10/10/2009 12:00AM

Cowboy Cal digs deep to win Oak Tree Mile


ARCADIA, Calif. - Cowboy Cal should never leave Santa Anita.

In Saturday's $150,000 Oak Tree Mile, Cowboy Cal won his third stakes of the year at this track. In five starts at other tracks this year, he has no wins.

Better yet, Cowboy Cal's next start will be at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, likely in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Cowboy Cal ($5.20) led throughout the Grade 2 Oak Tree Mile, holding off a late threat from Global Hunter to win the turf race by three-quarters of a length in 1:33.12. The Oak Tree Mile was part of the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program, assuring an automatic berth to the BC Mile on Nov. 7 to the winner, subject to the payment of entry fees.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Cowboy Cal set an honest pace of 23.46 and 46.09 seconds, leading by as many as 1 1/2 lengths over Monterey Jazz. The lead remained 1 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole, and diminished in the final sixteenth, but Gomez was able to keep Cowboy Cal in front.

Global Hunter finished a half-length in front of Whatsthescript in a field of eight. Monterey Jazz, who won the Grade 2 American Handicap in July, faded to finish seventh.

"I think Garrett rode an excellent race," said John Adger, the racing manager for Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable. "He ran a fast race."

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cowboy Cal was second in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 28. Bred by Stonerside, Cowboy Cal has won 7 of 17 starts and $1,001,810. The Oak Tree Mile win made Cowboy Cal a millionaire.

"Todd and his crew have managed the horse beautifully," Adger said. "He's been a sound horse. The idea to run him in the Mile or the Dirt Mile, and I think we're leaning toward the Mile."

Long-term, Cowboy Cal will remain in training at 5, and he will be based at Santa Anita after the Breeders' Cup, with more chances to add to his success. "He'll be here all winter," Adger said.