In what figures to be his final start versus state-bred competition for the foreseeable future, heavily favored Galilean made short work of four rivals as he waltzed to a 4 1/2-length win in Monday's $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the imposing son of Uncle Mo got 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.43.
Also won by 2014 Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome, the Cal Cup Derby is part of the lucrative Golden State Series for California-bred or sired horses.
A reserved third, about a length and a half off of early pacesetter Loud Mouth around the Club House turn, Galilean, who fetched $600,000 at the Barretts April 2-year-old in Training sale, took undisputed command while three-wide a quarter mile from home and won like a colt with the Kentucky Derby on his mind.
“It's quite exciting because he's done everything right so far,” said Prat. “Like everyone else though, he needs to improve of course, but it's exciting to win this time of year. He's a good 3-year-old.
“He relaxed well. In his last race he went to the lead, but today, he had speed to his inside and sat off them and stayed relaxed, was breathing well and made a good move.”
A nine-length winner of the one mile King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos Dec. 16, Galilean, who is out of the El Prado mare Fresia, was off at 1-9 and paid $2.10 across the board.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Denise Barker and William Sandbrook, Galilean picked up $110,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $261,000 from and overall mark of 4-3-1-0.
Longshot Feeling Strong rallied from last to run a big second, finishing 10 lengths in front of Whooping Jay. Off at 27-1, Feeling Strong, with Tiago Pereira up, paid $6.20 and $3.20.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Whooping Jay was off at 26-1 and paid $3.40 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.95, 47.85, 1:11.60 and 1:36.71.
“We have a whole bunch of options (for his next race),” said Hollendorfer. “There are a lot of races everywhere for him and we're nominated everywhere, so we'll try to make a good decision as to where to run next.
“I don't think (distance) is an issue. We wanted to take advantage of him being a Cal-bred, take advantage of giving him another race and running here. That's what we wanted to do and that's what we did.”
Jeff Lifson of West Point added, “We pointed for this after he ran so big winning the Los Al race. I don't think we necessarily were thinking (on duplicating) what California Chrome did; we just wanted to give him one easy enough for his 3-year-old start and then see what happened.
“Understandably, we have a Hall of Famer (Jerry Hollendorfer) who is calling the shots here and he's got a great staff as well. My sense is we don't come back for the San Felipe but that's just a guess and Jerry's gonna make the real call there. I think we'll look for one of those 50-point (Kentucky Derby qualifying) races in March and then maybe come back here in for the Santa Anita Derby or one of those early April races where they have 100 points on the line.
“We have some newbies (owners) on this particular horse which is such a cool thing but the best part about this partnership is they are all wonderful people and have a ton of fun.”
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