01/28/2017 8:09PM

Ann Arbor Eddie stays unbeaten going two turns by taking California Cup Derby

Benoit & Associates
Ann Arbor Eddie, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, is likely to get a shot at open company in graded stakes after winning the California Cup Derby.....

ARCADIA, Calif. - Ann Arbor Eddie won his second consecutive stakes for California-breds in Saturday’s $250,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita - and left winning jockey Mario Gutierrez convinced he has more ability than shown.

Ann Arbor Eddie ($7.20) caught pacesetter California Diamond, the 9-5 favorite, in the final 50 yards to win the race for California-bred 3-year-olds by a half-length. Ann Arbor Eddie ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.65.

California Diamond led by as many as 1 1/2 lengths, through a half-mile in 47.70 seconds. Ann Arbor Eddie was second for the first mile and trailed California Diamond by 1 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go. He needed the last eighth of a mile to reach the front.

“Turning for home, I asked him and I could feel him responding,” Gutierrez said. “My belief is he’s still a little green.”

California Diamond, the winner of four sprint stakes at 2, finished 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Tribal Storm, a 19-1 outsider. Mr. Hinx finished fourth, followed by Six Point Rack, Hot Smoke, and Coils Gold.

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Ann Arbor Eddie races for owners and breeders Paul and Zillah Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill. By Square Eddie, Ann Arbor Eddie beat California-bred maidens in his debut here on Oct. 29 and was third behind the highly rated Mastery and California Diamond in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes going seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 19.

In races around two turns, Ann Arbor Eddie is unbeaten. He won the King Glorious Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds at a mile at Los Alamitos on Dec. 18 by 1 1/4 lengths over California Diamond.

The Reddams and O’Neill are likely to try Ann Arbor Eddie in a graded stakes for 3-year-olds in his next start. One option could be the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles here on March 11. Gutierrez said the gelding deserves a chance in such a race.

“He’ll keep maturing and keep moving forward,” he said.

Ann Arbor Eddie gave the Reddam-O’Neill team their first win on Saturday after three seconds earlier on the program with Smoove It in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, Radish in a maiden race for 3-year-old California-bred fillies, and How About Zero in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks.