Saturday's menu of optional races for the Semifinals and lineup of seven mandatory races for the Final Table were announced Friday morning.
The Semifinals menu of eligible tracks and race numbers (listed in order of first post time): Gulfstream 1-7, Aqueduct 1-7, Tampa Bay 1-7, Oaklawn 1-3, Fair Grounds 1-3 and Santa Anita 1-2. Players must wager on 10 these 29 races. The Semifinals will end at about 12:30 p.m. PT, at which time the top 10 entries advancing to that afternoon's Final Table will be announced.
Sunshine Millions/California Cup XXVI at Santa Anita Park on Saturday is highlighted by five stakes cumulatively worth $1 million. The 10-race extravaganza spotlighting California-bred and California-sired horses provides several deep and competitive wagering races that are natural fits for the NHC's Final Table. The last three mandatory races of the Final Table that will ultimately decide who earns the $800,000 first prize and an Eclipse Award for Horseplayer of the Year are part of the Cal Cup Day card, including two of the Cal Cup stakes.
Carded as races 7-9 at Santa Anita, those events are the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, featuring a full field of 14 on the downhill turf course at 3 p.m. (all times Pacific); an evenly matched nine-horse allowance/optional claimer for older Cal-bred sprinters at 3:30; and the featured $250,000 Cal Cup Classic with 13 of the top turf horses bred in the Golden State, the NHC's grand finale, at 4 p.m.
The mandatory Final Table races (with estimated PT post time): Gulfstream 10 (1:35 p.m.), Fair Grounds 6 (1:54 p.m.); Oaklawn 7 (2:09 p.m.), Gulfstream 12 (2:35 p.m.), Santa Anita 7 (3 p.m.), Santa Anita 8 (3:30 p.m.) and Santa Anita 9 (4 p.m.).
“The NHC Final Table is the ultimate test of a horseplayer's ability and the combination of quality horses with large and competitive fields offered by the Cal Cup provides us with handicapping puzzles appropriate for the occasion,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer and NHC Tournament Director Keith Chamblin.
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