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Jockey Kent Desormeaux and Mischief Clem return after winning the 2015 California Cup Derby
Santa Anita hosted five stakes races on Saturday restricted to California-foaled or sired horses. Conditions were excellent at the historic Arcadia oval with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80's for the 10,461 in attendance. The highlight event was the $250,000 California Cup Derby for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, a race which kicked off California Chrome's
Mischief Clem (inside) and Pulmarack battle down the stretch in the California Cup Derby
Jockey Elvis Trujillo sent Acceptance to the front first time by and he set fractions of 23.77, 48.00, and 1:12.72 while pressed by 12-1 Mischief Clem to his outside and Tough Sunday to his inside. Entering the lane, Acceptance tired as Pulmarack came out 3 wide to gain the lead through 1 mile in 1:38.11. Mischief Clem rallied along the rail to get up by a head in 1:44.82 over the fast track. It was a long 5 3/4 lengths more to 13-1 Kluszewski third, and 6 1/2 more to favorite Acceptance fourth.
# Horse Jockey Win Place Show 3 Mischief Clem Desormeaux 25.60 9.60 13.40 7 Pulmarack Van Dyke 7.40 10.80 5 Kluszewski Bejarano 14.80 Winning Time: 1:44.82 $1 Exacta (3-7) paid 77.20 $1 Trifecta (3-7-5) paid 441.10 $1 Superfecta (3-7-5-2) paid 733.20
Left: Mischief Clem in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bob Hess Jr. said, "The horse has a ton of heart. I questioned his ability to go this far. I think he came through today, and I think more than anything, this is his home track. He loves it here. We were able to train him here, school him here; I didn't do that last time, and it showed today. (Tough Sunday) kind of got in trouble out of the gate and that kind of changed the complexion of the race. I thought the one would go to the front, the two would lay second, I thought we'd be third. When the one broke slowly and got blocked, then it became more of a jockeys' race. If we think open company (for next start), it would be (the Spiral Stakes at Turfway)."
Right: Mischief Clem in the paddock. Jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "This was all Bob (Hess). We were pretty disappointed in his last effort; we've always been real high on him. Bob has been entering him in these head-hunting spots because we thought he was 'all that.' Every race we always seemed to have a quirk. The races just didn't go well, none of them did. He'd either miss a start, hop a start, get stuck inside or last time, he was just too aggressive. In a nutshell, today he was finally able to put everything together and I was able to ride him off my finger tips and he was just the consummate professional and he a got a picture taken."
Left: Second place finisher Pulmarack in the post parade. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke said, "He never switched to his right lead and I think that cost him. I think that was about it. I would rather have been where Kluszewski was (in front of us) but I was behind them so I had to go a little wide the whole way. I think his staying on the left lead mattered and he did hang a little with that other horse. I made a small move turning for home, then I held him again and I tried to let him run again but he just never responded. He did this at Los Al, too, in the King Glorious. I just think he's still a little green. If he switches leads, he would win the race."
Right: Third place finisher Kluszewski in the paddock before the race. The 13-1 shot settled in 4th 2 1/2 lengths off the pace under Rafael Bejarano then passed tiring horses to get third beaten 5 3/4 lengths. The Phil D'Amato trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 2 thirds in 6 starts, earning $85,600 for owner-breeder Nick Alexander.
Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Acceptance in the post parade. Kenny Black, assistant to trainer Donald Warren said, "He's been training all right, but for whatever reason, we'll probably find out tomorrow when we get back, hopefully he's fine. He just hung it up for some reason. I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow. Right now I'm a little bit mystified, because he had everything his own way. He got a little hot going to the gate today, so that's a little concerning. He was working good and doing everything right; he just didn't have it today, I guess."
Left: Alert Bay in the winner's circle. Trainer Blaine Wright said, "We scooted out of a tough one there today. We could have come down. Tyler thought he had room. He said he knew it was tight, but he thought (Bejarano aboard G.G. Ryder) was out of horse, and he thought we would stay up. Myself, I sweat these things out a little bit. We're riding a five-race win streak. He's taken me places. I thought my barn was kind of coming up, and (owner) Mr. Redekop has put some good horses in my hands, and this horse has taken me to a level where you certainly want to be. I'm very proud to be a part of it."
Right: Alert Bay heads back to the barn. Jockey Tyler Baze said, "Going into the far turn I had some trouble. Bejarano (on G. G. Ryder) didn't go into the turn real smooth and came out and bumped me and I was also getting pressure from the horses to our outside. Corey Nakatani (on Tamarando) was pressuring me because he was being pressured and that put me in a bad spot. I got bumped around a little bit but this horse is super precious. He's an unbelievable horse to ride and he's a got a will to win."
Left: Second place finisher Boozer in the paddock before the race. Trainer Mark Glatt said, "I thought Gary (Stevens) rode a great race. The key to having him go 1 1/8 miles was getting him to relax. I thought he relaxed really well, he got a great trip and kicked home but the other horse was a head better today."
Right: Third place finisher Patriots Rule in the post parade. The 12-1 shot sat 9th early under Fernando Perez, then rallied through the stretch to get third beaten just a neck. The Robertino Diodoro trainee improved his record to 4 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds in 14 starts, earning $271,920 for owner Charles Garvey.
Winning jockey Gary Stevens said, "A great trip. Eddie's done a great job with this filly, and I got on her at the right time. I learned a lot about her. I asked him last time if I could just sit on her and be quiet with her. It worked out well – she exploded with me the last 1/8, and I rode her the same way today even though we were shortening up and there was so much speed. The key with a filly like this is they're professional – let them settle and they're going to finish for you." Trainer Eddie Truman added, "This race wasn't really our choice. We think she's better going long but we wanted a Cal-bred race. Her last race was in open company and this really was our only option for Cal-breds. Gary said he would ride her the same, just sit on her, dead last and, before she has run down the hill and been on the lead, so really, she'll do anything. She is just so sweet. She's maturing and getting so much smarter and kinder."
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday, a field of 8 three-year-old fillies went to post for the $200,000 XpressBet California Cup Oaks at 1 mile on the turf. 52-1 longest shot Swiss Skimmer battled for the lead with 45-1 Tribal Express through fractions of 22.57, 46.52, and 1:11.37. Entering the lane, 8-1 Singing Kitty, 5th early, closed on the outside to gain the lead through 7/8 in 1:23.47, and held off late-running 9-5 favorite Heat the Rocks by 1 length in 1:35.70. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 2-1 second choice Light One third.
Winning trainer Matt Chew said, "We threw her into the Blue Norther to see how she would handle the turf and the distance and we felt like off that race, into today would be a drop in class. We thought it was a strong race and she gave a good showing. She has adapted to the turf well. I've breezed her over it and she seems to love it." Jockey Aaron Gryder added, "She worked really well the other day on the grass, and the whole key was getting her to settle.I was just waiting for a little bit of a seam – I got it turning for home, and she really leveled out. They did a great job getting her to settle down and stretch out. She had a great trip. I figured (Heat the Rocks) would show a little more speed, but I knew she didn't engage somebody on the backside. I was able to follow some live horses and find a seam."
Winning trainer Paul Aguirre said, "He's a big horse and whenever he draws outside and he gets near the lead, he's going to be tough. They may run him down but it's not going to be because he quits. He'll give every ounce he has right to the wire." Jockey Iggy Puglisi added, "The break helped us out a ton. He was in (the gate) a really short period of time and he really caught a flyer from there. I couldn't give that up. There were too many fast horses in there, so when I could scoot my way over to San Onofre, I figured I'd at least have a shot at it. I could feel (San Onofre) really starting to battle back but my horse ran really good. He's been lights out, a really hard-knocking horse."
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