2014 California Cup Oaks & Derby

Santa Anita’s California Cup Oaks

Swiss Lake YodelerOn Saturday January 25th, 2014 we have the California Cup Oaks and California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park. The $200,000 California Cup Oaks is the 7th race on the card at Santa Anita and will feature a field of 14 California bred or sired 3 year old fillies traveling 1 mile on the turf. Swiss Lake Yodeler looks to be the favorite in this one. She’s coming off of a pair of stakes wins including a 2 ¼ length victory in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Santa Anita and a 1 length win in the Soviet Problem Stakes at Hollywood Park. The Jerry Hollendorfer trained filly will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano and certainly looks like the one to beat in this race. She has no turf experience to date, but I don’t feel that this will be a problem for her. The other Hollendorfer filly entered is Princess Genevieve and she could pose a threat as well. Mike Smith will get the mount here and I look for her to stalk the pace if she should have a chance at winning. Should she rush out and battle for the lead early, I’m afraid she won’t be able to hold it. I have 2 value/longshot plays here that I believe could upset this field. The first is Anniversary Kitty who is trained by Craig Dollase and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani. I look for a late run and a strong finish by this filly. My second choice is the Parx Racing invader, Norastone. Although she has never ran on the turf, she is undefeated in 2 starts and has the best speed figure of this bunch. I feel she will be overlooked by the public and ready for a big pay-off.

Santa Anita’s Gold Cup Derby

AotearoaThe $250,000 California Cup Derby will be the 10th race on the card for Saturday at Santa Anita and will feature a field of 11 California bred or sired 3 year olds battling it out over 1 1/16 mile. Jerry Hollendorfer’s Tamarando should be the favorite in this one. Bejarano will get the mount and Tamarando should be tough to beat. In his 8 race career, he has been no worse than 4th, winning the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity and the Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood. He ran a disappointing 3rd in the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood, but looks to redeem himself here. The real speed in this bunch in my opinion is California Chrome. He recently won the King Glorious at Hollywood by 6 ¼ lengths ridden out and if he stalks the pace here, I think he could be the real threat in this race. For value, I like Aotearoa. Aotearoa has the potential to make a closing charge with Tamarando and should do well with Gary Stevens at the helm. I was really impressed with this horse’s efforts in both his win in the Zuma Beach and his second place finish in the Grade 3 Generous and I look for a lot more from him, especially with the guidance of Stevens. Good luck everybody!




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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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