With nine of the 11 entrants stretching out off of their most recent
races, Saturday’s $300,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes for
3-year-old fillies at one mile figures to be hotly contested early.
Isolating a favorite will be difficult and it appears any one of
four fillies could merit top billing: Steve Specht’s Marks Mine, Mike
Puype’s Home Journey, Jeff Bonde’s Unusual Way, or Jerry Hollendorfer’s
Doinghardtimeagain—and, top to bottom, a case could be made for any of
the 11 to possibly win.
Marks Mine comes off an impressive 4 ½-length allowance win
going six furlongs at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 6 and was an
eye-catching winner of the six furlong Golden Gate Debutante on Dec. 1.
With a 5-3-1-1 mark and $99,150 in earnings, she’ll be trying two turns
for the first time.
A Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams homebred daughter of Benchmark,
Marks Mine will be handled by Bay Area-based Abel Cedillo, who has
ridden her in all of her starts.
Home Journey earned a race-best 85 Beyer Speed figure in winning
a 6 ½ furlong allowance on Nov. 9, and was made the 3-5 favorite in the
restricted Soviet Problem Stakes on Dec. 9 on the strength of that win.
Although the daughter of Good Journey gave way and finished last in
the seven furlong affair, she should be well supported on Saturday as
she tries to rebound with regular rider Aaron Gryder.
Owned by GGG Stable or Sarno, Home Journey has earnings of $62,800 from a mark of 3-2-0-0.
A multiple stakes winning daughter of Unusual Heat, Unusual Way
comes off a second-place run to Doinghardtimeagain in the Soviet
Problem. Owned by Brown, Jr., or Lebherz, Unusual Way will stretch out
for the first time on Saturday and will again be ridden by Rafael
Bejarano. She has 6-3-1-0 record and $183,610 in earnings.
A gem of consistency, Doinghardtimeagain was second, beaten a
half-length in the 1 1/16 miles Cal Cup Juvenile on Oct. 13 and she has
two consecutive wins since, including the Soviet Problem score. A
daughter of Ministers Wild Cat, she is a Tommy Town Thoroughbreds
homebred. She has earnings of $198,500 from a mark of 4-2-2-0.