01/30/2016 7:12PM

Sunday Rules beats males in Cal Cup Sprint

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Benoit & Associates
Sunday Rules, with Edwin Maldonado aboard, earns her fourth career stakes victory in the California Cup Sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A brief injury scare in mid-January only postponed a stakes win by Sunday Rules in the first month of this year.

On Saturday at Santa Anita, Sunday Rules won the fourth stakes of her career, and her first against males, in the $150,500 California Cup Sprint for statebreds.

Owner Nick Alexander and trainer Phil D’Amato intended to run Sunday Rules in the $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes, a Grade 2 race at seven furlongs Jan. 23. Sunday Rules was not entered after she was found to have an inflamed hock Jan. 18.

Sunday Rules resumed training two days after the diagnosis, D’Amato said.

Following the setback, Alexander and D’Amato waited a week and chose the Cal Cup Sprint over Saturday’s $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint on the hillside turf course. The Cal Cup Sprint was the first start against males for Sunday Rules, a 5-year-old mare by Tribal Rule.

“Nick campaigned to run her here, and the more I thought of it, the more I liked it,” D’Amato said.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Sunday Rules led throughout the Cal Cup Sprint over six furlongs, finishing in 1:08.42. Maldonado had Sunday Rules in front by a length through fractions of 21.61 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.26 for a half-mile.

Raised a Secret, the winner of the Harris Farms Stakes at the Big Fresno Fair in October, closed from fourth to pose a threat in the stretch but could not catch Sunday Rules, who won by 2 1/4 lengths.

Trainer Mark Glatt said he was satisfied with Raised a Secret’s performance but wished Sunday Rules had run in the Santa Monica Stakes.

“He ran a hell of a race,” Glatt said. “She was supposed to run last week, and if she’s not in there …”

Solid Wager closed from last to finish third, followed by San Onofre, Old Man Lake, Pay the Fine, and Richard’s Boy. San Onofre, the 6-5 favorite, won the Grade 3 Midnight Lute Stakes here on Jan. 2. Breaking from the rail in the Cal Cup Sprint, San Onofre was sixth early and never posed a threat to the winner.

Sunday Rules has won 8 of 9 starts and earned $534,840 for Alexander, who bred the mare. Sunday Rules won the Generous Portion Stakes at 2 in 2013 when trained by the late Mike Mitchell.

Transferred to D’Amato in the spring of 2014, Sunday Rules won the Spring Fever Stakes for California-breds here last May and the Kalookan Queen Stakes here on Dec. 30.