Updated on 09/17/2011 12:10PM

He's the Rage - and the target


ARCADIA, Calif. - A hot pace enabled He's the Rage to score an upset victory last month in the California Cup Juvenile, and he should get a similar opportunity Friday in the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes, the supporting feature to another seven-furlong race, the Grade 1 Malibu, on the opening-day card at Santa Anita.

There will be plenty of folks lining up to knock off He's the Rage, however. His winning Beyer Speed Figure in the 1 1/16-mile Cal Cup was nondescript, and the competition among this group of 2-year-olds figures to be stiff. Don'tsellmeshort should appreciate a return to a sprint, and several others in the 11-horse field appear to have some upside.

Trainer Jim Cassidy was generously rewarded for his aggressive handling of He's the Rage going into the Cal Cup. He's the Rage was quite inexperienced, finishing third going six furlongs in his lone previous start, and in the Cal Cup, he stretched out around two turns and met horses who were far more seasoned.

It did not matter. He closed resolutely to win by a widening four lengths.

"His Cal Cup was huge, especially considering what he had done," Cassidy said. "He went into it virtually an unproven maiden."

Since then, however, He's the Rage was hit with an illness that struck a number of young horses in the stables at both Santa Anita and Hollywood Park.

"He got sick on me about a month ago," Cassidy said. "He missed about 10 days. He had a cough and a bit of a temperature. I had to wait until it was over. I've jammed two works into him since."

A return to a sprint is another hurdle, though this might be the least difficult.

"His first race was at six furlongs, and I didn't think he could get up, but if you watch the tape you'll see he should have," Cassidy said. "I'm not worried about the turn back. He might appreciate it."

So too should Don'tsellmeshort. He finished third in the Cal Cup Juvenile but won sprint stakes at Fairplex (Barretts Juvenile) and Del Mar (Graduation Stakes) before that.

Race for Glory is back with his Cal-bred friends, whom he clobbered by seven lengths in Oak Tree's Cavonnier Stakes, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 98. He subsequently finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Profuse beat maidens in his second start, after finishing second to Raw General in his debut. Profuse and Raw General drew the inside posts in Friday's race.

Watch Over Me is an intriguing longshot. Although still a maiden, he was second against open company in his lone start Dec. 7.

Friday's race is the first of several stakes opportunities for Cal-breds throughout the winter. The next likely spot for most of these horses will be the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash, which pits Cal-breds against Florida-breds, at Santa Anita on Jan. 24.

Cal-bred fillies have their $125,000 version of the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on Saturday. Silent Sighs, an unlucky loser to House of Fortune in the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies, is expected for that race, as are Nicole and Ben and Yearly Report. House of Fortune is bypassing Saturday's race after running in last weekend's Hollywood Starlet.

The race for 3-year-old fillies on the Sunshine Millions program is at Gulfstream Park.