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HORSE RACING

Five Looking for Repeat Wins in California Cup

October 28, 2000|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When the California Cup, a 10-race, $1.275-million event restricted to California breds, is run for the 11th time today at Santa Anita, five thoroughbreds have a chance to repeat 1999 victories.

That's significant because, through the first 10 editions of the Cup, only two horses have won the same race in consecutive years.

In 1991, Bel's Starlet won the Distaff and His Legacy won the Starter Handicap and both repeated the next year.

Today, Bagshot, whose only win in 16 career starts at Santa Anita came in last year's $250,000 Cal Cup Classic--the day's richest event--will be joined by entrymate Spacelink and eight others in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Earlier, Native Desert will try to make it consecutive victories in the $175,000 Mile on turf; Love That Red will be a short price to repeat in the $150,000 Sprint; Feverish will attempt to win the $150,000 Matron again; and Chichim will seek her second win in a row in the $150,000 Distaff.

Three other horses will try to win consecutive Cal Cup races in different events.

Spacelink will try to win the Classic after winning the Juvenile last year; Cover Gal, who won the Juvenile Fillies last fall for trainer Lance Stokes, is among 14 fillies and mares entered in the Distaff at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf; and Lazy Slusan will try to win the Matron after capturing the Distaff Starter Handicap last year.

On paper, the most likely repeater is Love That Red.

Kept out of the Breeders' Cup Sprint a week from today because he would have had to be supplemented, the 4-year-old gelding enters the Cal Cup having won two of three since joining trainer Bob Baffert's barn.

Second to likely Breeders' Cup Sprint favorite Kona Gold in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap on July 29 at Del Mar, Love That Red has since won the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar and the California Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows.

Owned by Terry Wells and trained by Leonard Duncan when he won the Sprint last year, Love That Red will carry top weight of 124 pounds and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.

"He'd have been in the Breeders' Cup if he was nominated," Baffert said. "He's a tough horse. He runs hard every time."

Completing the field in the Sprint are Unlimited Value, who reportedly lost a shoe when second to Love That Red last month at Bay Meadows, Champ's Star, third in this race last year, Full Moon Madness, who has won three of his previous six starts on Santa Anita's main track, McCordnskuba and Colonial Warrior.

The Classic, which lost its prime attraction when Tiznow was supplemented to the Breeders' Cup Classic, is headed by the Bagshot-Spacelink entry, favored at 9-5 on Jeff Tufts' morning line, and Cliquot, the 5-2 second choice.

Trained by John Shirreffs for owner Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corporation, Cliquot has finished second in his last four starts. The son of Bertrando drew the rail and will be ridden by leading jockey Victor Espinoza.

Injuries have limited Spacelink, who will be making only his fifth start today for owners Trudy McCaffery and John Toffan and trainer Paco Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, however, is particularly adept at having horses ready to run after layoffs and Spacelink has been training well. Chris McCarron will ride him and Kent Desormeaux has the mount on Bagshot.

Third in the 1998 Mile before winning last year, Native Desert will face 11 rivals in the Mile, including 9-5 favorite Road To Slew. Trained by Juan Garcia, who claimed the gelding several years ago for owner Miguel Rubio, Native Desert hopes for better racing luck today than he had at Pomona on Oct. 1.

The 7-year-old, who has earned nearly $1.8 million, never had a clear run in the Pomona Invitational Handicap at Fairplex Park in his most recent start and had to settle for second, beaten by four lengths by Casey Griffin.

"He was stuck down inside the whole way and the jockey [Garrett Gomez] never had a chance to get out," said Garcia, who, besides Chichim and Native Desert, also will saddle longshot Joyful Energy in the Juvenile Fillies.

"He never had a chance. I think he would have been right there with a good trip. Both he and Chichim are doing very well and I expect them to run well. She should have won that race on opening day."

Garcia is referring to the Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap, a race at the Distaff distance in which she was blocked while trying to rally through the stretch. Another win by Feverish in the Matron would be a surprise. She is overshadowed by stablemate Smooth Player, who continued to show her fondness for the Santa Anita main track with a win in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier this month.

*

Mash One, who returned from more than a year away from racing to win the Clement L. Hirsch on Oct. 8, was among a dozen entered Friday morning for Sunday's $125,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap.

A 6-year-old Chilean-bred who has won seven of 17 in his career, Mash One was one of three entered in the 1 1/2-mile turf race by trainer Bobby Frankel. He will also be represented by Northern Quest and Timboroa.

Notes

Jockey Laffit Pincay won twice on Friday, leaving him with 8,997 career victories. He won the opener with favored Penny Video, then took the seventh of Letter Of Intent. Both fillies are trained by Bill Spawr. . . . Although no rain is expected today, the $150,000 Distaff could be moved from the turf to the dirt if the weather is wet. The other California Cup grass race--the Mile-- will remain on the turf. . . . Crowning Meeting, who was supposed to race in the California Cup Classic, was scratched after he developed a temperature Friday morning. . . . In addition to Pincay, jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye and Garrett Gomez won twice Friday. . . . Post time today is noon.

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