Weewinnin in the King Glorious. Like Weewinnin, B G Stable's gray son of Rockport Harbor will also be trying a route of ground for the first time.

Though lightly raced, Omega Star broke his maiden in a fashion that would suggest two turns could be right up his alley. A facile three-length winner going 6 1 /2 furlongs Dec. 31 over the track, the gelding by Candy Ride   is trained by John Shirreffs and is owned by his breeders, Martin Wygod and Herman Sarkowsky. He has a win and a second from two starts.

In the $300,000 filly division of the Cal Breeders Champion, nine of the 11 entrants are stretching out off of their most recent races. The pace figures to be hotly contested early.

Any one of four fillies could merit top billing: Steve Specht’s Marks Mine, Mike Puype’s Home Journey, Jeff Bonde’s Unusual Way, or Jerry Hollendorfer’s Doinghardtimeagain. Top to bottom, a case could be made for any of the 11 to win.

Marks Mine comes off an impressive 4 1/2-length allowance tally going six furlongs at Golden Gate Fields Jan. 6. She was an eye-catching winner of the six-furlong Golden Gate Debutante five weeks earlier. A Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams homebred daughter of Benchmark, Marks Mine will be handled by Bay Area-based Abel Cedillo, who has ridden her in all of her starts.

Home Journey earned a race-best 85 Beyer speed figure in winning a 6 1/2-furlong allowance Nov. 9. She was made the 3-5 favorite in the restricted Soviet Problem Stakes Dec. 9 on the strength of that win.  Although the daughter of Good Journey gave way and finished last in the seven-furlong affair, she should be well supported again as she tries to rebound with regular rider Aaron Gryder. Owned by GGG Stable and Russell J. Sarno, Home Journey has won two of three starts.

A multiple stakes-winning daughter of Unusual Heat, Unusual Way comes off a second-place run to Doinghardtimeagain in the Soviet Problem. With three wins and a second from six races and earnings of $183,610 for owners Edward J. Brown Jr. and Phil Lebherz, the bay filly will stretch out for the first time and will again be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

A gem of consistency, Doinghardtimeagain was second, beaten a half-length in the 1 1/16 miles Cal Cup Juvenile Oct. 13 and she has consecutive wins since, including the Soviet Problem score by 2 1/4 lengths. A daughter of Ministers Wild Cat  , she is a Tommy Town Thoroughbreds homebred with two victories and two seconds from four starts while banking $198,500.

$300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes (Filly Division, Race 6, 2:30 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Marks Mine (CA), A Cedillo, 119, S Specht
2. Akiss Forarose (CA), E A Maldonado, 117, G Sherlock
3. Awe Golly Molly (CA), J J Hernandez, 117, W Solis
4. Home Journey (CA), A T Gryder, 119, M Puype
5. Jade With Envy (CA), J R Leparoux, 117, R Baltas
6. Unusual Way (CA), R Bejarano, 122, J Bonde
7. Tilde (CA), G L Stevens, 124, M Harrington
8. Doinghardtimeagain (CA), J Talamo, 122, J Hollendorfer
9. Qiaona (CA), G K Gomez, 117, E Moger Jr.
10. Good Party (CA), E Flores, 117, H O Palma
11. Cloudy Moon (CA), O Mojica, 119, D F O'Neill

$300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes (Race 7, 3 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Omega Star (CA), J R Leparoux, 117, J A Shirreffs
2. Alydidit (CA), O Mojica, 117, W Solis
3. Major Truth (CA), A Quinonez, 117, E Moger Jr.
4. O Wild West Wind (CA), E A Maldonado, 117, R L McAnally
5. Lovmeister (CA), M A Pedroza, 117, W Solis
6. Fighting Hussar (CA), R Bejarano, 119, H O Palma
7. China Prince (CA), J Talamo, 117, C Dollase
8. Monument (CA), J J Hernandez, 122, J W Sadler
9. Tiz a Minister (CA), G K Gomez, 117, P G Aguirre
10. Surfcup (CA), M Garcia, 117, B Baffert
11. Weewinnin (CA), J Valdivia Jr., 122, B J Koriner

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