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Can Woodmans Luck Upset Cal Cup Classic?

If at first you don’t succeed, the adage goes, try, try again. Mike Puype adheres to that maxim but hopes to expunge it from his mindset Saturday when Woodmans Luck runs in the $175,000 Lava Man California Cup presented by City National Bank at Santa Anita.

The 4-year-old Lucky Pulpit colt has finished second in his last five starts and eight times in 20 career races, with three thirds. He has only a maiden win.

“He’s honest and he tries hard every time,” said the 46-year-old Puype, who trains Woodmans Luck for owner/breeder Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams of Boise, Idaho. “We’ll see if he’s as good on dirt as he is on synthetic.”

Woodmans Luck’s last 11 races have come on either Del Mar’s Polytrack, Betfair Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track, or on turf. He has had only two races on conventional dirt, finishing fourth each time in seven furlong tests at Santa Anita.

The chestnut does shed seven pounds from his last race for the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup Classic, carrying 117 instead of the 124 he toted when beaten a head at Del Mar on Sept. 3. In fact, Woodmans Luck has carried 124 in his last three starts.

Despite his aversion to the winner’s circle, Woodmans Luck has earned $174,736. He is a generous 20-1 in the morning line odds.

Two races back when he finished second by a head at Del Mar on Aug. 11, Woodmans Luck tried to bite the winner, Romo Roy, during the stretch run. One might say he’s doing his utmost to taste victory. Doug O’Neill confirmed that 11-year-old Lava Man, a stable pony at the trainer’s Hollywood Park barn since his retirement in 2009, would lead the post parade for the Classic.

The field for the Classic, race nine of 10: Holladay Road, Joe Talamo, 5-2; Got Even, Brice Blanc, 15-1; Rousing Sermon, Rafael Bejarano, 3-1; Woodmans Luck, Garrett Gomez, 20-1; Lucky Primo, Tyler Baze, 5-1; Thirtyfirststreet, Chantal Sutherland, 8-1; John Scott, Victor Espinoza, 9-5; and Accelerant, Edwin Maldonado, 20-1.



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Bets on Lucky Primo and Got Even longshot.

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