01/25/2014 8:12PM

Santa Anita: Weewinnin springs 21-1 surprise in California Cup Turf Classic

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Injury kept Weewinnin off the track for 11 months in 2013.

After that long of a layoff, a few seconds of suspense was not an issue for his backers in Saturday’s $251,500 California Cup Turf Classic at Santa Anita.

Jockey Joe Talamo had Weewinnin on the rail on the turn of the turf race over 1 1/8 miles, waiting for running room behind the pacesetters. When space developed, Talamo urged Weewinnin to the front in early stretch and guided the 4-year-old gelding to a 21-1 upset win in the year’s top race for older California-breds.

Weewinnin ($44.80) finished 2  1/4 lengths in front of 10-1 Stoney Fleece, who was a neck in front of 9-2 Jules Journey. Summer Hit, the 6-5 favorite, set a quick pace of 23.45 and 46.88 seconds but faded from contention in the final furlong.

Weewinnin was fourth for the first six furlongs, racing on the inside.

“We had a great trip,” Talamo said. “I was able to sit behind the two horses in front. I could see that [Summer Hit] was starring to get tired, and I was able to get through.

“I had a ton of horse,” Talamo said. “For a mile and an eighth race, they went a fast pace. My horse loved the distance.”

Huntsville finished fourth, but was only a neck behind Stoney Fleece. Lucky Primo, the winner of the 2012 California Cup Classic, finished fifth, followed by China Prince, Empty Headed, Maybe Tuesday, Summer Hit, Jonny’s Choice, Unusual Meeting, Hittheroadrunning, Tiz a Minister, and Affrettando. 

Weewinnin races for E-Racing.com, Bill and Jill Gray, Janet Lyons, and Jeremy Peskoff. By Comic Strip, Weewinnin has won 3 of 6 starts and $281,880.

Weewinnin was the 60-1 upset winner of the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park in December 2012. Weewinnin was eighth in the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes open division here in January 2013 before being sidelined.

Trained by Brian Koriner, Weewinnin returned to racing at Hollywood Park in December, finishing second in an allowance race over six furlongs on turf.

“He ran great last time,” Talamo said. “He probably needed the race.”

Saturday, all Weewinnin needed was a bit of luck.