Cal Cup draws Enriched, Liberian Freighter, Cost of Freedom
ENRICHED (High Brite) will try to do something Saturday at Oak Tree at Hollywood Park his half-brother Lava Man was unable to accomplish. Specifically, win the $150,000 California Cup Classic.
The Classic, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles over the Cushion Track, is the richest of seven stakes races for California breds to be contested as part of the 21st annual California Cup. Post time is 1 p.m. (PDT), and there will be a California Cup T-shirt giveaway per paid admission while supplies last.
A three-time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), Lava Man was defeated in two Classic appearances. The gelding’s best finish was a second in 2004. Enriched has yet to pad his resume like his half-brother, but the five-year-old gelding has won seven of 22, including the Del Mar Mile H. (G2) two back on August 28. Fifth in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) on October 9 at Keeneland, the dark bay is seeking his second victory over Cushion Track. His only win in four starts at Hollywood came by 7 3/4 lengths against $80,000 maidens in the spring of 2009.
Among the rivals Enriched will face in the eight-horse Classic field is UNUSUAL SUSPECT (Unusual Heat), who will be looking for his first win in his 13th start of 2010. The six-year-old dark bay has lost 15 in a row since his 24-1 upset in last year’s Cougar II H. at Del Mar, and has so far this season placed in the San Luis Obispo H. (G2), San Juan Capistrano H. (G2), Sunset H. (G3), the upgraded Cougar II H. (G3) and Windy Sands H.
LIBERIAN FREIGHTER (Bertrando) and COLGAN’S CHIP (Cee’s Tizzy), who finished a nose apart when running 1-2 in the October 9 Oak Tree Mile (G2) last out, will square off once again in the $100,000 California Cup Mile. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Liberian Freighter was 22-1 when capturing the Oak Tree Mile, which followed yet another nose victory, this time in the Harry F. Brubaker S. The five-year-old gelding was third in this event in 2008. Colgan’s Chip has won four of 12 for conditioner Jenine Sahadi, including a head second in his stakes bow, the California Dreamin’ H. The five-year-old has gone 1-2-0 from three starts since Brice Blanc took over the reins, and that rider retains the mount on Saturday.
Bruce’s Dream, who is three-for-three in races restricted to California breds, has won five of seven overall for trainer Mike Puype. The four-year-old gelding was the scorer of the California Dreamin’ over Colgan’s Chip and most recently ran third in the Del Mar Mile behind Enriched.
Saturday’s opener is the $100,000 California Cup Sprint, which will feature Grade 1 hero COST OF FREEDOM (Cee’s Tizzy). Trainer John Sadler opted to send the lightly raced seven-year-old to this spot instead of going for another try in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), where the dark bay gelding ran third by just a head in 2009.
Cost of Freedom collected his biggest win in the 2009 Ancient Title S. (G1) at Santa Anita, and so far this season has added the Los Angeles S. (G3) to his record. Fourth by just 1 1/4 lengths in the Ancient Title last out, this will be his first start in a race restricted to state breds since he finished second in the 2008 Tiznow S. at Hollywood.
GOGGLES MCCOY (In Excess [Ire]), who has yet to lose in four races around one turn, cuts back in distance to six furlongs for this one. The three-year-old bay finished fourth as the 3-2 favorite in his first try past seven furlongs in the one-mile El Cajon S. on September 3 at Del Mar, which was the first loss of his five-race career.
Distaffers will have their turn in the spotlight on Saturday, with eight entered in the $100,000 California Cup Distaff and seven set for the $100,000 California Cup Matron.
LA NEZ (Storm Creek) will square off in the former event, run at six furlongs on Hollywood’s turf, against U R ALL THAT I AM (Valid Wager). The sophomore lass is no stranger to Cal Cup day, sandwiching a win in last year’s Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies between a third in the Darley Debutante S. (G1) and a sixth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. So far this campaign the dark bay filly has scored in the Fleet Treat S. and placed in both the Santa Paula S. (G3) and Melair S.
U R All That I Am is returning to the turf in this spot following a 2 1/2-length win over Fairplex’s main dirt track in the E. B. Johnston S. on September 11. She posted a 2 1/4-length score in the Fran’s Valentine S. over this course in late May and was also third in the grassy Royal Heroine Mile S. (G2).
CAMILLE C (Roman Dancer) actually won the Melair in April prior to a third in the Hollywood Oaks (G2), but the Marcelo Polanco trainee hasn’t been seen in competition since finishing a subpar seventh in the Fleet Treat S. on July 31. She’ll return in the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup Matron on the Cushion Track against the likes of defending champion LADY RAILRIDER (Ride the Rails) and Grade 3-placed dual stakes victress ULTRA BLEND (Richly Blended).
The two remaining stakes are for two-year-olds. Eight fillies are entered in the $75,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies while nine will go in the $75,000 California Cup Juvenile. Both will be run at 1 1/16 miles over the Cushion Track.
Conditioner Bob Baffert, who won the inaugural Juvenile Fillies in 1990 with Theresa’s Pleasure, will send out recent maiden claiming winner QUEENIE MARINI (Marino Marini) against the likes of SWISS WILD CAT (Ministers Wild Cat), who won the C.T.B.A. S. on July 23 at Del Mar.
Trainer Doug O’Neill, who won the 2009 Juvenile with this year’s Pomona Derby hero Bench the Judge (Benchmark), will seek another victory with JAILBIRD JIMMY (Momentum). However, the bay colt will have to withstand Graduation S. runner-up JOY BOY (Tribal Rule), as well as others, if he hopes to provide his trainer with back-to-back victories in the Juvenile.