Juveniles take center stage at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting this weekend.
Saturday, the $75,000 Sunny Slope Stakes for 2-year-old colts tops the bill. Sunday's feature is the $75,000 Anoakia Stakes for juvenile fillies. Both races are at six furlongs.
Jack Carava, currently atop the Oak Tree trainers' standings, has entered Hell Cat in the Sunny Slope.
A $35,000 son of Tabasco Cat owned by Joe Bradford, Hell Cat was second to the front-running Jimmy O in the 6 1/2-furlong Beau Brummel Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 17. He'll be ridden by Gary Stevens.
Six furlongs may not be Hell Cat's ideal distance, but Carava's barn is hot right now and the 36-year-old Arcadia native is optimistic that the chestnut colt will run his race.
"Eventually, I think he'll want to go longer," Carava said. "Three-quarters wasn't a problem for him. He's only had three races. I think he'll improve with a little more distance, but he's not a real big horse so that kind of gives you mixed feelings about how far he'll run."
Taliano, with Chance Rollins aboard, and Only the Best, with Patrick Valenzuela riding, are top weighted in the nine-horse Sunny Slope at 119 pounds apiece.
Segovia, with Iggy Puglisi aboard, should garner attention in the Anoakia Stakes, which drew eight to the entry box.
"She's great," Puglisi said. "She's done everything right so far, from winning first time out to winning in a little tougher heat the next time. Then she went to Pomona and was great around the bullring. She's just a tiny, dainty filly, but, man, she really is very aggressive, even working her in the mornings.
"I've worked her and she's pinned her ears and tried biting other horses while she's working. She's just really a gamer, and like I said, she's done everything good so far. Until they prove her wrong, you can't really say anything bad about her. She wasn't really a superstar working in the morning, but as soon as they put her in company and in a racing situation, wow!
Two of Segovia's rivals in the Anoakia are Ionia and Forest Native, both trained by Chris Paasch, who won the Anoakia last year with Ponce de Leona, who like Forest Native, was brought in from Calder in Florida.
"I bought Forest Native privately in Florida," Paasch said. "Basically, her problem is she's already won the first two allowance conditions. In California, because they don't write a lot of condition allowance races or open allowance races for a baby like that, you've got to run them in stakes, which is very unfortunate, but that's the way they do it in California.
Ionia is coming off a second-place dead-heat finish in the Barretts Debutante at Fairplex Sept. 21.
"I could run her in her first allowance condition, but I think this spot's going to be as soft or softer than her first allowance condition would. I think she'd have won the Fairplex race if she didn't get slammed on the first turn."$75,000 Sunny Slope Stakes, 6 furlongs, 2-year-olds
PP. Horse, Rider, Wgt., ML Odds
1. Hell Cat, Gary Stevens, 115, 6-1
2. Roll Hennessy Roll, Alex Solis, 117, 5-1
3. Domestic Dispute, Victor Espinoza, 115, 6-1
4. Knightsbridge Road, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117, 12-1
5. Spensive, Mike Smith, 115, 4-1
6. Taliano, Chance Rollins, 119, 12-1
7. Red Apache, David Flores, 117, 9-2
8. Desert Boom, Martin Pedroza, 115, 30-1
9. Only the Best, Pat Valenzuela, 119, 3-1. $75,000 Anoakia Stakes, 6 furlongs, 2-year-old fillies
PP. Horse, Rider, Wgt.
1. Honest Answer, Victor Espinoza, 115
2. Puxa Saco, Mike Smith, 117
3. Ionia, Alex Solis, 117
4. Segovia, Iggy Puglisi, 117
5. Ain't It Sweep, Laffit Pincay Jr., 117
6. My Honey Bunny, Chance Rollins, 117
7. Joys World, Luis Jauregui, 113
8. Forest Native, Kent Desormeaux, 117.