Rousing Sermon is back in with Cal-breds for the first time since cruising to an easy 2 1/4-length win in last year's Cal Cup Juvenile.
Tonight’s appropriately named $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for 3-year-olds illustrates the lucrative purse structure the Golden State Series has created in its inaugural year that has fueled Cal-bred stakes purses to the level of graded stakes.
Dipping back into Cal-bred company for the first time since winning the Cal Cup Juvenile last October, Rousing Sermon is the 2-to-1 favorite cutting back to a sprint for the first time since his last start over this main track that resulted in a third-place finish in the I’m Smokin last summer. The son of Lucky Pulpit has campaigned against the best of his class through five graded stakes tries this year, but the best result his late-running style has generated was a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (Grade II).Also back sprinting after five two-turn efforts and sprinting on the main track for the first time since debuting on Del Mar’s Polytrack last summer, Unusual Heatwave is the 5-to-2 second choice. The son of Unusual Heat has never finished worse than fourth through 11 starts while running on both turf and synthetic surfaces, with the highlight of his career coming when he closed from far back to capture the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes over 1 1/8-miles at Hollywood Park in April.