Updated on 09/15/2011 2:21PM

Officer, right back


ARCADIA, Calif. - Officer, the beaten odds-on favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park last Saturday, has been entered for Saturday's $125,000 California Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, and trainer Bob Baffert said there's a better than 50 percent chance that Officer will run.

Despite a cross-country trip from New York by Officer, Baffert said he was impressed with the way Officer galloped at Santa Anita on Wednesday, the day entries were drawn. He said that Officer will run without blinkers and will be ridden by Gary Stevens, who replaces Victor Espinoza.

"He was full of himself this morning," Baffert said. "I'm still puzzled by that race. Victor said he ran five-eighths of a mile and quit. I don't know why he shut it down. Maybe he couldn't get his air."

Officer, who won the Champagne Stakes last month at Belmont Park, is the lone Grade 1 winner this year on the 10-race California Cup program, which is for statebreds and includes seven stakes and three starter handicaps.

The Juvenile is the second race on the program and will not be part of the $1 million guaranteed pick six, which will be held on races 5 through 10.

The most lucrative race is the $250,000 California Cup Classic, run over 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

Irisheyesareflying, winner of the Grade 3 Longacres Mile Handicap at Emerald Downs in August, is the expected favorite against eight others.

Owned by Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corporation, Officer finished fifth in the BC Juvenile after contending for the lead to midstretch. He finished 5 1/4 lengths behind Johannesburg. The Juvenile was Officer's first loss in six starts, a span that included four stakes wins. Last weekend, Baffert said Officer would not start until the Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park Dec. 15.

"If I don't run him, I'd have to work him, and I don't want to sit on him for two months," Baffert said on Wednesday. "If we saw something by the end of the week, we wouldn't run. He'll run, unless the Prince decides otherwise."

Officer drew post 10 of 14 in the Juvenile, run over 1 1/16 miles, and will be the shortest price of the day.

"He'll get two-turn experience with a big field," Baffert said. "We'll find out more about him. If he gets beat, he'll get beat, but I don't think he'll get beat."

Baffert downplayed the jockey switch, saying that Officer was Stevens's mount from the start but that Stevens was unable to take the mount during the summer because of a family commitment.

"This will give Gary a chance to get to know him," Baffert said. "[Saturday's loss] wasn't Victor's fault. I think I might have undertrained him."

An overflow of entries

There are 111 entries for the 10 Cal Cup races, but no more than 107 will start. The $150,000 California Cup Distaff for fillies and mares, over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course, drew 18, but the field will be limited to 14. Dusty Heather, who finished second last year, shares top weight of 118 pounds with Fair Apache, who was fourth in the Sen. Ken Maddy Handicap here on Sept. 26.

Irishesyesareflying is the 122-pound highweight in the Classic, but will not be a heavy favorite. The presence of Figlio Mio (119) and Romanceishope (118) make the Classic a competitive race.

Figlio Mio finished second to El Corredor in the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap over a mile on Sept. 2. Romanceishope has excelled on turf and dirt this year, winning the $250,000 Snow Chief Stakes for statebreds on the main track at Hollywood Park and the Del Mar Derby on turf.

The $150,000 Sprint drew six runners, the smallest field of the day. The field includes Ceeband and Gibson County, the first two finishers in the California Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows on Oct. 6.

The Sprint is the third race and not part of the pick six.

One of the more difficult pick six races is the $175,000 California Cup Mile, run as the eighth race. Native Desert makes his fourth consecutive appearance in the Mile. An 8-year-old, he was third in the 1998 Mile, first in 1999, and second last year to Road to Slew.

Native Desert won his last start in the California Turf Championship at Bay Meadows on Sept. 3, finishing in a dead heat with Spinelessjellyfish, who also starts in the Mile.

Native Desert will go favored as part of an entry with Ringaskiddy, who won the $100,000 Quicken Tree Stakes on California Gold Rush Day last April at Hollywood Park.

Tiznow to be paraded

Tiznow, the two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, will be paraded in the walking ring before the Cal Cup Classic.

Trainer Jay Robbins said Tiznow will not make an appearance on the racetrack, partially out of concern that the excitement could leave the 4-year-old too wound up. Instead, he will return to the barn after the field leaves the paddock.

"We'll probably tranquilize him," Robbins said.

Tiznow became the first two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic last Saturday at Belmont Park. A California-bred, Tiznow has won eight of 15 starts and $6,427,830. He has never started on California Cup Day.