08/02/2012 3:06PM

Santa Rosa: Boise star Wups tries turf, big leagues in Robert Dupret Derby


The undefeated Wups has been favored in all three career starts but is unlikely to be favored when he enters the gate for Saturday’s Robert Dupret Derby at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.

Winners of the $5,000 Boise Open Derby don’t get much respect when they venture out of Idaho, particularly when they are about to make their turf debut.

Trainer Paul Treasure is confident going into the race – not that Wups will beat his six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds but that he will prove very competitive.

“He’s different from any horse I’ve ever had,” said Treasure. “He’s high energy, but he’s not crazy.”

And though he’s raced only in Idaho, Wups can match breeding with any runner in the field. He’s by Petionville, a multiple graded stakes winner, and out of the In Excess mare Purely Excessive.

Petionville lists the Grade 3 La Jolla on the turf as one of his graded stakes wins. Wups’s half-sister Very Vegas won stakes on the turf, and his full brother All Man, won twice on the turf and placed in stakes.

So bring on the turf.

Wups’s Beyers have increased with each start, from 38 for his maiden win to 43 for his victory in the Thoroughbred Maiden Derby to a 47 for his one-length score in the June 27 Boise Open Derby, at one mile his first race around two turns. He covered the distance in 1:40.40. While Wups’s Beyers can’t compare to some of his opponents’ figures, he earned a “much the best” comment from the chart-caller for his first two races and ran wide in the Boise Derby. In all three races, Wups came from several lengths back.

“His wins have been awfully easy up there,” said Treasure. “His style looks like it will work well on grass. He’s pretty manageable. He lopes along and really finishes strong.”

Treasure and David Walker purchased the gelding for $20,000 as the topper at a Denver sale. Wups was a $1,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland January 2010 sale.

“He’s a very attractive horse,” said Treasure.

Wups is definitely an “X” factor in his California debut.

In contrast to Wups’s experience in the minor leagues, Tiz Point has been racing with some of the better 3-year-old turf runners on the Southern California circuit. Trained by Richard Mandell, Tiz Point comes off a fifth-place finish in the Tsunami Slew on the grass at Betfair Hollywood Park. He won an allowance race on the Santa Anita turf in February with a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 77 and won a maiden race last fall on the Golden Gate Tapeta. Tiz Point, to be ridden by Russell Baze, has been on or near the lead in most of his races.

Also in the field are He’s Cagey and Tribal Tribute, both coming off career-best races with Beyers nearly double those of Wups. He’s Cagey earned an 88 for his second-place finish in a Pleasanton allowance last month, and Tribal Tribute got an 85 for his win in a Pleasanton starter allowance in June. He’s Cagey finished sixth in his only turf try and Tribal Tribute has never races on turf.

Coach Bob and Pepnic are both stakes placed, Pepnic on turf. Teddy the Bear has a win and a second in two turf tries.