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Grazen expected to be heavy favorite for California Cup Classic at Santa Anita

Grazen is scheduled to face five rivals in the race. The 3-year-old has won four of five starts this year.

October 03, 2009|Eric Sondheimer

Grazen, a promising 3-year-old who's trying to build the credentials to become a top California sire, is expected to be the heavy favorite for the $200,000 California Cup Classic, the highlight race for today's Oak Tree card at Santa Anita that features nine races offering $950,000 in purse money for horses bred in California. First post is at noon.

Owned by Nick Alexander and trained by Mike Mitchell, Grazen is scheduled to face five rivals in the 1 1/8 -mile race.

Grazen has won four of five starts this year, and a strong performance could persuade his connections to enter next month's Breeders' Cup.

"It's really neat to breed something special," Alexander said of Grazen, a son of Benchmark. "Up until now, we'd been known as king of the $12,500 maiden claimers at Golden Gate."

The second-richest of the Cal Cup races is the $125,000 John C. Mabee Mile on the turf. Unusual Suspect is the 120-pound high weight.

There will be 10 races overall on the card.

On Sunday, the Grade I Norfolk Stakes and the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes will be held for 2-year-olds.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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