02/17/2011 5:34PM

Cali Baby gives away significant weight in Sydney Valentini


Cali Baby’s biggest opposition when she attempts to win her fifth straight stakes Saturday in the $100,000 Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park might be the weight she will be spotting her rivals.

Cali Baby is highweighted at 125 pounds for the one-mile race for New Mexico-bred fillies and mares, giving her nine opponents between five and 11 pounds each.

Such is the price of success. Cali Baby has been on a New Mexico-bred stakes tear since August, when she won the $40,000 Carlos Salazar at the Downs at Albuquerque. She proceeded to defeat males at the track one start later, in the $40,000 E.T. Springer on Sept. 11.

Cali Baby was then freshened and made a run at her division’s biggest prize, the $182,000 Filly and Mare Championship on the New Mexico Cup program at Zia Park on Oct. 31. She dominated the one-mile race by 9 1/2 lengths, to earn a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 84.

Cali Baby then closed out her season with a 1 1/2-length win in the $120,000 New Mexico Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland on Dec. 12. She rallied from next to last to win the six-furlong race under 124 pounds, and picks up the pound for her first start of the year Saturday.

Alfredo Juarez Jr. has the mount for the ownership of Chris Hourigan and UKUSA Stables. Cali Baby is trained by Eric Mikkelson, who is winning with 31 percent of his starters this meet at Sunland.