PRESTIGIOUS CALIFORNIAN IMPORTANT PREP TO GRADE I GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA ON JUNE 28
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 28, 2014)–A sensational front-running winner of his last four races, Jerry Hollendorfer’s Fury Kapcori heads a field of eight 3-year-olds and up in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Californian Stakes at 1 1/8 miles, an important steppingstone to the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28.
Dating back to 1954 at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park, the Californian traditionally served as the final major prep to the Hollywood Gold Cup and as such, embodies a rich history of winners that includes Swaps (1955), Dr. Fager (1968), Cougar II (1971 & ’72), Affirmed (1979), Spectacular Bid (1980), Precisionist (1986), Sunday Silence (1990) and Game On Dude (2012).
In what may have been his most impressive win to date, Fury Kapcori blasted five rivals in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Precisionist Stakes on May 3, winning gate to wire by 5 ¾ lengths in 1:42 flat.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Tiznow, Fury Kapcori has been ridden throughout his four game winning streak by Rafael Bejarano, who is unavailable due to injury. Accordingly, he’ll be handled by Corey Nakatani, who rode him to a second place finish five starts back on Nov. 28.
Owned by Rick Awtrey, Hollendorfer and George Todaro, Fury Kapcori is 14-6-4-1 overall with earnings of $479,880.
Trainer Bruce Headley’s upstart Storm Fighter, an impressive gate to wire winner of the one mile Tiznow Stakes on April 26, could prove to be a pace problem to the favorite. Winning by 3 ¼ lengths, Storm Fighter earned a career-best Beyer Speed figure of 104 in the Tiznow and Golden Eagle Farm homebred seeks his third consecutive win on Saturday.
A 4-year-old California-bred colt by Stormin Fever, Storm Fighter will make his fourth start of the year. He has three wins and a second from seven starts, good for earnings of $159,718.
An impressive three length winner of the Grade III, 1 ½ miles Tokyo City Cup on March 29, trainer Sean McCarthy’s Majestic Harbor cuts back in distance and approaches the Californian as a fresh horse. A close second three starts back in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Pasqual Stakes Jan. 11, the 6-year-old horse by Rockport Harbor was an even fourth two starts back in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes going 1 1/8 miles Feb. 8.
Owned by Gallant Stables, LLC, Majestic Harbor figures to get a stalking trip under Tyler Baze. With $331,764 in earnings, Majestic Harbor is 21-5-6-3 overall.
Trained by Craig Lewis, the venerable Clubhouse Ride is the defending California champion and he’ll be making his 37th start in this year’s renewal. Winless in eight starts since last year’s win, the 6-year-old horse by Candy Ride comes off a fourth place finish, beaten five lengths, in the Grade II Charles Town Classic on April 19.
With a win and two seconds from six starts at 1 1/8 miles, Clubhouse Ride, owned by Six-S Racing Stable and Nico Petralia, is 36-4-8-10 overall with earnings of $1,100,132.
The complete field for the Grade II Californian, to be run as the seventh race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Clubhouse Ride, Joe Talamo, 121; Fury Kapcori, Corey Nakatani, 119; Sky Kingdom, Martin Garcia, 119; Majestic City, Mike Smith, 119; Handsome Mike, Mario Gutierrez, 119; Storm Fighter, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 119, and Fly Lexis Fly, Tiago Pereira, 119.
First post time on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.