01/25/2014 7:32PM

Santa Anita: Week's wait worthwhile for Big Macher in California Cup Sprint


ARCADIA, Calif. – Who was the big shot in the $125,000 California Cup Sprint? Big Macher, that’s who.

“Macher” is a Yiddish word meaning someone who’s a big deal, or influential, and Big Macher was just that on Saturday at Santa Anita, outrunning eight rivals to record his first stakes win, and continuing a rise from maiden-claimer to stakes winner in a little more than three months.

With Rafael Bejarano aboard, Big Macher ($6.20), the second choice, corralled longshot Coach Bob just outside the furlong pole and went on to post a 1 3/4-length victory.

Coach Bob finished a half-length in front of late-running Kate’s Event, with Spirit Rules another neck back in fourth. Cyclometer, the 3-2 favorite, was fifth, and was followed, in order, by Luckarack, Mobilized, Follini, and Ourwestcoastghost.

Big Macher completed six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:08.62 while covering his final quarter-mile in less than 24 seconds.

“Rafael said he was going to take him back, but I told him if he breaks well, don’t take back, because he can kick even when he’s really close,” said his trainer, Richard Baltas.

Big Macher, starting from the outside in the nine-horse field, broke alertly and stalked Coach Bob through fractions of 21.95 seconds for the quarter and 44.62 seconds for the half before surging to the lead.

Big Macher, 4, is a gelding by Beau Genius out of the Kris S. mare Insight. He has now won 3 of 8 starts, with those three wins coming in his last five starts. Baltas claimed Big Macher out of his debut for $20,000 last summer at Del Mar on behalf of Brendan Bakir, who races as Tachycardia Stables, and Tom Mansor.

Baltas said he ran in the California Cup  instead of a first-level allowance last week that was won by the promising sprinter San Onofre.

“That’s another reason I wanted to wait a week,” Baltas said of his desire to avoid San Onofre.