Class is key on Cal Cup day

Santa Anita hosts California Cup day this Saturday, featuring several lucrative stakes races for Cal-breds. We’ll go over a pair of them here. As always, remember to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

Santa Anita Race 7 (post time 6:12 p.m EST)

The $250,000 California Cup Turf Classic

#1 ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR (8-5, morning-line favorite) is the class of the field and should prove it on Saturday. The millionaire earned two graded victories in SoCal last year and placed in three additional stakes over a six-race campaign. Today’s nine-furlong distance is a bit short for him but he should still better these. He’ll lose Gary Stevens due to his recovery from surgery, but the highly-talented Flavien Prat takes over. Additionally, the tune-up work for his first start since November was sharp.

#3 RALIS was being considered for the Pegasus World Cup, but was wisely re-routed here. He’s lost 11 straight since winning the 2015 Hopeful Stakes at two, but he’s mixed in two narrow defeats in spots similar to this in the interim. The speed figures on turf are right where they need to be. As usual, Mario Gutierrez has the call for Doug O’Neill.

#6 WHAT A VIEW was a perfect 4-for-4 at last year’s Santa Anita meet, including a romp in this race. Since then he was injured then was campaigned a little too aggressively. He’s worth giving another chance to on the big class drop under Tyler Baze.

The play: $4 trifecta 1/3,6/3,6, $2 exacta box 1/3 ($12)


Santa Anita Race 9 (post time 7:15 p.m EST)

The $250,000 California Cup Derby

#2 ANN ARBOR EDDIE (5-2) out-dueled the then-division leader #5 CALIFORNIA DIAMOND (5-2) at Los Alamitos last time out. The distance increases to 1 1/16th-miles today, which should only help ANN ARBOR EDDIE. CALIFORNIA DIAMOND appears to have limitations going long and may have already peaked with nine starts under his belt. Mario Gutierrez and Kent Desormeaux are the respective riders.

The favorite is #7 COILS GOLD (2-1) for Bob Baffert (Martin Garcia rides). He was sharp in victory at odds-on in November at Del Mar but hasn’t raced since then. He’ll also stretch out to a route for the first time and the works are nothing to write home about. It’s tough to get excited about him at a short price but he would not be a surprise.

The play: $4 exacta 2/5,7 ($8)


DFJ analysis: Mario Gutierrez’s ($9,000) seven mounts are mostly live, including RALIS and ANN ARBOR EDDIE in the feature events. He’ll ride four other horses below 5-1 in odds on Saturday.

Flavien Prat ($9,500) rides one of the biggest locks of the day in ASHLEYLUVSSUGAR, but has other strong mounts too. He’ll ride My Pi Romancer (3-1) in the Cal Cup Oaks and Richard’s Boy (5-2) in the Cal Cup Sprint.

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