Professors' Pride vulnerable in California Cup Oaks

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

January 14th, 2022

A full field of 12 three-year-old fillies will contest Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita. The one-mile grassy affair attracted a talented field in what I believe to be a very good betting race. Soviet Problem S. queen #7 Professors’ Pride (5-2) has been excellent from two dominant wins to kick off her career for conditioner Eddie Truman, and she looms as the one to beat off the strength of her victories.

The $60,000 daughter of Bayern debuted at Del Mar on Nov. 14 and ran to her 8-5 odds when posting a sharp win while going six furlongs. Facing stakes foes last time out at Los Alamitos, the well-meant filly led from the break and was never seriously challenged en route to a three-length score. The bay now moves to the lawn for her initial try on the green, and while she hails from a female family full of turf performers, there are still reasons for concern.

Professors’ Pride earned a 90 Brisnet Speed figure on debut, but she regressed to a 75 number in her Los Alamitos performance. She continues to train forwardly this campaign, and though she is bred to be good on the green, the three-year-old has never run or worked on the sod (based on her officially recorded moves). The Golden State-bred lass has endured dream voyages in each of her races to date, to her credit, but she will likely have to deal with adversity for the first time in a big field on Saturday. And her regular pilot Juan Hernandez opted for another contender in the field, as well.

I have a lot of respect for Professors’ Pride and consider her to be a fine prospect who could ultimately be best on the turf as she goes forward. She is quick, has a nice turn of foot, and is bred to improve with more seasoning for a very good horseman. But in this particular spot, I feel that she is a bet against, at expected short odds.

The Cal Cup Oaks gives me the impression of a race where it would be wise to spread with multiple contenders to close out your multi-race wagers. #1 Big Novel (4-1), #3 Vivacious Vanessa (4-1), and #11 Rose Dawson (7-2), are the most logical upsetters in the field, while a case can be made for both #6 Eleuthera (15-1) and #8 Dendera (12-1) for those going deeper in the finale.

Here is how I plan to attack the vertical exotics:

Cal Cup Oaks Wagers

  • 50-cent trifecta: 1,3,11 with 1,3,6,7,8,11 with 1,3,6,7,8,11 ($30)
  • 10-cent superfecta: 1,3,11 with 1,3,6,7,8,11 with 1,3,6,7,8,11 with 1,3,6,7,8,11 ($18)