The $100,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint is not lacking speed. That said, trainer Bruce Headley makes no bones about strategy for his charge, 2009 Malibu Stakes winner M One Rifle. The Sprint goes as the eighth of nine races.
“It’s perfect,” Headley said of drawing the No. nine post position. “There’s plenty of speed inside us, but he’s got plenty of speed, too. It’s going to be a speed race.”
“I’m speed,” he said, “so P. Val better have super speed. I’m going to go. I’m not bleeping around for nobody. I’m dead fit. My horse is ready to go. They better be ready to go from start to finish.”
Sounds like not only will the race be a survival of the fittest, it will be a survival of the fastest.
The field for the Sprint, the eighth of nine races: Mensa Heat, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Legal Separation, Victor Espinoza, 20-1; Cost of Freedom, Rafael Bejarano, 6-1; Chiloquin, Martin Pedroza, 10-1; Bob Black Jack, Patrick Valenzuela, 3-1; Courtside, Joel Rosario,
8-1; M One Rifle, Chantal Sutherland, 2-1; and Frumious, Martin Garcia, 20-1.
Dance With Gable and Warren’s Knockout were scratched.
DEFENDING CHAMP SOUL CANDY EYES WINNER’S CIRCLE IN CAL CUP CLASSIC
Soul Candy is on a seven-race losing skein. The 5-year-old gelding hasn’t won in a year,
when he captured the California Cup Classic. That race was run at 1 1/8 miles on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track.
Tomorrow, the Classic will be run on Santa Anita’s turf course at 1 1/8 miles. Paddy Gallagher thinks the change should make little difference to the son of Birdonthewire.
“He seems like he’s doing good,” the trainer said. “He didn’t run well in the Hollywood
Gold Cup, but all his other races were good.
“He worked the other day with (David) Flores on him and he’s run on the grass before. He’s had little excuses here and there and he’s been running against decent horses.”
In other Classic news:
Peter Eurton is hopeful that Mega Heat extends his winning streak to four in the Classic, his first stakes race. “He’s on a nice little roll,” the trainer said. “He seems to be every bit as sharp as he has been. He came off the track Thursday after his gallop just ripping and tearing.
“He’s 16.2 hands, a big, good-looking black horse (dark bay or brown gelding). Since I gelded him, he’s come back a different horse.”
Trainer Gary Stute on Romeo Royale, 4-year-old gelded son of Unusual Heat who also is making his stakes debut:
“At first I figured the race would be too tough, but the horse that beat him twice (Mega Heat) is going to be one of the logical choices, so we’re taking a shot.”
Meanwhile, the 2009 Arkansas Derby winner that was trained by Stute, Papa Clem is doing well at Legacy Ranch in Clements, CA. “I’ve got two lifetime breeding shares with him and he covered over 100 mares this season,” Stute said between chomps on his ever-present cigar. “This is his second crop. His first year, it was so close to breeding season, he got only six in foal, which was still good.
“Usually, the second year’s their worst because they’re out of people’s minds. I think he stood for $7,500 the first year but the price was dropped to $6,500 this season.”
The field for the $175,000 Classic presented by City National Bank: Tiz Argent, Alonso Quinonez, 12-1; Norvsky, Rafael Bejarano, 5-2; Mega Heat, Joe Talamo, 6-1; Romeo Royale, Christian Santiago Reyes, 20-1; Holladay Road, Garrett Gomez, 9-2; Tamarack Smarty, Joel Rosario, 9-2; Lucky Primo, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; and Soul Candy, David Flores, 4-1.
GLATT SEES ROUTE ‘MAGIC’ FOR MARINO MARINI FILLY
Starlight Magic is coming off three straight sprints, including a 3 ¼-length maiden triumph at 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 9, but Mark Glatt is confident the gray daughter of Marino Marini will perform well in Saturday’s $100,000 Robert H. Walter California Cup Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles presented by Angels Radio AM 830.
“I think she’ll probably route,” the trainer said. “She’s not particularly bred to, but the way she trains and she relaxes well, so I think she’s got a pretty good shot.”
The field for the Juvenile, which goes as the third race: Real Dream, Joe Talamo, 5-1; One Magical Girl, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Toluca, Chantal Sutherland, 5-1; Raesunbridledfaith, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Willa B Awesome, Martin Pedroza, 7-2; and Starlight Magic, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1.
ABRAMS HAS SON OF UNUSUAL HEAT IN CAL CUP JUVENILE
The sun came up Friday and Barry Abrams has another Unusual Heat running on Cal Cup Day. That would be Inquisitive Son in the $100,000 Bob Benoit California Cup Juvenile at
1 1/16 miles.
The colt broke his maiden at first asking in a $40,000 claiming event, and has earned a share of the purse in six subsequent starts although not winning, including a second at one mile last out.
“He’s learning to go two turns and he ran a good race last time,” Abrams said. “He came in a good second and hopefully, if he can improve a little bit and the stretching-out horses don’t improve, we’ve got a good shot.”
The field for the Juvenile: Unveiled Heat, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Far to Reach, Alonso Quinonez, 30-1; Motown Men, Garrett Gomez, 6-1; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 7-2; Broadway Nika, Jose Valdivia Jr., 15-1; Stoney Fleece, Victor Espinoza, 5-2; Inquisitive Son, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1; Our Boy Benjamin, Patrick Valenzuela, 6-1; and Champions Gate, Joel Rosario, 3-1.
STEADY CALIFORNIA NECTAR DEBUTS ON DOWNHILL COURSE
Saturday will mark a first for California Nectar. She will run on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course in the $125,000 John Deere California Cup Distaff at about 6 ½ furlongs on the grass.
The 3-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic has run twice before on turf, winning a five-furlong dash at Hollywood Park, and captured the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes on synthetic, but the Distaff will be her first go down the hill.
“She’s never run down the hill, but she’s training really well, she tries hard every time and she’s nine out of 12 (running) one-two,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “For a homebred, we probably hit a home run. She’s solid.”
California Nectar was bred by her owners, Michelle and Pablo Suarez.
The field for the Distaff: Sugarinthemorning, Patrick Valenzuela, 4-1; West Ruler, Joel Rosario, 6-1; Strawberry Tart, Edwin Maldonado, 50-1; Always in Style, Joe Talamo, 20-1; California Nectar, Martin Pedroza, 8-1; Antares World, Daniel Vergara, 12-1; Waveline, Garrett Gomez, 6-1; Cayanna, Victor Espinoza, 30-1; Meltarib, Alonso Quinonez, 50-1; Evasive Charmer, David Flores, 30-1; Unzip Me, Rafael Bejarano, 8-5; and Salty Sarah, Martin Garcia, 8-1.
Bench Glory and Warren’s Creampuff were scratched.
SANTA ANITA TEAMS WITH ‘KOMEN FOR THE CURE’ TOMORROW
Santa Anita Park and the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (CTBA) will partner with Susan G. Komen For The Cure to promote breast cancer awareness on Saturday, California Cup Day.
“Many businesses and sports franchises throughout the country are now getting involved in this very worthy cause,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing and Sales Chris Quinn. “Along with the CTBA, we are proud to join in this effort and we hope to be able to raise breast cancer awareness both locally and nationally by having this event on Cal Cup Day.
“We’re going to have a great Cal Cup T-Shirt giveaway item and we expect to have a big on-track crowd for Cal Cup. We’ll generate state-wide and national attention via HRTV and our satellite wagering network and our jockeys have agreed to wear pink armbands. We’ll have pink borders on our saddle cloths, as well as a pink winner’s circle and paddock.
“Anyone attending can purchase a pink Susan G. Komen wristband for $5. In one way or another, virtually everyone has been touched by this deadly disease and anything we can do to support the effort to combat it, is worth trying. It should be a great day of racing and we hope to have a lot of fun and to be able to help a good many people as well,” he added.
FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert, with 10 prospects for Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs Nov. 4 and 5, confirmed Thursday that Rafael Bejarano will ride the speedy Euroears in the Sprint. Bejarano rode the 7-year-old Langfuhr horse to victory in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 31. . . Agent Tom Knust has lined up the following Breeders’ Cup mounts for Patrick Valenzuela: California Flag (Turf Sprint); Courageous Cat (Mile); and Blacky the Bull (Turf Sprint). Valenzuela will leave California next Wednesday to ride at Churchill Downs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before returning to ride at Santa Anita Sunday . . . Garrett Gomez will work Hollywood Juvenile Championship winner Majestic City for trainer Peter Miller on Santa Anita’s turf course Saturday in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Agent Tony Matos has Gomez booked in 12 of the 15 Breeders’ Cup races, but the 2007 Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s outstanding jockey will return to Santa Anita on closing day, Nov. 6, to ride City to City for Jerry Hollendorfer in the Grade II Las Palmas Stakes at one mile on turf . . . Bill Spawr plans to give Amazombie his final local workout at five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday before shipping Tuesday for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The trainer said the winner of the Grade I Ancient Title Stakes would be ridden by exercise rider Nacho Vasquez . . . Simon Callaghan will work Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Dubawi Heights four furlongs on the main track Saturday morning. “It will just be an easy half,” the trainer said. “She’ll ship on Monday (for the Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 4).” . . . Unbeaten Juvenile Fillies contender Weemissfrankie worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s main track Friday in :59.20 for Peter Eurton, while Champagne d’Oro (F&M Sprint) worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 for Eric Guillot . . . On Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Friday, Camp Victory (Turf Sprint) worked five furlongs in a bullet :58.80 for Mike Mitchell; Harmonious (F&M Turf) worked seven furlongs for John Shirreffs and Miss Match (Ladies’ Classic) also went seven furlongs for Neil Drysdale. Each was clocked in a bullet 1:26.80 . . . Gates open on the first Breeders’ Cup day, Friday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m., with post time for the first live race at Santa Anita at 12:50 p.m. The final live race is scheduled for 4:44 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 5, gates open at 8 a.m. with the first live race at 10:40 a.m. The last race is set for 4:55 p.m. On closing day, Sunday, Nov. 6, gates open at 10 a.m. First race post time is 12 noon . . . Leading jockey Joel Rosario took off his scheduled three mounts Friday. “He wasn’t feeling well and he’s got a big day Saturday and he wants to be 100 percent for that day,” explained his agent, Ron Ebanks . . . C. Bradford Eastland, author of “Where Gods Gamble,” will hold a book signing Saturday, Nov. 5, at Champions Gift Shop adjacent to the East Paddock Gardens from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon . . . Graham King, producer of the 2007 Academy Award-winning picture “The Departed,” will be a guest at Santa Anita on Sunday. “The Departed” won four Academy Awards that year, including for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay . . . ShowVivor is down to seven contestants after three were eliminated on Thursday . . . Brad Free of Daily Racing Form and Bob Mieszerski of Today’s Racing Digest will be Jack Disney’s guest handicappers at Sunday’s Fans Forum, 11:45 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.