01/24/2015 6:46PM

Singing Kitty scores in California Cup Oaks

Benoit & Associates
Singing Kitty, with Aaron Gryder aboard, takes the California Cup Oaks.

ARCADIA, Calif. – One morning last year at Clocker’s Corner, trainer Matt Chew overheard a couple talking to one another about horses and decided to walk up, introduce himself, and take them to his barn. Brandon Hillman was so impressed that he decided to own horses with Chew, and on Saturday they won the biggest race of their careers when Singing Kitty scored a 7-1 upset in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita.

Singing Kitty ($17.40) rallied under Aaron Gryder to score a one-length victory over Heat the Rocks, the 9-5 favorite, with Light One another 1 1/4 lengths back in third in the one-mile grass race for California-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Sheer Pleasure was fourth and was followed by Patsy G and Me, Silver Starlight, Swiss Skimmer, and Tribal Express.

Singing Kitty completed one mile on firm turf in 1:35.70.

Singing Kitty was making only her second start for Chew since being claimed by Hillman and co-owners Chris Aulds and Peter Jeong at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11. In her only start since then, Singing Kitty stalked a hot pace before finishing seventh of 10 in the Blue Norther, a one-mile grass race for open company Jan. 1.

“We thought this race was a drop in class,” Chew said.

Jeong said this was the first horse he has ever owned.

“Thanks to Matt; he’s a great trainer,” Jeong said. “I’m shaking right now.”

Singing Kitty, a daughter of Ministers Wild Cat, earned a first prize of $110,000, quite a return on investment for a horse claimed six weeks earlier for $32,000. Singing Kitty had been trained by Steve Miyadi. Chew said Aaron Hesz, a local tout, “brought her to my attention, suggested we look at her.”