ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2022)–Soundly beaten by Straight Up G when last they met, the Jeff Mullins-trained Fast Draw Munnings turned the tables on his heavily favored rival in Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita, as they battled head and head the final three sixteenths of a mile with “Fast Draw” gaining the advantage late to prevail by a neck. Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Fast Draw Munnings, a California-bred colt by the Kentucky-based stallion Munnings, got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:46.99.
The seeds of Straight Up G’s defeat were sown early, as Highland Ghost, under Flavien Prat, gunned to the early lead from his rail post position with Straight Up G lapped on him to the five sixteenths pole, where he took the lead but was immediately tackled by the winner leaving the quarter pole.
“The main thing was hoping somebody went with the favorite, I mean that horse got away with an easy lead last time and we thought that if somebody goes with him, I told Drayden to make sure he gets a good jump out of there and be right off their heels,” said Mullins. “It worked out, the one horse went with the favorite and I think kind of softened him up and gave us the opportunity to get by.
“It’s kind of waiting game most of the time, so we will just enjoy the moment now and see what comes up for him. Obviously, he’s pretty versatile. I think he can go one turn, two turns and he may even like the turf. With these kind of Cal-breds you have to jump wherever you can and I think he’s proved that he can.”
Bred in California by Glenn Porter and owned by Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal, Fast Draw Munnings is out of the Bedford Falls mare Zuzu’s Petals. A first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos Sept. 17, Fast Draw Munnings was most recently third, beaten 5 ¼ lengths by gate to wire winner Straight Up G in the one mile King Glorious Stakes versus statebreds Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos.
Off at 4-1 in a field of six California-bred or sired sophomores, Fast Draw Munnings paid $10.40, $3.80 and $2.10.
“The main thing was to get a good break and hopefully (Straight Up G and Highland Ghost) battle like they did and just sit off of them and bide my time,” said Van Dyke. “That was exactly how it played out and we got lucky with the win. I knew it was going to be a good battle because (Straight Up G) kicked on when I asked my horse to go, but my horse dug in. I’ve always loved this horse, he’s kind of a hard-headed horse, he doesn’t give you all that he has but he showed what he could do today and I’m proud of him…”
In his fourth career start, Fast Draw Munnings notched his first stakes win and second overall victory. With the winner’s share of $110,000, he increased his earnings to $170,600.
Straight Up G, off at 4-5 with Ricky Gonzalez, finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of Finneus and paid $2.60 and $2.10.
The second choice at 9-5 with John Velazquez, Finneus paid $2.10 to show while finishing 17 lengths clear of longshot Agador Spartacus.
Early pacesetter Highland Ghost tired badly and was distanced while checking in last.
Fractions on the race were 23.56, 48.01, 1:13.52 and 1:39.78.
Run as Saturday’s third race, the Cal Cup Derby was the first of five stakes for California-bred or sired horses on a 10-race card.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo: Fast Draw Munnings (Benoit Photo)