Betting with, and against, Straight Up G, in the California Cup Derby

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 14th, 2022

A field of six California-bred sophomores will go postward in the $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita on Saturday. The race is led by impressive King Glorious S. star #5 Straight Up G (4-5) from the barn of Richard Baltas. The Jungle Racing homebred has reeled off two facile wins in succession and hopes to make it three in his first try at 1 1/16 miles.

Straight Up G – With

  • $30 exacta 5 with 3 ($30)

Straight Up G – Against

  • $30 win #3 Fast Draw Munnings ($30)

Straight Up G ran evenly on debut when fourth in a sprint at Santa Anita as an even-money favorite, but the son of Straight Fire showed marked improvement second out when dominating maiden special weight foes at Del Mar. In his route debut at Los Alamitos, while facing stakes foes, the talented bay established the early lead and left little doubt late in his 3 1/2-length romp, which garnered him a solid 92 Brisnet Speed figure in the process.

The morning-line choice has trained well in the interim and the race goes through him and pilot Ricardo Gonzalez. Straight Up G will be formidable with another step forward, but if he regresses any in his second try at The Great Race Place, then #3 Fast Draw Munnings (4-1) will be the most likely upsetter.

Trained by Jeff Mullins, Fast Draw Munnings was a first-out winner and subsequently placed in two stakes, finishing third in both the Golden State Juvenile and King Glorious. By Munnings, the three-year-old has positional speed combined with a turn of foot, and his even third-place result behind the top pick last time out might have been better than it appears on paper.

The bay smoked a swift five-eighths on the course in advance of Saturday, and he will enjoy a fine trip following the favorite every step of the way. Drayden Van Dyke riding adds to his appeal.

I am still not convinced that #4 Finneus (5-2) will do his best work at two turns and consider him a play-against at short odds. The talented Walther Solis pupil had a fine juvenile campaign and is training fast, but I will take a stand against the late runner on this occasion.