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BackSanta Anita

California Cup a roller-coaster of emotions for Lewis

Steve AndersenJan 17, 2022

Brickyard Ride wins California Cup Sprint 1-15-2022
Emily ShieldsBrickyard Ride wins the California Cup Sprint, earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

ARCADIA, Calif. – In slightly more than 24 hours last Friday and Saturday, Craig Lewis experienced several emotions that accompany the job of Thoroughbred trainer.

Friday, Margot’s Boy was found to have a minor injury, a day before a scheduled start in the $196,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic for older California-breds at Santa Anita.

Saturday, Lewis ran the seven-time stakes winner Warren’s Showtime in the $153,500 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint on the hillside turf course, watching her have trouble and finish fourth behind Leggs Galore as the 5-2 favorite in her 2022 debut.

A race later, Lewis had another favorite in Brickyard Ride in the $151,500 California Cup Sprint. This time, events were in the stable’s favor. Brickyard Ride led throughout the six-furlong race to win his first start since August, and his fourth stakes. Brickyard Ride led by 3 1/2 lengths in the stretch and by 1 3/4 lengths at the wire, finishing six furlongs in 1:09.54.

Brickyard Ride earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 101, the second-highest of his 19-race career.

“He did it in style,” Lewis recalled Sunday morning.

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The win has launched discussions about a spring campaign that may include a trip to Dubai for the Group 1 Golden Shaheen Sprint at six furlongs on March 26 at Meydan Racecourse. Lewis said there is time to assess the candidates for the $2 million Golden Shaheen and how Brickyard Ride fits with an international field.

“It’s an open question,” he said.

Brickyard Ride won the 2021 California Cup Sprint and followed that success with his first graded stakes win in the Grade 2 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs last March. The same $200,000 race will be run March 5 and is another possibility for the 5-year-old horse, who races for Sonny Pais.

“You can’t do both,” Lewis said of the San Carlos and Golden Shaheen.

Plans for Warren’s Showtime are uncertain. She could start in a two-turn stakes on turf, although Lewis has not eliminated running her in a sprint on the hillside course.

“I think she’s better around two turns, but that doesn’t mean we won’t do it again,” Lewis said. “Down the hill, she can be victimized by a slow pace.”

Lewis did not disclose Margot’s Boy’s injury, but said the 5-year-old gelding would need a few months of recovery.

“He’ll be back,” he said.

Aligato won the Turf Classic in his stakes debut and first start around two turns, easily handling 1 1/8 miles in his fifth start. Aligato, who races for Bob Liewald’s Double L Racing and trainer Mark Glatt, had finished second by a nose in a six-furlong allowance race on turf Jan. 1. The relatively quick sequence of races will lead to a brief hiatus for Aligato.

“We’ve been a little hard on him,” Glatt said. “I don’t see him running very soon.”

The next turf stakes for California-bred males is the $100,000 Sensational Star Stakes at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course on March 20, which Glatt said is a possibility for Aligato.

Leggs Galore, who races for owner and breeder Jack Sims, won her first start since August in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint, her fourth stakes win. Trainer Phil D’Amato said Sunday that Leggs Galore might run in the Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes, a $200,000 race for fillies and mares at a mile on March 5.

“That’s the key this year, trying to get a graded stakes win,” he said.

D’Amato finished the Saturday program with a victory by Rose Dawson in the $202,000 California Cup Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf. Rose Dawson is unbeaten in two starts, having won a maiden special weight race for California-bred 2-year-old fillies at Los Alamitos last month.

There are no immediate race plans for Fast Draw Munnings and Straight Up G, who finished first and second by a neck in the $200,000 California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles. Both could appear in graded stakes for 3-year-olds to assess their abilities against open company.

Straight Up G won the $100,000 King Glorious Stakes for statebreds at a mile at Los Alamitos in December.

“I may consider him for a Derby prep,” trainer Richard Baltas said.

The California Cup Derby was the first stakes win for Fast Draw Munnings after third-place finishes in the Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar in November and the King Glorious Stakes. Fast Draw Munnings, trained by Jeff Mullins, has been ridden by Drayden Van Dyke in all four of his starts.

“He’s got a lot of talent and hasn’t shown all of it,” co-owner Tim Cohen said. “It’s kind of intriguing to wonder what he can do if he puts it all together.”

A Triple Crown prep would be a stern test for Fast Draw Munnings, a colt by Munnings who was listed as a buyback for $95,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Santa Anita 2-year-olds in training sale last June.

“He will have to step up,” Cohen said. “It’s always exciting.

“Jeff spotted him out of for me. The horse didn’t meet his reserve, and he wanted to take a go at it.”

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