Carole Lombard Prominent in $200K Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks

January 4, 2023

Carole Lombard (outside) works Oct. 31 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Race Is Part of Lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series

Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif.— In what appears to be a wide-open betting race, owner/breeder Nick Alexander’s recent maiden winner Carole Lombard figures prominently among a field of nine sophomore fillies going one mile on turf in Saturday’s $200,000 Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita.

Named for the highly respected late trainer and farm manager, the Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners.

In a tough call, Carole Lombard gets top billing as it appears Ramon Vazquez, who has ridden trainer Tim Yakteen’s Cast Member to a pair of recent stakes victories on dirt, has chosen the Phil D’Amato-trained Carole Lombard off of her impressive 2 ¼ lengths maiden scored versus statebred fillies at one mile over the Del Mar turf on Nov. 20.

By Grazen out of the Afleet Alex mare Shesabronxbomber, Carole Lombard, who split a 10-horse maiden field in her six furlong turf debut here on Nov. 5, was off at 5-2 at Del Mar and registered a much-improved 60 Beyer Speed Figure.  With Vazquez committing to Carole Lombard, the wagering figures to be head and head with Cast Member.

Cast Member works Dec. 31 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

A perfect three for three on dirt but nonetheless jilted by her regular rider, George Krikorian’s homebred Cast Member need only act on turf to emerge as the horse to beat in Saturday’s Oaks.  A first-out three length maiden winner going six furlongs Sept. 3 at Del Mar, she came back to take the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile Fillies here on Oct. 29 and then stretched out to a mile in the Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos—winning by 1 ¼ lengths.

By Munnings out of the Artie Schiller mare Be My Baby, Cast Member, who has been favored in her last two starts, will be reunited with John Velazquez.

The flashy Grazed My Heart works Dec. 30 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Owned in part by former trainer Mark Cofer and his wife Patricia, along with the Webb Family Trust, Grazed My Heart was a close second to Cast Member in the one mile Soviet Problem Stakes Dec. 11, which followed a solid one mile turf maiden win in her fifth start on Oct. 23.

Trained by Jeff Mullins, Grazed My Heart, who was claimed out of a second place finish for maidens 50,000 four starts back on Aug. 19, has a win and a second from two mile turf tries and is 6-1-3-1 overall.  By Grazen out of the Scat Daddy mare Daddy’s Duo, Grazed My Heart will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Hector Berrios.


Race 8 of 10  Approximate time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Carole Lombard – Ramon Vazquez—124
  2. Golden Again—Tiago Pereira—124
  3. Grazed My Heart—Hector Berrios—124
  4. Cholly—Lanfranco Dettori—124
  5. Nyvan—Mario Gutierrez—124
  6. Loyal to a Fault—Drayden Van Dyke—124
  7. Quickly Park It—Juan Hernandez—124
  8. Sell the Dream—Flavien Prat—124
  9. Cast Member—John Velazquez—124

First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon with admission gates opening at 10 a.m.

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