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Thirsty John Takes Cal Cup Derby Off Bench

Cap Cup Derby Santa Anita
Santa Anita hosted Cal Cup Day on Saturday. © Cheryl Quigley | Dreamstime.com

Away since May 14 and in only his second career start, Terry Lovingier’s homebred Thirsty John proved too much for six fellow California-breds on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he went to the front and took the $200,000 California Cup Derby by a half length under Juan Hernandez. Trained by Peter Miller, the 3-year-old colt by Stay Thirsty got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:45.51.

The Cal Cup Derby is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners.

Based at San Luis Rey Downs, Thirsty John, who took his 4 ½ furlong debut here by 3 ¼ lengths when trained by Walther Solis, settled into a nice rhythm up the backside and had a half length advantage on a determined Giver Not a Taker leaving the quarter pole and kept him at bay the length of the stretch to win impressively.

Ridden back by Hernandez, Thirsty John was the second choice in the wagering at 2-1 and paid $6.60, $3.80 and $2.60.

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Bred by Lovingier and out of his Discreet Cat mare Discreet Dee, Thirsty John is owned by Lovingier, Tom London and Eugene Zondlo. With the winner’s share of $110,000, Thirsty John now has earnings of $150,200.

The 8-5 favorite with Flavien Prat up, Giver Not a Taker was getting to the winner on the money, but came up short in a gutty effort while returning $2.80 and $2.10.

Golden Gate Fields-based Passarando kept to his task determinedly and finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Crypto Ride. Off at 5-2 with Umberto Rispoli, Passarando paid $2.40 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.45, 47.68, 1:11.90 and 1:38.32.

Cal Cup Derby Replay

Graze My Heart Wins Cal Cup Oaks

In an agonizingly tight finish, the Jeff Mullins-trained Grazed My Heart was up to win Saturday’s $200,000 Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks by a nose, giving jockey Hector Berrios his second stakes win on Cal Cup Day at Santa Anita. A 3-year-old filly by Grazen, Grazed My Heart got one mile on turf in 1:37.41.

Last, about seven lengths off pacesetter and eventual runner-up Sell the Dream three furlongs out, Grazed My Heart hugged the rail around the turn, angled three-deep at the furlong pole and managed to get up in time.

Claimed out of a second place finish for maiden $50,000 four starts back on Aug. 19 at Del Mar, Grazed My Heart was most recently second going one mile on dirt in the statebred Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos Dec. 11.

Off at 5-1 today, she paid $13.80, $5.40 and $3.20.

Out of the Scat Daddy mare Daddy’s Duo, Grazed My Heart was bred in California by Cicero Farms, LLC and the Batchelor Family Trust.

Owned in part by former trainer Mark Cofer and his wife Patricia, along with the Webb Family Trust, Grazed My Heart collected $110,000 for the Oaks victory, increasing her earnings to $198,020 from an overall mark of 7-2-3-1.

The 6-5 favorite with Flavien Prat, frontrunning Sell the Dream finished a half length in front of Cast Member and paid $3.00 and $2.20.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Cast Member was able to tuck into third position from her outside post and was lapped on the favorite around the first turn, got on terms a quarter mile from home and stayed well through the drive to finish 1 ½ lengths in front of longshot Golden Again.

Off at 7-2, Cast Member paid $3.00 to show.

Fractions on the race were 23.62, 47.94, 1:12.36 and 1:24.57.

Cal Cup Oaks Replay