Never close to the early lead in any of his previous seven career starts, the 3-year-old Sarava gelding out of the Fast Ferdie mare Sheza Pretty Gal was in front virtually throughout under new rider Joel Rosario.
After setting moderate fractions, Saravas Wild Again kicked away to a three-length advantage with an eighth of a mile to run, then held Keen Bidder safe. The final margin was three-quarters of a length. The time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:41.85.
The 3-1 second choice, Saravas Wild Again, who had two seconds and a third in three earlier races on grass, paid $8, $4.20 and $2.60. Keen Bidder returned $5.60 and $3.40.
Straightomidnight, the second longest shot in the cast at 10-1, was third, three-quarters of a length behind Keen Bidder. He paid $4.60 to show while finishing a half-length in front of Gilligan.
Even money favorite Lyons Barton and Fandino completed the order of finish.
The win was the second of three during the evening for Rosario. He also won the third with It’s Not Unusual and the eighth aboard Justice Reigns.
The triple leaves Rosario tied with Rafael Bejarano atop the jockey standings. Both have 32 wins with two days left in the meet.
There were three winning tickets in the Pick Six. Each was worth $88,181. An additional $380,289 was wagered Friday in pursuit of a $54,434 carryover.
Racing resumes Saturday. Post time is 1 p.m. for the 21st California Cup.
The 10 race card will feature seven stakes – with purses totaling $700,000 – for California breds. The richest of these events is the $150,000 Classic Presented by City National Bank.
Enriched, a half-brother to three-time Hollywood Gold Cup winner Lava Man, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Classic, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track.
The Oak Tree Racing Association is also offering a Cal Cup T-shirt giveaway. The item is available per paid admission while supplies last.