12/28/2012 4:53PM

Cal-bred Weewinnin ready to take next step for Koriner after upset win

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Weewinnin won the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 16.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Any respect afforded to the 2-year-old California-bred Weewinnin in early 2013 is going to come grudgingly.

Such is life for a young horse best known for winning the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 16 and paying $122.

“Until he comes back, it’s a fluke, right?” trainer Brian Koriner said.

Koriner has plans in January to reverse those opinions. Weewinnin will make his next start in the $300,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes over a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. If he runs well in that race, Koriner said he will have no hesitation in trying Weewinnin in a graded stakes for 3-year-olds, keeping an eye on the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

“You get pumped up,” he said. “That’s why everyone is in this game.”

Weewinnin won his first stakes in the King Glorious over seven furlongs, closing from fourth in a field of 11 to win by a half-length. The King Glorious was Weewinnin’s first start since finishing fourth in the Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar on Aug. 1. He was sidelined with sore shins following that race, requiring a late summer break.

Koriner began training Weewinnin in late June, shortly after the colt was purchased privately following his debut. He was owned at the time by breeders Bill and Jill Gray, who sold shares to current owners E-Racing.com, Janet Lyons, and Jeremy Peskoff. Koriner recalled earlier this month that the purchase price was $100,000. Weewinnin won his debut in a $32,000 claiming race for maidens at Golden Gate Fields on June 16 for trainer Greg James.

The purchase price seemed more like a bargain after Weewinnin earned $110,000 for the win in the King Glorious, which was part of the inaugural season of the Golden State Series of stakes for California-breds.

“We were upset because we paid pretty good money for the horse,” Koriner said after the King Glorious. “My owners had me on the line for overpaying.”

Regardless of whether Weewinnin can make the transition to compete in graded stakes, there is ample money in the California-bred division for 3-year-olds. The 2013 schedule for the Golden State Series has not been announced, but the purse of the California Breeders Champion Stakes has been doubled from the 2011 running, the last year the race was held.

Other stakes, such as the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park in April and the Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar in August, will provide lucrative opportunities in restricted company.

The colt is by Comic Strip out of Honoree Lady, an unraced 7-year-old mare by Roman Dancer. Honoree Lady is a half-sister to Iced Out, also by Comic Strip, who finished a close second in both the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes in 2004, then held at seven furlongs, and in the one-mile San Rafael Stakes in 2005.

Honoree Lady also has produced Handfull, a 3-year-old filly who has won 6 of 12 starts and $100,745 for the Grays and James. Handfull won four consecutive races earlier this year at a mile or 1 1/16 miles at Golden Gate Fields earlier this year, but was fifth in her most recent start.

With such a pedigree, Koriner said he is “not at all” worried that Weewinnin can extend beyond seven furlongs. The colt’s chance to prove just that, and to gain further respect, arrives Jan. 26.