Californian Stakes – Grade II
SA Race #8 1 1/8m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $200.000 For Three Year Olds And Upward.
1 Jolly Be Native John Henry Desormeaux K J 124
This one looked a real KYD prospect last year, finishing a very close third in the BC Juvenile and then winning the Rebel but lost his way after that and has been subject to plenty of experimentation to try and rekindle his earlier brilliance. He went back to dirt sprinting for a while and then tried turf routing before turf sprinting most recently all with only minimal success. He returns today to the surface and distance that made his name, so it will be interesting to see how he fares.
2 In Captivity Mb Stables Bejarano R 124
The winner of the grade one Cigar Handicap at the end of last year, he has been gently brought into this season with just the one run so far. Running home strongly over an inadequate trip, he finished fourth in the GP Sprint Championship, and with a 1.36 and 1 work over the dirt mile, he looks a pretty hot prospect to get back to winning ways today.
3 Tekkers Maxmillion Farm Maldonado E 124
This is a real nice sort which has really started looking like a top prospect after being bought for $390.000 at the beginning of this season. After an easy win in the Skipaway and then an open allowance, he found the trip a bit sharp in both the Triple Bend and the Carter Handicap, but returns today to a trip that really suits him. He may pose the biggest threat to In Captivity.
4 Range Of The Sun Team 7 Illusions Garcia Mar 124
The winner of last year’s Marathon at the BC meet, he has been switched around a bit and that has made his form look a bit inconsistent. 5 of his 6 wins have come on the dirt and three of those have been in graded stakes, so I am pretty sure he meets his ideal conditions today. If he can find his three year old form, he will go very close to winning.
5 Face Your Fear Luz International Van Dyke D 124
A nice sort who was very consistent until a poor effort in the Skipaway blotted his copybook. Before that he won the Native Diver Stakes and as that was 2 months before his poor effort last time out, it may just have been that he needed the run. The outside gate wont help him, and this is a tough field.
A very good race for a 5 runner field. The obvious choice is In Captivity, but we have three interesting prospects, all of whom have been swapping and changing trips and surface, so may be better than their form figures suggest. I expect Tekkers and Range Of The Sun to chase home my selection, although one slip in tactics may hand one of them the win.