SPRINT IS ONE OF FIVE STAKES ON 10-RACE SUNSHINE MILLIONS/CAL CUP DAY CARD
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2015)–Grade I winner and defending champ Big Macher, along with multiple stakes winner Rousing Sermon and potential star San Onofre, head a deep and competitive field of nine older horses set to go six furlongs in Saturday’s $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint.
A bargain basement maiden $20,000 claim in his first start on July 17, 2013, Big Macher has rattled off six wins for trainer Richard Baltas, including a half length triumph in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes four starts back on July 27, and a nose victory five starts back in the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes April 12.
A troubled ninth, beaten 4 ¼ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 1, Big Macher came back to register a neck victory over state-breds in the seven furlong Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 23. Owned by Tom Mansor and Tachycardia Stables, the 5-year-old Beau Genius gelding has amassed earnings of $553,678 from an overall mark of 14-6-2-2.
Second, beaten a neck by Big Macher in the Cary Grant, Jerry Hollendorfer’s veteran Rousing Sermon will try to even the score on Saturday. Although a highly accomplished two-time stakes winner, the 6-year-old horse by Lucky Pulpit would appear better suited at longer distances. Owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, Rousing Sermon has a third place finish from just one try at six furlongs and is 30-5-7-7 overall with earnings of $756,342.
A winner of his last four races by a combined 17 lengths, upstart San Onofre appears fresh and very dangerous for trainer Karen Headley. A 5-year-old gelding by Surf Cat bred by her father, legendary trainer Bruce Headley, San Onofre has a series of serious works on his tab, including a bullet five furlongs on Jan. 10 of 58.60–best of 87 at the distance.
Owned by Matson Racing and out of the Native Regent mare Marrakech, San Onofre could prove the quickest of the quick with regular rider Mike Smith engaged. San Onofre is 5-4-1-0 with earnings of $165,040.
The complete field for the Donald Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint, to be run as the eighth race on a 10-race program Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Big Macher, Rafael Bejarano, 123; San Onofre, Mike Smith, 118; Rousing Sermon, Elvis Trujillo, 118; Frensham, Mario Gutierrez, 118; Grazen’s Hope, Tyler Baze, 118; Follini, Edwin Maldonado, 118; Marino’s Wild Cat, Martin Garcia, 123; Frumious, Martin Pedroza, 118, and Spirit Rules, Iggy Puglisi, 120.
There will be special early first post time on Saturday at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.