CA Cup Sprint ($150.000 Purse)
SA- For Four Year Olds and Upward Foaled In CA
Six Furlongs on the Dirt
January 15, 2022
The starting gate will be full on Saturday as the 17th running of the CA Cup Sprint takes place. This is a six furlong event for those bred in The Golden State, and it has been run at SA every year except for a 2010 voyage to HOL. There were some very good past winners of this race, but the name that will stand out to most people the quickest was State Police in 2018, who finished in a dead heat with the late Inimical. Certainly, their careers went different ways after sharing the spoils here. Last year, seven year old gelding Glorious was the winner for Spankys Barn. He’s since been claimed, but remains active despite a recent drop off in form. We have some very impressive horse going to the gate for this one, proudly showing off the talent that exists amongst CA-breds. Here’s the field!
#1- Grand Assault (High Voltage, ridden by J Bravo)- There were not many that were excited about seeing Grand Assault in the auction last month, as High Voltage was able to pick him up for just $5.010. Off of that, he is entered here but is not a rooke to stakes racing and was third in the CA Cup Derby here last year. That’s his biggest claim to fame right now, and since then has been mainly running in allowance, and won one of them.
#2- Call Me Mac (Simmer Down Stable, ridden by U Rispoli)- A six year old gelding who spent much of his season last year running at the free track and picking up a bunch of wins. Eventually, the trainer gave him a chance again to run in pay races, and Call Me Mac responded well by finishing second in the Rumson at MTH in September. His last start saw him win the $75.000 CC Express at GP. Too bad he wasted away so much time running for free, as he is showing he should have been here a long time ago.
#3- Iron Return (Alydar Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Very consistent for his career, with 25 starts, 5 wins, 5 places, and 5 shows. There are no free track starts here, but there is a BC start back in 2020, as well as a Grade 1 win in December 2020, taking the Malibu. That is the last time that he has tasted victory, but he did have some solid results in 2021. It’s been six weeks since we last saw him out there, placing third in an optional claimer. Still very capable of running a big one.
#4- Heavy Refund (Chili King Stables, ridden by F Prat)- Picked up by the trainer in July, via a $30.000 claim in just his fifth race. Chili King liked what he saw, and he would immediately enter the gelding into stakes, and was rewarded with a second place run in the $175.000 Real Good Deal for CA-breeds right away! However, a dismal race at CD in September has led to him being shelved since then. Let’s see how he responds off of the layoff.
#5- Carnoustie (Smokey Stover, ridden by J Rosario)- This is a horse that knows how to win, with his latest victory bringing him to 13 wins in 24 starts. He was commonly seen in graded stakes during 2020, and would finish sixth in the BC Sprint that year, only missing by a length. After the Malibu that year, Carnoustie has not been seen in a graded stake again, and only once in an ungraded stake. The gelding still wins, though, and if he does so here maybe he will get a chance to get reacquainted with the graded ranks.
#6- Machine Gun Tommy (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E Maldonado)- This gelding has been inconsistent over his career, with some stretches seeming as though he rotates good and bad races. His last two starts have been positive, with an optional claiming win and then a second place effort in the $100.000 Gravesend Handicap against three others. You have to go back to the fall of 2019 for the last time he hit the board in three consecutive starts. A lot has happened in the world since then.
#7- Rise Above (Mwn Racing, ridden by J J Hernandez)- The last time we saw Rise Above out there, things did not go well at all for him and that was very unusual. Prior to that race, he had never been worse than fourth for his entire career. Therefore, we can probably see that as a throw out, but Rise Above is given a tough task to rise above here against strong company. To date, his signature win is the $100.000 Appreciation Mile, so this would top that.
#8- Daddys Operation (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by V Espinoza)- This four year old has been going back and forth between distances and surfaces as the trainer looks to improve on his 3-for-17 winning percentage. Four of his last five starts have been on the grass. He’s not the most consistent horse, and this makes him a tough one to get a handle on. Is he due to have one of his best career races? Because that is what it will take.
#9- Tugela Force (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- We last saw this gelding out on the track in July, a dismal performance in an open allowance at ELP. It would be the last time he would race for Allinthegate, who put him in the September auction. Maximilian picked him up then, but has not raced him until now. Tugela Force had been a consistent horse prior to that ELP race, and is a former stake winner. Can Max bring him back to his old form right away, or is he going to need this race first? Placement here seems to show confidence.
#10- Mr Frost (Fractious, ridden by J R Velazquez)- After breaking his maiden in May, Mr Frost got used to visiting the winners circle after race, rolling off four straight. That saw him jump into ungraded company, and culminated by winning the $275.000 Harrods Creek at CD in September. His last two starts have not been as good, not being a factor in either of them. After about six weeks of rest, Fractious hopes Mr Frost has not run cold and can get back to winning, or at least hitting the board.
#11- Roundhead (Riggins Racing, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- On the last day of May, Riggins Racing picked up this gelding in a $50.000 claiming race and he would get him a win right away in a starter allowance. A month later, he ran well again, finishing third in the Grade 1 Jerkens Memorial. He has not been able to carry that momentum at the graded ranks, but would win the $150.000 Perryville at KEE in October. This is his first race in two months, and he would love to put his last start behind him. Does not have to win here, but a good showing may mean a return to graded stakes in the near future.
#12- Stand In Line (Angelos Stable, ridden by D Van Dyke)- Finally, on the outside, this five year old gelding by Manhunt will be making the 24th start of his career and is looking for his eighth win. Picked up two wins last year, each coming in overnights and will be making his second stake start since running in, none other than this very race last year. In it, he ran eighth, so naturally there is room for a lot of improvement there.