Trainer Puype hopes seasoned Ward ‘n Jerry is charmed facing familiar foes in third Turf Classic

January 16, 2021

ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Mike Puype hopes the third time’s the charm for Ward ‘n Jerry in today’s $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank.

The mile and one-eighth race is one of five stakes in the Golden State Series showcasing horses bred or sired in California, with total prize money amounting to $900,000. It is one of Santa Anita’s most appealing and attractive racing presentations of the Winter/Spring meet, and a daunting challenge for handicappers to boot.

Ward ‘n Jerry, an eight-year-old gelded son of Lucky Pulpit owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, long-

He has earned $388,579 and time supporters of racing in the Golden State, was third in the 2017 Turf Classic and second last year.

The old war horse “can run all day,” as the saying goes, a victory in the Grade III San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and a half among his six career triumphs from 24 starts a testament to that axiom.

is coming off a seventh-place finish at odds of 114-1 in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and a half against open company last Nov. 27.

“The distance Saturday isn’t his best, but we’re running,” said the 56-year-old Puype, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, who came into racing out of high school working odd jobs on the backstretch at Turf Paradise.

He was an assistant to the late Walter Greenman and later connected with owner Gary Biszantz, working for him from 1996 until 2002 before opening a successful public stable.

“He can handle any distance but he’s better going further,” Puype said of Ward ‘n Jerry, who will be running in his eighth straight stakes, six of them graded.  “That’s clear on paper but we have to run; it’s a lot of money, it’s Cal-bred, so we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”

Flavien Prat, who piloted Ward ‘n Jerry to victory in the San Luis Rey on March 20 of last year, returns to ride after an absence of two races.

Puype also has Tigre Di Sligo going in Saturday’s $150,000 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint for four-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

The lightly raced six-year-old gelded son of Smiling Tiger closed fast to win an overnight sprint at Del Mar last Nov. 27 and has three victories from five starts overall, each on the main track.

“He broke from the rail winning at Del Mar, and that’s seldom an advantage, so we feel he has a good chance Saturday,” Puype said.

Joel Rosario, who was aboard for the Del Mar win, retains the mount.

Acclimate

Acclimate embodies solid Cal-bred Pedigree in Turf Classic

With five horses entered on Cal Cup Day, Phil D’Amato has plenty to look forward to and that includes a big look at the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank.

In the Classic, D’Amato will be front and center with 5-2 morning line favorite Acclimate, who is owned and bred in-part by The Ellwood Johnston Trust/Old English Rancho, an iconic force in the California Thoroughbred industry dating back to the late 1940s.

Fittingly, Acclimate, a 7-year-old gelding, is the embodiment of successful California breeding, going back several generations. His grandsire is the late stallion sensation Unusual Heat and Acclimation is by Acclimate, who was America’s Eclipse Award Champion Older Male in 2011 and California Horse of the year in 2010 and 2011. 

Trained by the late Donnie Warren, who passed at age 67 in May of 2019, Acclamation now stands at Harris Farms for $4,000 live foal.

Acclimate led into the stretch in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and one half on Nov. 27 before finishing fourth. It was his first race in more than a year and although he yielded late, Acclimate was only beaten two lengths.

“I thought he ran a smashing race first time back,” said D’Amato. “Now he’s in with Cal-breds at a little shorter distance and he’s training as good as ever.”

Acclimate wins 2019 Del Mar Handicap

The Sprint is named for prominent CTBA board member and longtime California owner/breeder Donald Valpredo, who is credited with helping to conceive the inaugural Cal Cup Sprint in 1990. Valpredo has served on the CHRB, the boards of the Breeders’ Cup and TOC, and is a current member of The Jockey Club.

The Sprint is named for prominent CTBA board member and longtime California owner/breeder Donald Valpredo, who is credited with helping to conceive the inaugural Cal Cup Sprint in 1990. Valpredo has served on the CHRB, the boards of the Breeders’ Cup and TOC, and is a current member of The Jockey Club.

The field for the Turf Classic, race eight with a 3:57 p.m. PT (6:57 p.m. ET) post time: 

1. Brandothebartender, Umberto Rispoli, 6-1

2. Ward ‘n Jerry, Flavien Prat, 4-1

3. Fly to Mars, Jose Valdivia Jr., 15-1

4. Indian Peak, Joel Rosario, 8-1

5. Marckie’s Water, Abel Cedillo, 15-1

$25,000 supplemental nominee 

6. North County Guy, Mario Gutierrez, 5-1

7. Heck Yeah, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1

8. Acclimate, Tyler Baze, 5-2

9. Tropical Terror, Geovanni Franco, 30-1

10. Margot’s Boy, Juan Hernandez, 8-1

11. Cono, Ricky Gonzalez, 15-1

2020 Turf Classic Replay

The field for the Sprint, race nine, post 4:09 p.m. PT (7:09 p.m. ET) 

1. Tigre Di Slugo, Joel Rosario, 5-1

2. Royal Trump, Edwin Maldonado, 15-1

3. Fashionably Fast, Tiago Pereira, 5-2

4. Bettor Trip Nick, Drayden Van Dyke, 20-1

5. Psycho Dar, Ricky Gonzalez, 12-1

6. Loud Mouth, Abel Cedillo, 3-1

7. Club Aspen, Juan Hernandez, 20-1

8. Brickyard Ride, Alexis Centeno, 6-1

9. Oliver, Umberto Rispoli, 20-1

10. Jamming Eddy, Flavien Prat, 6-1

11. Rookie Mistake, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1

Santa Anita Entries for Saturday, Jan. 16 10 race card, 12 noon PT (3 p.m. ET) first post.

Press Release (Acclimate By Mike Willman)

Photos of Ward ‘N Jerry and Acclimate by Benoit

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