June 19, 2024

Faversham hopes to do brother California Chrome proud in Cal Cup Derby

Faversham, shown finishing second in his sprint debut, stretches out for the Cal Cup Derby (Benoit Photo)

A chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit and Love the Chase trained by Art Sherman is in the California Cup Derby. A flashback to California Chrome, who romped in this state-restricted race on the way to 2014 Kentucky Derby (G1) glory?  No, it’s his full brother Faversham, making his stakes debut in Monday’s $200,000 renewal at Santa Anita.

While “Chrome” was already a battle-tested stakes veteran by this point, later-developing Faversham enters as a once-raced maiden. Bred by Perry Martin and Steve Coburn but owned entirely by the Martins, Faversham made a promising career debut January 15. He broke last in the eight-horse field, then rallied off a fast pace to finish second to the more experienced Violent Ridge. Faversham shaped like a youngster who already wanted longer than that six-furlong trip. He’ll get it here on the stretch-out to 1 1/16 miles, at the cost of a stiff class hike. Stewart Elliott has the return call on the sentimental choice, possible to get bet a bit from his 5-1 morning line.

Clear favoritism rests with the Bob Baffert-trained Heck Yeah at 9-5. Unbeaten in his two starts so far in sprints, the Acclamation colt is bred to be effective around two turns. He romped in his Los Alamitos debut in December and successfully switched to turf for the California Cup Turf Sprint on Santa Anita’s downhill. Hall of Famer Mike Smith picks up the mount.

Intimidate may be the best value as a 6-1 chance proven around two turns in stakes. In addition to taking the Cal-restricted King Glorious at a mile, the Bob Hess Sr. trainee was most recently third versus open stakes company in the California Derby at Golden Gate. Bob Hess Jr. tries to counter his father with a pair of longshots in Fire When Ready and Kaleidoscope Kid, who recently ran one-three in a starter/optional claiming event.

Other contenders include Lucky Romano, twice second to Intimidate but now reuniting with Rafael Bejarano for the first time since his maiden conquest; Campaigner, third to both Heck Yeah and Intimidate in their respective stakes scores; Continental Divide, a son of Animal Kingdom who’s aiming to recover the form of his Graduation win last summer; Hardboot, a turf maiden winner switching surfaces and reverting to Cal-restricted ranks after failing to factor in the Eddie Logan; George from Tahoe, trying dirt off his state-bred maiden win; and Black Site, a 12-length maiden claiming romper in his first outing for the William Morey barn.


The co-feature on Presidents’ Day is the $200,000 California Cup Oaks, but the fillies clash over a mile on turf. Mick Ruis’ One Fast Broad ranks as the 3-5 favorite on the strength of her resume. Twice a stakes winner in Cal-restricted company in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies and Soviet Problem, the daughter of Decarchy has done well on the bigger stage when second in both the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf and the course-and-distance Blue Norther last out. Flavien Prat takes over at the helm.

X S Gold, a smashing maiden winner at Del Mar two back, was a troubled sixth in the Blue Norther for Jim Cassidy. Pulpit Rider, drubbed by One Fast Broad in her stakes victories on dirt, may prefer turf judging by her closing third down the hill.

The Uncle Mo filly Mo See Cal may be a sleeper at 10-1. A Reddam Racing colorbearer from the Doug O’Neill barn, she was a slow-starting fourth to X S Gold but improved to break her maiden in her second turf attempt.

The maiden Nice Ice has had excuses in her two losses but faces a bigger class test, Ismelucky’s form has declined over time, Carpathia would need to move up dramatically on turf, and last-out Golden Gate maiden winner Felony One looks up against it after taking seven tries to break through.