ARCADIA, Calif. — Claimed out of his last three starts on turf, 5-year-old gelding Cupid’s Claws tried dirt for the first time today, as he waltzed to a 7 ¼ length win in the marathon Grade III, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup at Santa Anita. Ridden by Flavien Prat, who collected his second stakes win on the day, he got a mile and one half in 2:30.12.
“It’s been a great weekend I thought. Yesterday we had some good runs with the two-year-old (Get Her Number) and also United. Today Simon Callaghan’s filly (Harvest Moon) ran great, Collusion Illusion ran his race as well, with a tough post it’s never easy. This horse as well, I give all the credit to Craig (Dollase) I thought he made a great move going long on the dirt and it worked out well,” jockey Prat said.
“You feel fortunate when you look at the program and you have such a great bunch of horses to ride all weekend long, it’s a goal for every rider, I’m living the dream.”
With the starting gate set at about the half mile pole, Cupid’s Claws was unhurried in the initial run to the far turn and was fourth, about two lengths off of favored pacesetter Tizamagician as the field crossed under the wire for the first time. From there, Prat was able to save ground while in close attendance to the pace and shifted three-wide outside of Tizamagician and Combatant with a quarter mile to run.
Full of run at the top of the lane, Cupid’s Claws gained the advantage a furlong out and darted clear late as much the best.
“Great group of guys (owners), they trusted me and I came up with this horse. I’ve been watching his form, when I saw him in the race we claimed him in (Sept. 5), I pulled the trigger and I was the only claim in there for him that day, things work out sometimes,” Cupid’s Claw trainer Craig Dollase commented.
“I like the way he moves on the dirt. Flavien was nice enough to come out and work him last week and gave us the thumbs up, now here we are.”
Owned by Flawless Racing, Masino Racing Stable, Brian Flanagan and Michael Jarvis, Cupid’s Claws, a 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding, picked up $60,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $172,296. A winner of two turf starts and one race on synthetic Tapeta, Cupid’s Claws is now 18-4-2-3 overall. Cupid’s Claws paid $17.00, $6.20 and $3.00.
Tizamagician, who was ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, was the narrow second choice at 2-1 and bested Combatant by 1 ¼ lengths and returned $3.40 and $2.60.
With $39,101 bet to win on Combatant, he was the actual favorite by just five dollars at 2-1 and paid $2.40 to show with Umberto Rispoli up.
According to Equibase, fractions on the race were 25.22, 49.72, 1:14.82, 1:39.75 and 2:04.52.
Photo: Cupid’s Claws. Credit: Benoit Photos