Carmelita’s Man ML Fav In Turf Classic

January 7, 2023

Carmelita’s Man. (Benoit Photo)

~ Crypto Ride Gets 2nd Crack At Rival In Cal Cup Derby
~ Mandatory Rainbow 6 Jackpot Payout Saturday 

Stable Notes By Victor Ryan/Edited

ARCADIA, Calif.—The 10th and final race on Saturday’s California Cup program is the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic for older state-breds going 1 ⅛ miles on turf. While a field of nine was entered, led by 2-1 morning-line favorite Carmelita’s Man, only eight will go postward as The Chosen Vron has been scratched in favor of the $150,000 California Cup Sprint.

Trained by Dean Pederson, Carmelita’s Man won last year’s Crystal Water Stakes for state-breds at Santa Anita and the California Dreamin’ Stakes at Del Mar, both on turf. Most recently, the 6-year-old gelding finished fourth in the Oct. 29 Lure at Santa Anita behind a trio graded-stakes winners: Air Force Red, Prince Abama and Gregorian Chant.

Air Force Red would go on to win last weekend’s Grade II Joe Hernandez at Santa Anita in his subsequent start while Prince Abama prevailed in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup in his next outing.

He ran a good race,” Pederson said of Carmelita’s Man’s performance in the Lure. “He’s one of those horses who always gives a good effort.”

Santa Anita’s leading rider Juan Hernandez will replace Mike Smith aboard Carmelita’s Man in the Turf Classic. Hernandez previously piloted the 6-year-old gelding to his wins in the Crystal Water and California Dreamin’.

Crypto Ride Gets 2nd Crack At Rival In Cal Cup Derby

In the one-mile King Glorious Stakes for California-breds on Dec. 18, odds-on favorite Giver Not a Taker for trainer Peter Miller needed every inch of the lengthy stretch at Los Alamitos to rundown 47-1 longshot Crypto Ride and prevail by a head.

Those two rivals will meet for a second time on Saturday, this time at Santa Anita, in the $200,000 California Cup Derby. 

Giver Not a Taker is listed as 9-5 favorite by morning-line maker Jon White with Crypto Ride the 5-1 co-fourth choice in a seven-horse field.

Crypto Ride’s near shocker in the King Glorious came following a $50,000 maiden-claiming win at Los Alamitos nine days earlier. In the King Glorious, Crypto Ride ran into trouble on the first turn when a rider fell from his mount, and he was forced to steady. But by the head of the stretch, Crypto Ride had made his way to the front and was 1 ½ lengths clear at the eighth pole. It was not enough, however, as mounting a winning rally on the rail was Giver Not a Taker under Flavien Prat.

“It was bittersweet,” Lewis said. “We ran a terrific race and didn’t win.”

While Crypto Ride was the second-longest shot on the board in the King Glorious, Lewis said the performance was anything but a surprise for those who had watched the gelding train.

“I didn’t think he would (outrun his odds). I knew,” Lewis said, while also noting, “We supplemented him to the race. We wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t think we had a chance.”

Lewis and owner Zephyr Racing will now look to turn the tables on Giver Not a Taker. By Clubhouse Ride, Crypto Ride’s only start at Santa Anita came on turf in a maiden special weight in October. All three of his dirt tries have been at Los Alamitos.

Lewis is hoping that among other things, the shorter stretch at Santa Anita will play to Crypto Ride’s advantage.

“Now we’re getting to the interesting part,” Lewis said.

“We don’t know if he loves Los Al or he’s turned the corner. That’s what we’ll find out on Saturday.”

The Cal Cup Derby goes as the seventh race on the card with a post time of approximately 3 p.m. Pacific.

Mandatory Rainbow Six Jackpot Payout Saturday

With a big 10-race card planned for California Cup Day this Saturday, Jan. 7, Santa Anita Park has announced there will also be a mandatory payout in the 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot, with the likelihood of a $3 million total Rainbow Six pool.  A total of five California-bred races, highlighted by the $200,000 Cal Cup Derby and the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic, will be included in the 10-race card which will begin with first post time at 12 noon.

The Rainbow Pick Six will be comprised of races five through 10, with fifth race post time scheduled for approximately 2 p.m. PT.

Cal Cup Derby, which was won by eventual Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome in 2014, will be contested at a mile and one sixteenth.  The Unusual Heat Turf Classic, for older horses at a mile and one eighth on grass, is presented by City National Bank.

Additional Cal Cup races for Saturday are the $150,000 Leigh Ann Howard California Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, the $150,000 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint, for older horses at six furlongs and the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint at about 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course.

With first post time at 12 noon, admission gates will open Saturday at 10 a.m. 

For additional information, please call (626) 574-RACE.

Finish Lines: On Saturday, Santa Anita will offer fans a mandatory payout in the 20 cent Single Ticket Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot. It is expected the total Rainbow Six pool will exceed $3 million…

Also on Saturday will be the inaugural “1/ST Coast to Coast Pick 5” tying to together races from Santa Anita and sister track Gulfstream Park. It is a $1 minimum wager with a player-friendly 15 percent takeout. The sequence kicks off at 4:10 p.m. Eastern with race 9 at Gulfstream and continues with race 4 at Santa Anita, race 11 at Gulfstream, race 6 at Santa Anita and race 8 at Santa Anita. 


@jonathanstettin such a great read! In my car reading this on my lunch break with a huge smile.

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