Harris Farms’ homebred John Scott,
who appears to have a new lease on life at age 5, heads a competitive
eight-horse field in Saturday’s $175,000, 1 1/16 miles Lava Man California
Cup Classic, presented by City National Bank,
a race which headlines
Santa Anita’s 23rd annual Cal Cup Day for horses bred or foaled in
the Golden State.
“The Golden State Series, which was initiated
this year by the California racing industry, has helped bolster entries for
this year’s Cal Cup and it is responsible for significant increases in purses
for both of our 2-year-old stakes,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Racing
Rick Hammerle. “Both the Bob Benoit Juvenile and the Keith Card Juvenile
Fillies have had their purses bumped from $100,000 to $250,000 each. This
is great news for the Cal Cup and for our game here in California.”
the Classic enjoys top billing on Saturday’s 10-race program, the John Deere
California Cup Distaff will garner plenty of notice as well as it attracted
22 fillies and mares, resulting in the race being split, to be run as races six
and eight. The Distaff will be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down the Camino
Real Turf Course and with the split of the race, bettors will be offered a
total of six stakes on the afternoon.
by Carla Gaines, John Scott, a gelded son of Bertrando, comes off a game
win in the one mile Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del
Mar on Sept. 4, a race run on synthetic Polytrack.
beaten just 2 ¼ lengths by eventual Santa Anita Derby winner Lookin at Lucky in
Santa Anita’s Grade I Norfolk Stakes as a 2-year-old in Oct. 2009, John Scott
subsequently went to the sidelines and did not resurface until April 21, 2012
at Santa Anita.
that race, a 6 ½ furlong first condition allowance, he finished a close fourth
and went on to register consecutive allowance wins at Betfair
going seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles, on May 26 and June 28. He was
subsequently second, beaten a half-length, by the highly regarded Rail Trip in
the Grade II San Diego Handicap going 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar on July 28.
Cal Cup Classic will be the first time John Scott has faced statebreds since
winning the $100,000 I’m Smokin Stakes at Del
Mar in 2009.
Scott figures to press the Classic pace or make the early lead under his
regular pilot, Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for the Brubaker score
and who has partnered with “John” in four of his lifetime victories. John
Scott brings an impressive 8-5-1-0 mark and $301,304 in earnings to the Cal Cup
and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ homebred Rousing Sermon, 3-year-old colt by
Lucky Pulpit, has faced America’s
best 3-year-olds this year and will be taking on older competition for the
first time in the Classic.
recently fourth, beaten 5 ¼ lengths in the Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana
Downs on Sept. 8, Rousing Sermon has been busy on a national scale throughout
2012; running fourth behind I’ll Have Another in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis
Stakes on Feb. 4, fifth in the Grade II San Felipe on March 10, third in the
Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on April 1, eighth in
the Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 5, fourth in Hollywood Park’s Grade II Swaps
Stakes July 4, and second in the state bred Real Good Deal Stakes on Aug. 3 at
by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Rousing Sermon’s best races have
come when he is able to mount a late-charging rally from off the pace. A
first-out Cal Bred maiden special weight winner on June 5, 2011, his most
recent win came in the Bob Benoit Cal Cup Juvenile on Oct. 29. He has
banked $477,000 from a 13-2-3-4 record.
Primo, a 6-year-old gelded son of Atticus, was second, beaten a neck in
last year’s Classic and comes off a close fourth-place finish in a 1 1/16 miles
allowance race at Del Mar on Aug. 30.
best races have come on turf and Lucky Primo has two wins on synthetic surfaces
as a 2-year-old, including the 2008 Cal Cup Juvenile. Owned by JBK
Stables and Jason Litt, he has a forwardly-placed style that should ensure a
solid pace. He has $332,616 in earnings from a record of 15-5-3-3.
for $25,000 in July, 2011, the 7-year-old gelding Holladay Road has made
$183,432 this year alone. Trained by Julio Canani and owned by Gary
and Wendy Broad, Holladay
Road was third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by John Scott in Del
Mar’s Brubaker on Sept. 1. He has $355,252 in career earnings and an
The complete field for the Lava Man Cal Cup
Classic, presented by City National Bank, which will be run as the ninth on a
10-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Holladay
Road, Joe Talamo, 124; Got Even, Brice Blanc, 114; Rousing Sermon, Rafael
Bejarano, 114; Woodmans Luck, Garrett Gomez, 117; Lucky Primo, Tyler Baze, 117;
Thirtyfirst Street, Chantal Sutherland, 117, John Scott, Victor Espinoza, 124,
and Accelerant, Edwin Maldonado, 117.