Californian Stakes 2014 Contenders & Odds

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California will play host to the Grade 2 Californian Stakes on Saturday, May 31. The race will featured horses three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/8 miles on Santa Anita's main track in search of the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.

A field of eight will line up in the Californian - race 7 on Santa Anita's Saturday card. Post time is 4:00 PM. Here is a brief look into the past performances of all eight entries for this Grade 2 stakes - an important prep for the Gold Cup June 28.

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2014 Californian Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Fury Kapcori - enters the Californian absolutely on fire - four straight wins this year - all on this track including the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes in gate-to-wire fashion by six lengths May 3 and the minor Santana Mile Stakes March 30. He has 14 career starts with six wins, four seconds and a third place finish but never has he looked better than now. Corey Nakatani has the mount from post 2 Saturday on the hottest entry in the field.

Storm Fighter - has just seven career starts for trainer Bruce Headley with three wins and a second place finish. He enters on a tidy two race win streak - in the minor Tiznow Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths last time out here April 26 and an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track April 5. His only graded stakes action came a year ago - a sixth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He looks for his third straight win Saturday from gate six with Edwin Maldonado in the saddle.

Californian Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders

Majestic Harbor - took to the track for the first time since May and finished a good second behind Blueskiesnrainbows in the Grade 2 San Pasqual at 17-1 odds here January 11 and followed that with an OK fourth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes on this track February 8. Last time out he had a career defining win - by three lengths in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup on this track March 29. Before his layoff Majestic Harbor finished fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs and had two off-the-board finishes in graded stakes action - a fifth in the Grade 3 Texas Mile and a sixth in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. He now has five wins, six seconds and three thirds in 21 career starts and will be looking for his second straight graded stakes score with Tyler Baze aboard from post 7.

Sky Kingdom - will race for the first time since August for trainer Bob Baffert which was a fourth in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar. This after a good second in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap and a third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. He won two of three starts to begin 2013 including a career highlight win in the 2013 Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup in this track in March 2013. Sky Kingdom has four wins, a second and two third place finishes in 13 career starts and has been good in his recent limited starts but has spent more than his share of time on the shelf. Martin Garcia has the mount from post 3 as Sky Kingdom looks to break a four race losing streak.

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Clubhouse Ride - finished second in four straight races to start 2013 including the Charles Town Classic behind Game On Dude, the Big Cap and the Grade 2 San Antonio and then went on to a terrific win in the last year's Californian when it was at Hollywood Park in June. He failed to place in his next five starts however - a fifth in the minor Joe Hernandez Stakes February 23 after a fourth in the minor Ralph M. Hinds Handicap in September, a fifth in the minor Harry F. Brubaker Stakes in August, a sixth in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap in July and a fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup three weeks earlier. He enters having finished fourth last time out in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic April 19 after thirds in two straight races - behind Fury Kapcori the minor Santana Mile Stakes March 30 here and the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes March. Clubhouse Ride has just four wins in 36 career starts and enters this weekend in so-so form looking to snap an eight race losing streak. Joe Talamo rides from the rail Saturday.

Handsome Mike - has just three wins in 26 career starts including out of nowhere in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby in September, 2012 and in April, 2013 at the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes - the only time he placed in his first nine starts last year. He has been better lately placing in three of his last five starts overall - a third in the Grade 3 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park November 28, a third in the Grade 3 San Simeon Stakes April 13 and a second last time out behind Fury Kapcori in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes here May 3 but he also had an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and an ugly tenth Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile October 5 sandwiched in there. He has certainly been trending upward as of late and will be looking for his first win in over a year Saturday. He starts from post 5 with Mario Gutierrez guiding him.

Majestic City - Ron Ellis pupil started his career in 2011 with three straight wins including the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship. He had been up and down since but has placed in five of his last six starts overall including a win in the minor Big Bear Stakes here in October, a second in the Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate in November, a second in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap in March at Oaklawn Park and a third last time out behind Fury Kapcori and Handsome Mike in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes here May 3. He leaves from post 4 Saturday looking to keep the roll going with Mike Smith aboard.

Fly Lexis Fly - Peter Miller pupil and two time Peruvian classic winner hits the track for the first time since July Saturday - a third in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar. Before that was a third in an Allowance and an eighth in the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes on this track in January, 2012. He has 12 career starts with three wins, two seconds and three third place finishes but hasn't posted victory on North American soil. He hopes to snap that streak after a long layoff from the outside post with Tiago Josue Perteira in the reins.

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