Smokey Image impresses in California Cup Derby, headed to graded stakes company

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

February 2nd, 2016


No graded racing last weekend with the California Cup being offered at Santa Anita.

Track Stats

From a total of 35 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 37 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 63 percent of the wins. From 27 frays contested on the dirt oval, 15 animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (56 percent), while one of the eight grassy runs this past week were taken in wire-to-wire fashion (12 percent).

Speed was king this past week at Santa Anita, with 15 winners leading throughout on the main oval from 27 dirt races. Of the 15, eight came in sprint runs on the biased oval.

The turf yielded a single winner in wire-to-wire fashion, though being in the mix early seemed to be advantageous.

Meet Totals












72 (36%)

2ND Choices:


37 (19%)

Turf Wire:


12 (24%)

Dirt Wire:


42 (28%)





Thursday (1/28)

1ST – Trainer John Sadler appeared to get away with one with MR OPPORTUNIST (Tale of the Cat), who recorded a fine debut win and avoided getting claimed. The sophomore colt dominated, rolling home by 11 ½ lengths, and registered a strong final time for the level.

7TH – The Clifford Sise-trained SOCIALIZED (City Zip) was passed in the lane but fought back inside the final furlong to inch clear under the line in a gritty performance. The four-year-old filly didn’t beat a top field, but she remains interesting going forward, nonetheless.

Friday (1/29)

6TH – BE A LADY (Cindago) made good off the claim and continued her fine form with a strong 2 ½-length score. The sophomore filly always appeared to be in control of this race and has rolled to four straight wins following an unplaced debut. She’ll be hard to ignore wherever she shows up.

Saturday (1/30)

1ST – ALGORHTHYMIC (Vronsky) made a fine late run and just missed going down the hill in a very solid debut try for conditioner James Kasparoff. The four-year-old filly should be graduating with expected improvement off this performance as the barn does better with experienced runners.

4TH – PACIFICE HEAT (Unusual Heat) proved that she could handle the turf with a superb 5 ¼-length romp in her grassy debut. The ultra-talented filly from the barn of Peter Eurton has now crushed three of the four fields that she has faced and should be back in the graded ranks before long.

PATRIOTIC DIAMOND (Hat Trick) looked the part in the lane in her turf debut, finishing clear of third as a nice runner-up. The Patrick Biancone pupil is a versatile sort who might eventually be best on the lawn.

5TH – If you didn’t take SMOKEY IMAGE (Southern Image) seriously beforehand, the time to do so is now. The unbeaten Cal-bred romped home in his two-turn debut and while he didn’t beat much in the California Cup Derby, the sophomore colt was tons the best and looms a chance with graded foes soon.

10TH – We had a strong hunch that SHY CARMELITA (Grazen) would be live at first asking and the Phil d’Amato trainee proved to be so, rolling home from well off the pace in a fine maiden conquer. The three-year-old chestnut is one to watch for sure, possibly on the stretch out and even a surface change in the future.

A Look Ahead

A big weekend of graded action will take place at Santa Anita. Four stakes will be offered Saturday: the $500,000 San Antonio S. (G2), $300,000 Las Virgenes S. (G2), $200,000 San Marcos S. (G2) and $150,000 Robert B. Lewis S. (G3).

Sunday’s topper is the $200,000 Palos Verdes S. (G2).