Combat Wombat and Mintmatch Look Toughest in Californian

The 18th Running of the G2 Californian

Saturday, April 30, 2022

SA Race #3 Post Time 19:10

$200.000 11/8 Dirt

4+ 123 Lbs (Plus Penalties)

Track Record-1:46.74 (Imane-2013)

Stakes Record-1:46.71 (Dark Crown-2007 @HOL)

Older horses take center stage at SA on Saturday with a pair of G2’s and the first one is for the boys.  The 9-furlong, G2 Californian, with its $200.000 purse, has drawn a half-dozen HRP veterans with none younger than 5yo.  Over half of the field are former stakes winners and three of these have tasted victory at the graded level within the last calendar year; however, all six will run carrying 123 pounds.  The six combatants make an interesting group so let’s meet the runners for the 2022 edition of the G2 Californian:

#1 Combat Wombat (Maxmillion Farm/A. Cedillo 123): 7yo is a MG1W and MG2W with seemingly plenty still in the tank.  Didn’t fire to start ’22 but had a nice bounce-back in TAM allowance in preparation for this.  Draws much better for this engagement than he did down at GP and expect a much-improved performance this time around.

#2 Blown Coverage (Angelos Stable/J.R. Velazquez 123): Little surprised by this entrant as he’s never routed over the main track, but 6yo is a proven graded-level sprinter on the lawn.  Nothing wrong with the way he’s prepped in the a.m. and have to think this is a good spot to see what you have with this guy.  He’s well-drawn and he has plenty of gas but going to have to see one before we can back him with anything more than a gut feeling.

#3 Wrangler (High Voltage/V. Espinoza 123): 5yo started ’22 with a dud but has won back-to-back starts since including a nice AQU stake.  Other than the seasonal bow, his form lines look really good.  Drawn well here and he is tactical enough to work out a trip.  Going to say he’s better than the LA effort, but looks like he’ll need to take another step up to best this group.

#4 Mintmatch (Nakamura Stables/Ru. Gonzalez 123): MGSW comes here off of a sharp victory in the TAM mud at the G3 level.  Maybe a tad inconsistent in his performances; however, when he is right, he’s very tough to defeat.  He’s shown versatility throughout his career so this mid starting gate post shouldn’t be too much of a hinderance.  Looks well spotted to keep the good times rolling.

#5 Lion Lake (Night Rider Stables/R. Chirinos 123): 5yo will get tested for class here, but he’s shown he’s capable to fire in ungraded spots for similar money.  Kind of all over the place with where he likes to run, so don’t get too disappointed if he doesn’t fire out of the gate.  Going to watch him in this one, but he could grab a share.

#6 Catch A Buzz (Threshold/E. Maldonado 123): Former Claiming Crown winner has been a consistent performer through his 31-race career.  Started his 7yo campaign with a 3rd in a similar spot before faring similarly in a HOU allowance.  Tough call on predicting how he will attack from the outside gate, but looks to be fine with taking back just a bit more on the main track.  Will need some breaks to beat them all, but a minor share seems to be his floor for this assignment.

Final Analysis: We’re going to be playing a cold 4-1 exacta but we’ll have a saver the other way as well.  Good luck to all of the participants in the G2 Californian!

Categories: Grade II, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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