Cal Cup Program Gets a Few Tweaks


ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2018) — The California Cup program for statebreds here on Saturday has added a $100,000 race for 3-year-old turf sprinters, but two races for 3-year-olds held last year on this day will be run in February instead.

The $100,000 California Cup Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course is a new race and one of four stakes at Santa Anita Saturday.

Two $200,000 stakes previously run on the California Cup program will be run Feb. 19 – the California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles and the California Cup Oaks at a mile on turf.

“We moved the 3-year-old stakes down the road, figuring we’d get a horse or two extra,” said Santa Anita racing secretary and vice president Rick Hammerle.

That left a void on the Cal Cup program partially filled by the Turf Sprint, which drew 18 nominations and is likely to have a field of eight to 10 runners. Officials with Santa Anita and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association agreed to run the Turf Sprint on Saturday, Hammerle said.

“There were inquiries about adding more opportunities on turf for younger Cal-breds,” Hammerle said. “We wanted to add a stakes that day to keep the number of stakes up. It’s a new opportunity.”

The two-time stakes winner Bookies Luck is scheduled to have his turf debut in the Turf Sprint. The maiden winners Heck Yeah and Raven Creek will attract support.

The other stakes on Saturday are the $150,000 California Cup Sprint at six furlongs; the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint on the hillside turf course; and the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The Cal Cup Sprint at six furlongs is expected to be led by Edwards Going Left, who was second in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26, and the multiple stakes winner Masochistic, who has not raced since May.

Richard’s Boy, second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November, and Solid Wager are candidates, trainer Peter Miller said Sunday.

Barbara Beatrice, the winner of the California Distaff Handicap in October, is the expected favorite for the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint.

The day’s richest race is the Unusual Heat Turf Classic. Pee Wee Reese, winner of the Grade 3 American Stakes here last July and the Joe Hernandez Stakes on the hillside turf course on Jan. 1, leads the list of candidates.

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