Smokey Image runs away with Cal Cup Derby at Santa Anita
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Smokey Image romped to an 8 1/2-length victory over six rivals in the $250,000 California Cup Derby for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Smokey Image ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.39 and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10.
Tough It Out returned $5.40 and $3.80, while Xingontothebone was another 6 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $4.80 to show.
Espinoza was aboard Smokey Image for the first time, while Carla Gaines took over as trainer of the Cal-bred colt after his most recent win at Del Mar on Oct. 30.
''He reminds me of California Chrome,'' said Espinoza, who rode that colt to victories in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. ''I was expecting him to run a big race. He showed me that he can go the distance and he showed me that he can run with any horse, Cal-bred or not. Hopefully, I can get my next Kentucky Derby.''
The victory, worth $137,500, increased Smokey Image's career earnings to $435,100 and improved the horse to 6-0.
In the $250,000 Cal Cup Turf Classic, What a View took command turning for home and won by 3 1/4 lengths under Kent Desormeaux.
The 5-year-old gelding trained by former jockey Kenny Black ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.39 and paid $10.20, $4.60 and $4.
''Kent knows what he's doing, he's won a few more of these than I have,'' said Black, who registered his biggest win as a trainer. ''He knows this horse.''
Alert Bay returned $4.20 and $3 as the 2-1 favorite, while Boozer was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $5.60 to show.
The victory, worth $137,500, increased What a View's career earnings to $294,148, with four wins in 10 starts.
In the $200,000 Cal Cup Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, Pacific Heat won by 5 1/4 lengths in her turf debut under Flavien Prat.
She ran one mile in 1:35.75 and paid $3.80, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 4-5 favorite in the field of eight.
Patriotic Diamond returned $3.60 and $2.40, while Cheekaboo was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $3.40 to show. Peter Eurton trained the winner and third-place horse.
The victory, worth $110,000, increased Pacific Heat's career earnings to $250,250, with three wins in four starts.
In the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf, Velvet Mesquite rallied four-wide at the top of the stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Ridden by Desormeaux, Velvet Mesquite ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:13.14 and paid $7.80, $4.60 and $3.20 as the 5-2 favorite.
Qiaona returned $7.60 and $4.60, while Heavens Stairway paid $5.60 to show.
The win, worth $90,000, increased Velvet Mesquite's career earnings to $433,446, with five wins in 19 starts. The 6-year-old mare had been 0-7 last year.
''She just strutted her stuff today,'' Desormeaux said. ''I was so confident after only 50 yards.''
In the $150,000 Cal Cup Sprint, Sunday Rules took on the boys for the first time in her nine-race career and won by 2 1/4 lengths.
Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Sunday Rules ran six furlongs in 1:08.42 and paid $5.80, $4.80 and $3.80.
Raised a Secret returned $11.40 and $7.40, while Solid Wager was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $5.80 to show.
The victory, worth $90,000, increased Sunday Rules' career earnings to $534,840, with her eighth win.