'Warriors' Sky Jack, Hot Market Top Cal Cup Classic

(from Oak Tree at Santa Anita notes)
Sky Jack and Hot Market, described by their trainers as "warriors," are set to do battle as the top choices in the $250,000 California Cup Classic, the marquee event Saturday as the Oak Tree Racing Association presents California Cup XIV.

California Cup is a 10-race program exclusively for Cal breds worth $1.325 million in purse money.

Sky Jack, winner of the 2000 Cal Cup Classic, was installed the 2-1 favorite. Hot Market, who lost all chance in last year's Classic when he reared at the start, was made the 5-2 second choice in the field of 10 going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Sky Jack and Hot Market are the speedsters in the Classic. Craig Lewis, trainer of Hot Market, envisions a pace duel between the two with the better horse emerging victorious. If so, Hot Market will have to do so off a 10-month layoff.

"I think it will be a pretty realistic pace, but he's trained forwardly and he's a warrior," Lewis said of the 5-year-old gelded son of Cee's Tizzy, owned by Harris Farms and Per Antonsen. "I decided to run in the Classic about a week ago. I've been able to get a lot more air into him (through his workouts) and I'm hopeful it will be enough.

"He's a good horse, but getting ready for a mile and an eighth is a lot tougher than three-quarters. The training regimen is just common sense but it's very demanding. It's asking a lot of a horse but he's very willing and he likes what he's doing. That makes it easier for me."

Hot Market has a 6-2-2 record from 17 starts with earnings of $348,600.

Sky Jack, a 7-year-old gelded son of Jaklin Klugman owned by Rene and Marjorie Lambert of Los Angeles who race as Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds, has 10 wins from 18 career starts with two seconds and two thirds. He has earned $1,115,127, mainly due to his win in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup last July 14.

Sky Jack is trained by Doug O'Neill, the record-setting leader in the Oak Tree standings this year.

$250,000 California Cup Classic, 3 & up bred in California, 1 1/8 miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt., ML Odds
1. Calkins Road, Julie Krone, 118, 8-1
2. Mr. Joe C, Jose Valdivia Jr., 112, 15-1
3. Tizawinner, Tony Farina, 113, 30-1
4. Commander's Flag, Alex Solis, 114, 12-1
5. Sky Jack, Russell Baze, 123, 2-1
6. Red Warrior, Ryan Fogelsonger, 112, 15-1
7. Tizbud, Victor Espinoza, 114, 15-1
8. Hot Market, Pat Valenzuela, 120, 5-2
9. Kedington, Tyler Baze, 113, 20-1
10. Grey Memo, Kent Desormeaux, 120, 7-2