CALIFORNIAN SERVES AS FINAL STEPPINGSTONE TO GRADE I GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA JUNE 25
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 19, 2016)–Considered a major contender for the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap last winter, David and Holly Wilson’s Follow Me Crev, who has been idle since Feb. 14, seeks his fifth consecutive win in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Californian Stakes, final major steppingstone to the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 25. The Californian, for 3-year-olds and up, attracted a field of seven, including last year’s Gold Cup winner, Hard Aces and Jerry Hollendorfer’s well-traveled Point Piper.
FOLLOW ME CREV: Trained by Vladimir Cerin, “Crev” was forced off the Big ‘Cap trail due a minor ailment following a rousing 2 ½ length allowance score going 1 1/16 miles here on Feb. 14. Claimed for $50,000 on May 31, 2015, this 4-year-old Quality Road gelding will be making his 10th start for Cerin in the Californian, which is his second graded stakes assignment. Although he was last after the first half mile in his Feb. 14 win, he has shown ample speed in the past and could lay closer as a fresh commodity on Sunday. He’ll be ridden by Alonso Quinonez, who has guided him to a pair of wins.
HARD ACES: Although winless since taking last year’s Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita, this John Sadler trainee was second in the Big ‘Cap two starts back on March 12, earning a 101 Beyer Speed figure. He comes off an even seventh place finish in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles Charles Town Classic on April 23 and will hope for a hot pace in the Californian. A 6-year-old horse by Hard Spun, he’s owned by Hronis Racing, LLC. With one win from seven starts at 1 1/8 miles, Hard Aces closed ground to finish third in last year’s Californian, one start prior to his Gold Cup triumph. He’s 30-6-4-7 overall with earnings of $839,645.
POINT PIPER: Third in the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap going 1 1/8 miles on April 16, this 6-year-old horse by Giant’s Causeway was fifth in the Grade I Big ‘Cap two starts back and was a close third in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Mineshaft Handicap in New Orleans on Feb. 20. Last early at Oaklawn, he laid close to the early pace in the Mineshaft and depending upon the pace scenario, could be well off the pace or mid-pack on Sunday. Owned by Gatto Racing, LLC, Russo, Schlaich and partners, Point Piper earned his best career Beyer number (102) when he was a close second to reigning Santa Anita Derby winner Dortmund, in the one mile Big Bear Stakes here on Oct. 24. Winless in his last seven tries, Point Piper is 22-4-5-4 overall with earnings of $267,135.
THE GRADE II CALIFORNIAN IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 9 (of 10)
Approximate post time, 6 p.m.
- Crittenden–Flavien Prat–120
- Lieutenant Colonel–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Second Summer–Mario Gutierrez–120
- Point Piper–Martin Garcia–120
- El Huerfano–Victor Espinoza–120
- Follow Me Crev–Alonso Quinonez–120
- Hard Aces–Abel Lezcano–122
First post time on Sunday is at 2 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.