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California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Draws Seven

Santa Anita
Santa Anita hosts a pair of graded stakes races on Saturday. (Photo:: © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com).

A springboard to superstardom in 2014 for California Chrome, Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita may also have a star or two in the making as seven California-bred or sired sophomores go a mile and one sixteenth.

Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams’ Passarando, trained by Steve Specht and fresh off a stirring come from behind win versus open company going a mile on synthetic Tapeta Dec. 3 in the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, rates top billing on Saturday.

A winner versus statebreds of the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile here three starts back, he’ll be reunited with Umberto Rispoli, who was aboard for the Santa Anita win on Oct. 29.

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A gelding by Tamarando out of the Lucky Pulpit mare I’m Passing Ya Now, Passarando is in top form and is scheduled to van down from Golden Gate early Friday morning. With two stakes wins to his credit, Passarando is 7-4-2-0 with earnings of $218,830.

Attentive to the pace throughout, Kirk and Judy Robison’s homebred Giver Not a Taker was a game head winner of the statebred King Glorious Stakes going one mile at Los Alamitos Dec. 18 and rates a big look with Flavien Prat riding him back.

Miller Saddles Two in Cal Cup Derby

Based at San Luis Rey Downs with Peter Miller, Giver Not a Taker is a chestnut gelding by Danzing Candy out of the Kitten’s Joy mare Kittens Trip. Heavily favored at 1-5 two starts back in the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile, he was defeated by one length by a late charging Passarando. A winner of the six furlong I’m Smokin Stakes in his second start Sept. 9, he’s a two-time statebred stakes winner with an overall mark of 5-3-1-0.

Miller will also saddle Thirsty John, an impressive first-out maiden winner going 4 ½ furlongs on May 14. Idle since and based at San Luis Rey Downs, Thirsty John, who had been trained by Walther Solis, was bred in California by Terry Lovingier.

A colt by Stay Thirsty out of the Discreet Cat mare Discreet Dee, Thirsty John is owned by Lovingier, Tom London and Eugene Zondlo and will be ridden back by leading man Juan Hernandez.

A winner of three out of his five starts, trainer Hector Palma’s Geezer showed the way to the quarter pole in the one mile King Glorious Dec. 18 but tired to check in third, five lengths behind Giver Not a Taker. Bred by Palma and Melody Conlon, Geezer is a gelding by Merit Man out of the More Than Ready mare Pat Olcott and is owned by Royalty Stable. He’ll be ridden for the sixth consecutive time by Tiago Pereira.

Craig Lewis will saddle upstart Crypto Ride, a Cal-bred maiden 50,000 winner two starts back who came up a head short at 50-1 behind Giver Not a Taker in the King Glorious. Owned and bred by James Shenouda, Crypto Ride is a gelding by Clubhouse Ride out of Wild Caroline, by Wildcat Heir.

With Umberto Rispoli opting to ride Passarando, Crypto Ride will be handled by Hector Berrios.

One of five Cal Cup Day stakes, the Cal Cup Derby is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners.

The California Cup Derby Field

Race 7 of 10 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT

Thirsty John—Juan Hernandez—124
Passarando—Umberto Rispoli—124
Amigo G A—Armando Aguilar–124
Giver Not a Taker—Flavien Prat—124
Merit Song—Luis Contreras—124
Cyrpto Ride—Hector Berrios—124
Geezer—Tiago Pereira–124
First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon with admission gates opening at 10 a.m.

Santa Anita & Gulfstream Park Unveil Coast to Coast Pick 5

Beginning this Saturday, Jan. 7, Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park will team to present an all-new wager, the 1/ST Coast to Coast Pick 5, which will include a player-friendly 15 percent takeout. The Coast to Coast Pick 5, a $1 minimum bet, will be offered every Saturday and Sunday through April 9, Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day.

With a No Consolation provision, there will be a 100 percent carryover of that day’s net pool to the next day’s Coast to Coast Pick 5 in the event there is no winning ticket with five correct selections.

Coast To Coast Pick 5 for Saturday, Jan. 7 races with approximate post time are as follows:

• Gulfstream Park: 4:10pm (ET) Race 9 • Santa Anita Park: 4:30pm (ET) Race 4 • Gulfstream Park 5:09pm (ET) Race 11 • Santa Anita Park 5:30pm (ET) Race 6 • Santa Anita Park 6:30pm (ET) Race 8