Updated on 09/17/2011 6:45PM

Cozy Guy, 20-1, gives Hendricks big lift

Benoit & Associates
Cozy Guy and Corey Nakatani pull a $43.20 upset in the California Cup Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It would be hard to imagine a 20-1 shot who provided a more popular victory than Cozy Guy, who on Saturday gave trainer Dan Hendricks his biggest victory since being paralyzed in a motorbike accident in July when he won the $250,000 , the richest race of the 15th Cal Cup at Santa Anita.

Cozy Guy and Lava Man, both 3-year-olds and both longshots, hooked up at the top of the stretch and drew clear of their rivals. Cozy Guy, with Corey Nakatani up, gained the advantage in the final yards and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:47.70 for 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track.

Anziyan Royalty was another five lengths back in third. Excess Summer, the 8-5 favorite, stopped badly and finished last in the field of 10.

"This is great. It really picks us up," said Hendricks, who joked that everything is the same, "except I can't get around as quick as I used to."

That steely resolve has served Hendricks well through his ordeal.

"I don't do a lot of shoveling and mucking out stalls, but I never did," Hendricks said. "Look, this could have happened in a car wreck, a motorcycle wreck, or on a horse. It happened. Either I can sit at home and cry, or I can go on and deal with it. This helps me deal with it, makes it a lot easier."

A son of Alphabet Soup, Cozy Guy ($43.20) had finished a distant second in the Pomona Derby in his previous start. That marked his stakes debut. He was claimed in August 2003 for $40,000 by Hendricks for owners Jeff and Lance Hayes and Dan and Jerry Higman. Entering Saturday's race, Cozy Guy had won four times, but never at anything higher than an entry-level allowance race.

"Dan did a great job with him and I'm so happy it all worked out like this," Nakatani said. "It's a great story."

* The other Cal Cup winners: Dream of Summer (Matron), Test the Waters (Distance), Ata Olympio (Starter Sprint), Texcess (Juvenile), Ring of Friendship (Starter Handicap), Areyoutalkintome (Sprint), Our Mango (Distaff), A to the Z (Mile), and Lady Truffles (Juvenile Fillies).