Cario Prince vs Wicked Strong

January 24th, 2014

It might be cold in many regions across America but the racing (and wagering!) is red hot with many stakes being run on Saturday. The highlight of the weekend will be the Grade 2, $400,000, Holy Bull Stakes.  The mile and a sixteenth race for three year olds drew a very strong field of 11. The winner of the race will receive 10 points towards the Kentucky Derby point series

The morning line favorite is Cairo Prince.  The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee makes his first start since finishing second to Honor Code in the Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct in November.  The highly regarded son of Pioneerof the Nile has been working very well this spot.  He will be ridden again by Luis Saez.

Also making his first start since the Remsen is Wicked Strong.  The Jimmy Jerkens trainee was compromised by the slow pace in the Remsen but still finished strongly that day.  The usually conservative Jerkens would normally run in an allowance race, like race 4 at Gulfstream, for Wicked Strong's seasonal debut. But with horses needing points in order to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, Jerkens realizes he has to have the horse ready to go and earn points.  Eclipse award winning jockey Javier Castellano now picks up the mount on Wicked Strong.

An intriguing prospect in the race is Conquest Titan.  The Mark Casse trainee switch tactics last out and won impressively at Churchill Downs.  While he might be compromised in the Holy Bull because of the shortened stretch drive, this is a horse that has great potential leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

The Grade 2, $200,000, Forward Gal Stakes is headlined by the stakes debut of Onlyforyou.  Trying a route for the first time, the Todd Pletcher trainee should be able to handle the distance since she has shown good ability to come off the pace to win both career starts and is working very well for this spot.

At Santa Anita it is California Cup day. Five stakes races for California breds will be run.  Also on the card is the Grade 2 Santa Monica for older fillies and mares going seven furlongs.

The morning line favorite in the Santa Monica is last year's winner Teddy's Promise.  The Ron Ellis trainee is making the final start of her career in the Santa Monica. A victory in this race would make her racing's newest millionaire as she would add $120,000 to her career earnings of the $882,397. Her main competition should come from Heir Kitty, who won the Grade 1 La Brea last out and Scherzinger from the red hot Jerry Hollendorfer barn.

The $250,000 California Cup Derby features a horse that received a vote for top two year old last year, Tamarando.  Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the winner of the Real Quiet Stakes comes off a third place finish in the Grade 1 Cash Call to eventual Eclipse Award winner Shared Belief.  Tamarado's main competition should come from California Chrome, who finished two lengths behind him in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

The California Cup Turf Classic is a wide open event.  The morning line favorite is Summer Hit, who is making his first start since winning the Grade 3 Berkeley at Golden Gate on the Tapeta surface.  He is 3 for 6 lifetime on the turf and he comes into this race with a bullet work.

His main competition should be Jules Journey.  He ran fourth in open company allowance last out.  He finished third in this race last year when it was known as the Crystal Waters Stakes.  He will now be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens