Summer Hit Draws Rail in Cal Cup Turf

Summer Hit Draws Rail in Cal Cup Turf
Photo: Benoit Photo

Multiple stakes winning Summer Hit, fresh off a front-running six length score in the Grade III Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields Nov. 29, looms strictly the horse to beat in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Turf Classic, which attracted a field of 14 older horses at 1 1/8 miles on grass.

An important component to the Golden State Series for horses bred or sired in California, the Turf Classic 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 5-year-old gelding by Bertrando, Summer Hit has three wins, a second and a third from six starts on turf.  A dedicated speedster, Summer Hit has been a marvelous claim for trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, who took him out of a nine-length first-out maiden $12,500 score on Jan. 21, 2012.

In addition to the Berkeley, in which he earned a 103 Beyer Speed figure, Summer Hit took the one mile Harry F. Brubaker Stakes three starts back Aug. 31, and he was a gate to wire winner of the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles All American Stakes on May 27, 2013.

Owned in partnership with Hollendorfer by John Carver, Summer Hit is 15-9-2-2 overall, with earnings of $417,505.

Lucky Primo, whose last win came seven starts back in the Cal Cup Classic when run at 1 1/16 miles on dirt Oct. 13, 2012, has plenty of back class and is expected to show good early speed for trainer and co-breeder Josh Litt.

An 8-year-old Atticus gelding, Lucky Primo has three wins, a second and two thirds from 11 tries on turf.  Owned by JBK Stable and Jason Litt, Lucky Primo has earnings of $486,650 from an overall mark of 22-6-3-5.

Although well beaten in the Grade II, one mile turf Sir Beaufort Stakes Dec. 26, Tiz a Minister is another with ample back class, and his running style could make him dangerous if a hot early pace develops in the Classic.

A 4-year-old colt by Ministers Wild Cat, Tiz a Minister won the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Affirmed Handicap from far off the pace six starts back on June 2 and he came from the clouds to run a close third in the Grade II, San Felipe Stakes at the same distance on March 9.

Trained by Paul Aguirre and owned by Sayjay Racing, LLC, Tiz a Minister will be ridden for the first time in the Classic by Saul Arias.  Although winless, he has two seconds and a third from four tries on turf.  He has an overall mark of 18-3-5-5, with earnings of $481,030.

Trainer John Sadler will send out the hard hitting Stoney Fleece, who was an impressive neck winner of a $50,000 claiming race at 1 1/8 miles on grass in his most recent start Jan. 3.  Reclaimed by Sadler two starts back on Dec. 6 for $40,000, Stoney Fleece won the Grade III Generous stakes at age two on Nov. 27, 2011 and took the minor Alcatraz Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf May 12, 2012 at Golden Gate Fields.

A 5-year-old gelding by Decarchy, Stoney Fleece is owned by Gary Barber and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.  He has an outstanding turf record of 19-5-4-4 and is 26-7-5-5 overall, with earnings of $442,134.

The complete field for the Cal Cup Turf Classic, to be run as the ninth on a 10-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order:  Summer Hit, Rafael Bejarano, 123; Affrettando, Orlando Mojica, 120; Lucky Primo, Martin Garcia, 120; Empty Headed, Alonso Quinonez, 120; Huntsville, Mike Smith, 120; Weewinnin, Joe Talamo, 120; Jules Journey, Gary Stevens, 120; Tiz a Minister, Saul Arias, 123; China Prince, Corey Nakatani, 120; Unusual Meeting, Frank Alvarado, 120; Stoney Fleece, Victor Espinoza, 120; Hittheroadrunning, Tyler Baze, 120; Jonny’s Choice, Patrick Valenzuela, 120, and Maybe Tuesday, Kent Desormeaux, 120.

Top Stories

Even though the Triple Crown has been less than co...
Can Rich Strike win his second classic? Does Nest...
Breeders’ Cup announced the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Cha...
Even with favored Epicenter having to settle for s...
Delaware Park begins its 88-day meet on Wednesday...
x