ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2014)–With blinkers refitted, longshot Susans Express sat a close second at the rail going to the far turn and found a seam three off the fence turning for home and powered through the lane with Kent Desormeaux to take Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Oaks by 1 ¼ lengths, getting one mile on turf in 1:34.72.
Off at 65-1 in a field of 14 California-bred 3-year-old fillies, Susans Express, trained and co-owned by Jorge Periban, tried the grass for the first time in the Oaks. Susans Express was winless in four starts since breaking her maiden sprinting for a $50,000 claiming tag on Aug. 30.
“Jorge told me exactly how to ride this filly and obviously it worked out,” said Desormeux, who collected his second stakes win of the day. “She’s a very nice filly. I’m just glad to be back here and I have to thank Jorgie for putting me on.”
A filly by Decarchy, Susans Express, owned by her breeder Ed Delaney, Carrillo and Periban, paid $132.40, $44.20 and $20.60.
She picked up $120,000 for the win, nearly quintupling her earnings to $153,140.
Periban, a native of Mexico who operates a small Southern California stable, notched his first-ever stakes win in the United States.
“I knew this filly could run on the grass, and I made a little mistake last time when I took the blinkers off,” said Periban. “I put them back. We did our best, and the jockey did a good job, too.”
Anniversary Kitty, ridden by Corey Nakatani, broke from the far outside and made a protracted run wide-out through the lane to get up for second by a nose over Rovenna and Victor Espinoza.
Off at 6-1, Anniversary Kitty paid $8.40 and $6.60.
Nakatani noted that his mount took sick following a first-out maiden win on Dec. 21, but had trained well coming into the Oaks.
“The other day, I when I worked her, she worked so great I said (trainer) ‘Craig (Dollase), you gotta take a shot.’…She was finishing and doing what she needs to do. She’s a good filly.”
Rovenna, ridden by Victor Espinoza, broke alertly from post 10, was caught five-wide into the first turn and settled into third down the backside in what appeared to be a perfect trip. She finished a length in front of Harlington’s Rose and paid $8.20 to show.