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HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Scherzinger Stars on Cal Cup Day, Wins Santa Monica

 

This week wasn't particularly pleasant for Jerry Hollendorfer, whose Shared Belief has yet to return to the worktab after dealing with an abscess. However, the dark cloud's silver lining showed itself Saturday afternoon, when Scherzinger sprung a mild upset in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita.



After breaking sharply under jockey Mike Smith, the daughter of Tiz Wonderful was taken back down the backstretch behind recent stakes winners Teddy's Promise and Heir Kitty. When the field turned for home, Scherzinger had a spot on the rail and plenty of gas left in the tank. She re-rallied, poking her head in front in midstretch and kicking clear late to stop the timer in 1:22 flat for the seven-furlong distance.



Iotapa rallied for second in her first start since July, while Teddy's Promise settled for third. The latter was making her final career start before beginning her second career as a broodmare. The Ron Ellis trainee retires with 11 wins in 29 lifetime starts and earnings of more than $906,000, and she will be bred to star stallion Smart Strike.



Heir Kitty, Winding Way, and Lexington Pearl completed the order of finish in the Santa Monica, which doubled as a prelude to 2014's California Cup Day. Here are some other notes from Saturday's festivities in Arcadia.

 

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The $250,000 Cal Cup Derby carried no Kentucky Derby points, but it may have served as a launching pad for California Chrome. Last seen capturing the King Glorious Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, the son of Lucky Pulpit romped in Saturday's finale. He hit the wire more than five lengths in front of 9/5 favorite Tamarando, himself a Grade 1 winner and a possible Kentucky Derby hopeful.  

 

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Saturday served as a “welcome back” party for jockey Kent Desormeaux. His return to Southern California was a triumphant one, as he piloted two consecutive Cal Cup winners. A half-hour after Ciao Bella Luna captured the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, the three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey rode 65-1 longshot Susans Express to victory in the Cal Cup Oaks.  

 

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As a direct result of Susans Express's stunning upset, and also 21-1 shot Weewinnin's jaunt in the Cal Cup Turf Classic, Santa Anita produced its second two-day Pick Six carryover this week. Less than 48 hours after a pool of more than $3.2 million was up for grabs, that same pool will have $430,000 in it before a single bet is placed Sunday afternoon. While Sunday's card doesn't have quite as many full fields, there are plenty of tricky races, including the sixth, a turf sprint down the hill featuring eight first-time starters and only one horse with experience at one of the most peculiar routes in horse racing.

 

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Older Comments about Scherzinger Stars on Cal Cup Day, Wins Santa Monica...

yes but how do you know when he is 100% hung over or sleepy?
Kent D. is a talented rider when he is going well. Is he in S. Cal. to stay?
I don't care that it was against Cal-breds, California Chrome is a running fool.
Oh, grade 2? Nice win anyway!
Nice! Guess she shouldn't have been a surprise. Congrats on the grade 1 win!

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Meet Andrew Champagne

 

A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.


Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.