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Pincay, Calkins Road Achieve Stated Purpose

Jockey guides 3-year-old to upset victory in the California Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Valenzuela rides three winners.

November 03, 2002|Bob Mieszerski | Times Staff Writer

Riding in the $1.325-million California Cup for the first time since 1999, jockey Patrick Valenzuela won three times, but the day's biggest prize went to Laffit Pincay.

At the expense of Valenzuela and his mount, Continental Red, Pincay rallied on 10-1 shot Calkins Road to win the $250,000 Classic, an eventful race from start to finish.

Hot Market and Grey Memo, the first two betting choices in the field of nine, had their chances compromised at different stages.

A dedicated front-runner and the 5-2 second choice, Hot Market was eliminated at the break when he reared in the gate and was away behind the field. He did well to finish fifth.

Grey Memo, a strong closer and the 5-2 favorite, was caught in heavy traffic when rallying along the inside -- he appeared to be the fastest horse -- and had to settle for fourth, beaten by about two lengths.

Their bad luck was good news for Calkins Road, who shows up on days highlighting California-breds. Earlier this year, the 3-year-old Illinois Storm colt won the Snow Chief, the feature event on Gold Rush Day, which is Hollywood Park's answer to the California Cup.

Calkins Road, owned and bred by Tom and Deborah Shapiro and trained by John Shirreffs, prevailed by a head for his third win in eight starts and gave Pincay his second Cal Cup Classic victory in three years.

"Laffit, John and Calkins Road did all the work," said Tom Shapiro, the grandson of L.K. Shapiro, who owned the great Native Diver, a local thoroughbred star of the 1960s.

Valenzuela, who trails Pincay, 27-25, in the jockey race heading into the final day of the Oak Tree season, did most of his damage earlier in the afternoon.

A winner of five Cal Cup races before Saturday, Valenzuela swept the early double with 5-1 shot Noble Kinsman in the $50,000 Starter Handicap and favored Super High in the $150,000 Matron, then completed his triple with 6-1 shot Unlimited Value in the $150,000 Sprint. Both Super High and Unlimited Value are owned by John Harris and trained by Carla Gaines.

The Sprint was marred by a nasty spill. Rio Oro, the 7-2 second choice, suffered a fatal breakdown while battling for the lead around the far turn and McCordnskuba, a 34-1 shot, also went down when unable to avoid the fallen horse. McCordnskuba appeared OK afterward.

Both riders, Kent Desormeaux on Rio Oro and Isaias Enriquez on McCordnskuba, escaped serious injury, but Enriquez took off his final mount on the card, saying he was sore.

As it turned out, Geli's Pie, the longshot he was to have ridden in the $125,000 Juvenile Fillies, was scratched about 10 minutes before post time.

Pincay's other win came on a Cal Cup repeater. Lil Sister Stich, who won the Distaff Starter Handicap in 2001, stepped up in the $150,000 Distaff. The 3-1 favorite and 5-year-old daughter of Seattle Bound won by a length over 25-1 shot Party Pirate in 1:13 1/5 at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf.

The only other jockey with more than one win was Desormeaux. He won the $50,000 Starter Sprint Handicap with 8-1 shot Giovannetti and the $100,000 Distance Handicap with 5-2 favorite Nicole's Pursuit.

Stoney, the prohibitive 1-2 choice in the Starter Sprint, suffered a leg injury early in the race. He was pulled up by jockey Victor Espinoza and vanned off the track.

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Other California Cup winners were Crackup in the $125,000 Juvenile; Turkish Prize, who scored an 8-1 surprise in the $175,000 Mile; and Summer Wind Dancer, who surged past longshot Buttertart near the wire in the $125,000 Juvenile Fillies.

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Miami Cartel, a 7-1 shot, beat 13-1 outsider Agouti by a head to win the $288,950 Los Alamitos Derby late Friday night.

Owned by James Azevedo and Charles Boyles and trained by Paul Jones, who also trains Agouti, Miami Cartel completed the 400 yards in 19.71 seconds under jockey Ramon Sanchez.

With the win, Miami Cartel, a son of Corona Cartel, earned a spot in the Champion of Champions next month.

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