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California Cup Oaks 2016: Eight Fillies Line Up On The Lawn

California Cup Oaks 2016: Eight Fillies Line Up On The Lawn– Santa Anita Racecourse is set to kick off one of the top days of their Winter Meet with the Sunshine Millions California Cup Day, which will be held this Saturday, January 30th, 2016 in Arcadia California. This card highlights the California-sired/bred runners as well as the breeding industry in So-Cal.

Roo's Valentine

With the only turf attempt under her belt, Roo’s Valentine heads a field of eight in Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Oaks for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the turf.
Owned and Bred in California by Kretz Racing, LLC, Roo’s Valentine has never been out of the money in five lifetime starts. Photo: Benoit

I’ll be taking a crack at the Xpressbet California Cup Oaks which is run on the grass at one mile with a purse of $200,000 and is for 3 year-olds fillies. It is one of five stakes races on the card including the California Cup Derby, California Cup Turf Classic, California Cup Sprint and the Sunshine Millions Sprint which represents a great day of racing for our top California Bred horses.

To go along with this great set of races, Santa Anita will also be having a Sunshine Millions Wine Festival with a plethora of wine & food samplings to accompany your full day of fun. For just $40 for General admission, ($50 value) you get Club House seats, a daily racing program, tip sheet, acrylic wine glass, 12- 2 oz. samplings, plus some tasty food to go along with your beverage. For a VIP $80 admission ($120 value), you get the same as the General admission plus: 2 oz samplings from each winery participating, fast track pass, food truck voucher ($10 value) and a wine festival t-shirt. So come on out for some fun in the sun.

The Xpressbet California Cup Oaks is the 4th race of the day on a card of 10 with a start time of 1:30 pm PST. It is followed by four more stakes races with Race #5 the Kitten’s Joy Stakes, #6 the Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint, #7 the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint and Race #9 California Cup Turf Classic.

Last year this race was won by Mathew Chew & the game daughter of Ministers Wild Cat, Singing Kitty, who broke from post position #2, stalked and pounced to win the race by a length. She has recently come off a 3 month layoff finishing 9th in the GII Montrovia Stakes January 3rd here on this track. She looks to start 2nd of the layoff in Race #7 Saturday, the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint Stakes as the #8 in the race. Best of luck to her and her connections.

We have eight 3 year-old fillies lined up, most whom have already raced each other a few times, with only Roo’s Valentine & Cheekaboo, having raced on the lawn before. I’ll just write a quick thought on each and run from there.

Trainer Peter Eurton is giving the nod to Plavian Prat to climb on Pacific Heat out of sire Unusual Heat, who throws some nice lawn runners. (Also helps she is out of the Stormy Atlantic mare, Hotlantic). Last out in the G1 Starlet Stakes she faded in the stretch to finish up 8th going 1 1/16 mile .She has two prior wins at 5 ½ & 7f on the dirt winning them by a combined 18 ¾ lengths and sports a 3:2:0:0 track record on the dirt. She’ll be cutting back in distance, dropping in class & trying the grass from post #7. She looks to be the toughest of the field and very game.

Roo’s Valentine is the lone winner on the turf at a mile. The daughter of Vronsky and the Cindago mare Black Valentine, she steps in with a race record of 5:2:1:2. She seemed to find her footing on the turf winning that maiden route on the grass November 5th at Del Mar by 1 ¼ lengths. She followed that up with a win going a mile on the dirt in the Soviet Problem Stake at Los Alamitos in December. She’s is a front-runner who won both gate-to-wire so watch out from post #5.

The one I have my eye on is the lightly raced Run Like the Boss for trainer Peter Miller. This gray daughter of Scat Daddy comes in off a two month layoff after finishing 3rd to Patriotic Diamond on November 26th at Del Mar by 5 ¼ lengths. Prior she won first time out at Santa Anita on May 15, 2015 at 4 ½ F as the favorite, by a neck. She will also be trying the lawn for the first time and routing. I typically like the Scat Daddy runners on the grass. She will have to bring her A+ game here to win against this field. It doesn’t hurt that Smokin Joe Talamo has ridden her both times and retains the mount.

Just Google Me drew the rail and is now running for trainer Ron Ellis. Last out she was beaten by Roo’s Valentine in the Soviet Problem Stakes by a ½ length. She has a nice race record of 6:2:2:1 and retains Maldanado in the irons. This will be her first start on the lawn and is running with no Lasix.

Leaving post #2 is Patriotic Diamond, trained by Patrick Biancone, out of the sire Hat Trick, who also throws down some nice progeny on the lawn. She is looking to rebound off a sixth place effort in the G1 Starlet and gets Bejarano back up, her regular rider. She enters with a 5:2:1:1 race record, is trying grass for the first time, is dropping in class from her last race and cutting back in distance. Game on.

The daughter of Comic Strip (Nice sire for the lawn too), Hurricaine Callie comes in for trainer Peter Miller after breaking her maiden in her 8th attempt on the dirt at 6f. This will be her first try on the grass and first time routing. Red-hot rider Santiago Gonzalez stays-up from post #3. Last out she was third in the Soviet Problem losing by 10 lengths. * Interesting that the meets leading rider Gonzalez stays up here & is off #4 Run for Retts. Food for thought.

The daughter of Ministers Wild Cat Run for Retts comes in off a 3rd place finish in the Soviet Problem for trainer Steven Miyadi and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds. She broke her maiden at first asking August 15, 2015 on the dirt at 5 ½ f over Patriotic Diamond. She will be trying grass for the first time and exits post #5 with a rider change to Tyler Baze.

Last but not least we have the other daughter of Unusual Heat Cheekaboo, the other entrant for trainer Peter Eurton. She has a race record of 3:1:2 and is coming off a 4 ½ length win routing a mile on the dirt in a 56K maiden race. Prior she was second twice on the grass. Most recently, November 5th in the maiden special weight, in which Roo’s Valentine won at the mile distance. She’ll be going 2nd routing on the turf to a win routing on the dirt and back to routing on the turf. I kind of like that combination. Mario Gutierrez rides again from post #8.

I won’t be playing any early horizontal wagers, most likely just the late pick4 which I will post my play the day of the race. If you are super confident in the #7 Pacific Heat, she may be a great single for the early pick 5 or pick 4. If not, I would try using all as I think this could be a game race. I’ll be playing a little win/place on the #6 Run Like the Boss if she stays at 12-1 or higher. With a daughter of Scat Daddy trying the grass for the first time from a nice post, in a small field, with decent odds, I have to take a stab.

Best of luck to everyone Saturday and enjoy the sunshine if you head out to Santa Anita this weekend. If you need some betting tips hit up the Racing Ambassadors at Santa Anita with either Bailey or Ruben. They are both great handicappers and very knowledgeable about the facilities.

Follow Kari on twitter. 

California Cup Oaks 2016 Post Positions & Odds
Race 4 1:30 PM PT
1 Just Google Me 6-1 E.Maldonado/R.Ellis
2 Patriotic Diamond 7/2R.Bejarano/P.Bianconeo
3 Hurricane Callie 15-1 S.Gonzalez/P.Miller
4 Run for Retts* 20-1 T.Baze/S.Miyadi
5 Roo’s Valentine 4-1 M.Pedroza/K.Mulhall
6 Run Like the Boss 12-1 J.Talamo/P.Miller
7 Pacific Heat 9/5 F.Prat/P.Eurton
8 Cheekaboo 4-1 M.Gutierrez/P.Eurton
* Blinkers on Run for Retts