Mici’s Express Rallies and Scores in Cal Cup Derby 

January 13, 2024

Mici’s Express scores the victory in the California Chrome California Cup Derby. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Race Is Part Of Lucrative CTBA-Sponsored Golden State Series

Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.—A disappointing third as the favorite in his most recent start, trainer Steve Knapp’s Mici’s Express got a perfect ground saving trip under Umberto Rispoli and rallied off the turn for home to an impressive 1 ½ length score in Saturday’s $200,000 California Chrome Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita. 

Named for the winner of the 2014 Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies, the California Chrome Cal Cup Derby is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for registered California-bred or sired horses.

A bay colt by Slew’s Tiznow, Mici’s Express, who added blinkers today, earned his first stakes victory while getting a mile and one sixteenth in 1:46.75.

Unhurried in the early going, Rispoli was intent on keeping his mount covered up into and around the first turn and was able to hug the fence to the quarter pole. A joint third, about 2 ½ lengths off of eventual third place finisher Last Call London, Mici’s Express tipped three-deep turning for home and drew away as much the best late.

A $5,000 yearling purchase, Mici’s Express is out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Harlan Express. Owned by Tom Halasz, Mici’s Express was third as the 9-5 favorite in the one mile King Glorious versus statebreds at Los Alamitos in his most recent start on Dec. 17. With the winner’s share of $110,000, he increased his earnings to $248,530.

Off at 5-1 today in a field of five, he paid $13.00, $5.60 and $2.60.

Second to mid-stretch, Stolen Treasure, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, finished second and paid $4.60 and $2.40 while off at 7-2. Finishing third, 1 ¾ lengths behind Stolen Treasure, Last Call London, the even money favorite with Juan Hernandez, paid $2.10 to show.

Fractions on the race were 24.62, 49.33, 1:13.99 and 1:40.27.

$200,000 California Chrome Cal Cup Derby Stakes Quotes

Mici’s Express scores the victory in the California Chrome California Cup Derby with Umberto Rispoli in the irons at Santa Anita Jan. 13, 2023. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Mici’s Express scores the victory with Umberto Rispoli in the irons. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Jockey Quotes
Umberto Rispoli, Mici’s Express, Winner: “I knew this horse has some ability. I saw him run on the undercard on Breeders’ Cup day and he was way behind and came on. I rode him at Los Alamitos and that race was too slow and he did not like it. Steve (Knapp) thought the horse would be more competitive with blinkers on. We had a good pace today and I still had plenty of horse coming for home. We got in the clear and he did the rest. I thought he was more relaxed today. This horse could turn out to be a good one.”

Trainer Quotes
Steve Knapp, Mici’s Express, Winner: “We got a patient ride today. If you look at his last race at Los Alamitos, this horse has fired every time and then when I saw the fractions on the race, 24 and one in the first quarter and 24 and two in the second, he didn’t really have much chance at all. If you look at the PP’s it was a speed biased track, so that’s why he didn’t really fire last time. I had been thinking about putting blinkers on him for several races because my rider kept telling me to put the blinkers on him and the reason I didn’t, was because he was running so well, and I hate to tinker with things when something is going well but after that race, I decided to put them on.”  

Owner Quotes
Tom Halasz, Mici’s Express, Winner: “I’m on cloud nine, I love it! To just think about it, you win the California Chrome Cal Cup Derby, now that’s one of my favorite horses of all time and I won the race I love it. All of my horses are Cal-bred, I have 35 Cal-breds in the Cal-bred program, it is great, it is the perfect place to run, the purses are great, the fields are good. I love being with Steve Knapp and honestly, we are having more fun than we can stand.”

@jonathanstettin @bbopjz agree , but in my opinion Mr. Stettin remains second to none …….

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