Photo: Benoit Photos
A winner of the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4, and most recently third in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles CashCall Futurity Dec. 14, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ homebred Tamarando
merits top billing in a field of 11 sophomores in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles.
An important component to the Golden State Series for horses bred or sired in California, the Cal Cup Derby is part of a newly created Sunshine Millions Cal Cup Day at Santa Anita that will offer fans six stakes and 10 races overall.
A 3-year-old colt by Bertrando, Tamarando is a deep closer who rallied from dead last to win the open Real Quiet Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 23. He tried to employ similar tactics in the CashCall Futurity, but could never threaten stable mate and top Derby prospect Shared Belief when beaten seven lengths.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Tamarando zipped a half mile in 47.40 at Santa Anita on Jan. 21 and will again be handled by Rafael Bejarano, who has ridden him in his last two starts.
With three wins, a second and three thirds, Tamarando’s earnings of $455,120 easily dwarf those of any of his fellow Derby competitors.
Hollendorfer will also saddle the 3-year-old gelding Life Is a Joy
, who was second at 9-2 to the highly regarded California Chrome in the seven furlong King Glorious Stakes Dec. 22. Owned and bred by Hollendorfer and his wife, Janet, along with George Todaro, Life Is a Joy is winless in his last three starts, after winning his first three.
Idle since the King Glorious, Life Is a Joy worked six furlongs in 1:13 flat at Santa Anita on Jan. 18.
Second in the Derby money chase is the Art Sherman-trained California Chrome
, who has banked $214,850 and comes off a career-best performance in the state bred King Glorious Stakes.
A winner of the 5 ½ furlong Graduation Stakes versus Cal breds four starts back on July 31, California Chrome had a troubled trip when finishing sixth, beaten just two lengths, by Tamarando in the Del Mar Futurity.
In his only two-turn try, the Lucky Pulpit colt was sixth, beaten three lengths, in the one mile Golden State Juvenile Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. Owned and bred by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome has three wins and a second from seven starts.
Well backed at 5-2 in the King Glorious, trainer Leonard Powell’s Aotearoa
broke a bit awkwardly and was never a factor, finishing a well beaten sixth. An upset winner of the one mile turf Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita four starts back Oct. 6, the Good Journey gelding gave a good account of himself two starts back, finishing a close second in the Grade III, one mile turf Generous Stakes Nov. 30.
Although the Cal Cup Derby will be his first start on natural dirt, the Paul Viskovich homebred gets the services of Gary Stevens and would have to be considered “armed and dangerous.” Aotearoa has two wins and a second from six starts.
Although still a maiden, Reddam Racing, LLC’s Electric Eddie
rates an upset chance. Trained by Ben Cecil, the Square Eddie colt was disqualified out of a Cal Bred maiden special weight win going a mile at Santa Anita Jan. 2 and was second, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, by Tamarando three starts back in the 1 1/16 miles Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 23.
Attentive to the early pace in the CashCall Futurity next out, Electric Eddie finished fifth, beaten 10 lengths in a field of 12. He has three seconds from seven starts.
Placed first via disqualification in the afore mentioned maiden mile at Santa Anita Jan. 2, Bob Baffert’s Oh Billy Billy
will again be handled by Martin Garcia. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., the Unusual Heat colt drew the rail and should show plenty of early lick in his third career try.
Upstart Lucky Views
was a first-out maiden winner going six furlongs versus Cal breds Nov. 17, and came to make the early running in the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes Dec. 28, finishing a big third, beaten a length.
A gelding by Lucky Pulpit, Lucky Views is trained by Mike Machowsky and owned by Richard Barton. He worked five furlongs in 1:00 flat on Jan. 20 and will be ridden for the first time by Kent Desormeaux.
Trained by John Sadler, consistent Public Policy
, who broke his maiden as the 8-5 favorite going six furlongs Jan. 5, will make his fifth start in the Derby. Owned and bred by Herman Sarkowsky and Martin Wygod, the Dixie Chatter colt has a win, a second and two thirds to his credit.
The complete field for the Cal Cup Derby, to be run as the final race on a 10-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Oh Billy Billy, Martin Garcia, 117; Life Is a Joy, Corey Nakatani, 119; Public Policy, Mike Smith, 117; Tamarando, Rafael Bejarano, 124; Lucky Views, Kent Desormeaux, 117; Aotearoa, Gary Stevens, 122; California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, 124; Awesome Return, Joe Talamo, 117; Lawly’s Goal, Tyler Baze, 117; Electric Eddie, Mario Gutierrez, 117, and Better Bet, Martin Pedroza, 122.