By Emily Shields
There are several story lines in play in the $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, January 16. Can The Chosen Vron stretch out to two turns? Will Big Fish take to dirt? Can Positivity bounce back? Bet horse racing at Santa Anita live every race day with TVG.
#1 The Chosen Vron (8-5) was a sparkling maiden winner on December 27, scoring by 6 ¾ lengths in a dirt sprint. Trainer Eric Kruljac now stretches the son of Vronsky out to 1 1/16-miles, and the pedigree could go both ways as the sire and dam both prefer sprinting but the half-brother won routing. Joel Rosario picks up the mount as John Velazquez was in town to ride on debut.
#3 Big Fish (5-1) puts the blinkers on for just his third race on the dirt. He was a stakes winner at a mile on the grass at Del Mar, and the son of Mr. Big has been top three in four of seven overall. He has tried tough competition as he was put on a path to maybe get into the Breeders’ Cup, and now gets a chance to see if he will like routing on the main track.
#4 Good With People (7-2) won the prestigious Golden State Juvenile in November. The son of Curlin to Muschief is trained by Peter Miller, and is now a two-time stakes winner with three wins in six starts. He was beaten by Play Chicken last out going a mile.
#5 Play Chicken (4-1) has won two of three starts. Doug O’Neill trains the son of Square Eddie out of the nice mare Smoove, making him a brother to . He was fifth in the Golden State Juvenile before surprising in the King Glorious at 13-1. Mario Gutierrez will ride.
The longshot play may be #7 Positivity (10-1). The son of Paynter had a great start to his career, breaking his maiden over this track and then beating Good With People in the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar. He missed by less than a length in the Golden State Juvenile behind that rival, then tried Grade 2 company and found it too difficult, finishing last. Was that bad effort because of the two turns, or the class level? Positivity will have the chance to bounce back in this spot for trainer Patrick Gallagher.
Cozy Bear, Warrens Candy Man, None Above the Law, and smashing Golden Gate Fields maiden winner Mischievous Path round out the field.
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