01/25/2014 6:57PM

Santa Anita: Susans Express wins California Cup Oaks as longest shot on the board


ARCADIA, Calif. - Susans Express won her first stakes, her turf debut and gave trainer Jorge Periban his first stakes win with a massive upset in Saturday’s $201,500 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Susans Express was fourth early and took the lead in the final furlong to win the one-mile turf race by 1 1/4 lengths as the 65-1 longest shot in a field of 14 3-year-old California-bred fillies.

Susans Express ($132.40) was timed in 1:34.72. By Decarchy, Susans Express gave Desormeaux his second stakes win on Saturday. He won the $125,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint earlier in the day with Ciao Bella Luna.

“She carried me,” Desormeaux said of Susans Express. “I just drove her.”

Desormeaux had Susans Express in fourth for the first half-mile, stalking pacesetter Norastone through early fractions of 22.22 and 45.84 seconds. Susans Express advanced to second in the stretch and was in front late.

“She bulled her way through there,” Desormeaux said.

Susans Express finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of 6-1 Anniversary Kitty, who finished a nose in front of 11-1 Rovenna. Anniversary Kitty closed from 11th to finish second, while Rovenna was third throughout.

Periban wanted Desormeaux to keep Susans Express near the front to avoid trouble in a crowded field.

“She’s got speed,” Periban said. “I told him, ‘Put her in good position because there will be a lot of traffic.’ ”

 Harlington’s Rose finished fourth, followed by Alasharchy, Princess Genevieve, Sprague River, Cal Gal, Kulaluka, Chilada, Swiss Lake Yodeler, Sprouts, Norastone, and Water Issues.

Susans Express has won 2 of 6 starts and earned $143,140. Bred by Ed Delaney, and owned by him in partnership with Elliston Black, Saul Carillo, and Periban, Susans Express won her debut in a $50,000 claimer for California-breds at Del Mar last August.

Susans Express was beaten in her next four starts, including a sixth-place finish in an optional claimer for sprinters here on Jan. 2 when she raced without blinkers for the first time.

Periban made sure that Susans Express wore blinkers on Saturday, and that Desormeaux knew the strategy.

“I made a mistake to take the blinkers off,” Periban said. “The jockey did a good job.”