So Cal Beats Loaded Field in Saratoga Debut

HorseRacingNation.com
August 12, 2014 02:56am

Trainer Steve Asmussen entered his unraced 2-year-old Flatter filly So Cal in the third race for maidens July 27. Given morning-line odds of 6-1, So Cal failed to draw into the field off the also-eligible list.


 

On Sunday, So Cal showed up in the seventh race for maiden fillies and was 10-1 on the morning line. The field, however, was loaded with expensive debut runners: $300,000 for a filly by Blame, $150,000 for a Street Sense, $250,000 for a Sky Mesa, $110,000 for a Warrior's Reward and $1.3 million for a Bernardini.

So Cal? She was a $17,000 sales purchase at Keeneland last September by owners Kirk and Judy Robison.


 

Let go from her rail post at odds of 28-1, So Cal dueled along the inside with Blame Dixie, inched away with a furlong to run and held on for a 1 ¼-length victory, getting the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.94.


 

She paid $59.50 for a $2 win bet.


 

"Isn't that weird?" said Asmussen on Monday morning, clearly delighted. "She paid $59 like it was some big secret. I think there were a lot of highly touted fillies in there. I think everybody kind of thought the same thing. You look back [at So Cal's work tab] and see a 59 2/5 [seconds] gate work. She can run, but there are other options [for bettors]. Then [us] drawing the fence; just little things that eliminate you."


 

Asmussen said if a horse breaks its maiden at Saratoga, it's likely a stakes horse because that's how difficult the competition is at the marquee meet.


 

"I remember last year Tapiture first time out runs second to Strong Mandate," he said. "Before I even run back, he wins a Grade 1. I mean, come on! We ran him in the [Grade 3] Iroquois at Churchill off [the race], and there's like a maiden in a stake. I said, 'He chased a Grade 1 winner in his only race; it isn't like it's going to get tougher!'"


 

Asmussen had nothing but praise for So Cal.


 

"We're very proud of it, you know what I mean?" he said. "She was a filly that started at my dad's place in Laredo, the one hole, a good group of fillies, big crowd, and she did everything right and won."


 


 

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