Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Californian Stakes comes our way this Saturday, May 30 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. Horses three years old and upward will take to Santa Anita's dirt track and go 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $200,000 purse.
Nine older entries have been confirmed for the Californian Stakes - race 8 on Santa Anita's Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:00 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes - a major prep for the $500,000 Grade 1 Gold Cup June 27.
Moreno - has looked good in three starts this year - a terrific win over Shared Belief among others in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic April 18, a third in the Grade 2 New Orleans Stakes at Fair Grounds March 28 and a second behind Shared Belief in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7. He struggled before that - a fourteenth place finish, 33 lengths behind Shared Belief in the Breeders' Classic followed a ninth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup September 27. This after good second in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga August 30 and a terrific win at 10-1 odds in the $1.5 million Grade 1 Whitney Stakes in front running fashion August 2. Other good results include a good second in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap July 5, a third behind Game On Dude and Imperative in the 2014 Charles Town Classic April 19, a win in the 2013 Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes by seven lengths and a pair of good seconds - in the 2013 Travers and in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx September 21, 2013. Moreno has four wins, eight seconds and four third place finishes in 26 career starts and has definitely been trending upward ahead of this race. Cornelio Velasquez gets the mount Saturday from post 7.
Catch a Flight - Argentinean bred Gary Mandella trainee had six wins and a third place finish at home before debuting in North America with a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming January 19. He has three starts since that race - a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming February 13,a respectable third behind Shared Belief and Moreno in the competitive Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7 and a nice win last time out in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes here May 2. He has improved every start on North American soil, has won two of his last three starts overall and hopes to keep that trend going Saturday. Gary Stevens gets the call from gate 9.
Big Cazanova - Argentinean bred Peter Miller pupil has 21 career starts with four wins, six seconds and six third place finishes and was last seen running a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in January. Before that he finished fifth in the Grade 2 Las Vegas Marathon here October 31 and he posted a nice gate-to-wire win in the Grade 3 Native Diver at Del Mar November 29. He placed in nine group stakes races at home but was a disappointing seventh in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park September 27 in his graded stakes debut. His other North American starts resulted in three wins, a second and two third place finishes in six starts - all Allowance races. Big Cazanova hits the track for the first time in five months in inconsistent form (a win and two fifth place finishes in his last three starts overall) with Tyler Baze in the saddle from the rail.
Sammy Manderville - Doug O'Neill trained colt has 13 career starts with two wins, three seconds and a third place finish and posted a career best effort last time out - a second behind Catch a Flight in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes here May 2. He finished ninth in two other graded stakes tries - one coming two starts back - April 11 in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. Before that result was a win and a second respectively in a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming races on this track- the win by 6 1/2 lengths in a 1 1/16 mile race. Rafael Bejarano has the mount Saturday hoping to get Sammy Mandeville his first stakes win - from the outside post 9.
Blue Tone - Robert Hess trained gelding has 15 career starts with five wins, three seconds and two third place finishes. He made his graded stakes debut in November and finished a very respectable second in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Del Mar and followed that with another good result - a third behind Hoppertunity in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita January 10. He went on to a seventh place finish in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park February 7 but bounced back with a nice win by an impressive 2 3/4 lengths in the competitive listed Santana Mile here March 29. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 3 Precisionist Stakes on this track May 2. He also posted consecutive wins at Del Mar last summer - the overnight Harry F. Brubaker Stakes August 30 and an Allowance Optional Claiming August 3 and has been decent since. Blue Tone hopes for his first graded stakes score when he leaves from gate 6 with Kent Desormeaux guiding him.
Bailoutbobby - Doug O'Neill pupil has 29 career starts with five wins, three seconds and six third place finishes and arrives having placed in his last three starts overall - a third last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 8 followed a second in a similar race in April and career best effort - a good second in March on this track in the Grade 3 Tokyo City Stakes. Bailoutbobby looks for his first stakes score Saturday in decent form when he leaves from gate 2 with Drayed Van Dyke in the reins.
You Know I Know - John Sadler trained gelding has placed in just one of his last five starts overall - that being a second last time out in an Allowance Optional Claiming here May 8. Before that was a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming, a seventh in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, a fifth in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes here February 7 and a six month layoff. He also had a disappointing eighth in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August. You Know I Know hasn't looked great lately, will be looking for his first stakes score and will depart from post 3 with Edwin Maldonado aboard.
Hard Aces - John Sadler trainee has failed to place in his last two starts - both graded stakes. Last time out was a sixth in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap April 11 after an OK fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 7. Before that was a nice four length win in the minor Louisiana Handicap January 17 with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure and a second in the minor Tenacious Stakes in December. His only other graded stakes action resulted in sixth in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap at this time last year. Hard Aces looks for his first graded stakes score in so-so form Saturday from gate 4 with Victor Espinoza in the irons.
Lideris - made his North American debut June 28, 2014 trainer Peter Miller and finished fifth in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and has been disappointing since - a ninth in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup last time out way back in September followed a seventh in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap in July. He had a good win in the Group 1 Gran Premio Asociacion Latinoamericana de Jockey Clubes e Hipodromos in Peru March 15, 2014 after a second and a fifth in stakes action on that same track to start last year. He also ended 2013 with a Grade 2 score - the Clasico Hipodromo de Monterrico. Lideris was successful at home and hopes are that his success finally translates to North America in his first start in eight months. Joe Talamo gets the call from post 5 Saturday.