As a prelude teaser to the big weekend, on Thursday, the $70,000 plus Big Bear Stakes is to be run over a mile on the main track, and it has two Harris connected horses. Rousing Sermon, a son of Lucky Pulpit, tries to make it two-in-a-row and add to his $600,000 bankroll for his owner/breeder Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. Soi Phet, coming off a GI third at Santa Anita last out, will try to get back on the winning side; having won four-in-a-row prior to his third place finish in the Awesome Again on September 28th. This son of Tizbud has earned $260,000 and was bred by ARCHA Racing Inc. he was foaled and raised at Harris Farms.
Friday’s third race is the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile: a mile race on the main track for California bred two year olds. The early favorite is Tamarando, a Bertrando colt out of Tamarack Bay foaled at Harris Farms and owned by breeders Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. Tamarando won the G1 Del Mar Futurity in September and was third in the G1 Frontrunner in his most recent start, and has already banked over $273,000. The second favorite in the race is California Chrome, by Harris resident stallion Lucky Pulpit out of Love the Chase (the Williams also own Lucky Pulpit). California Chrome was foaled and raised on Harris Farms soil, and won the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar. California Chrome was bred by owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, and has won over $100,000. Also foaled and raised at Harris Farms is Better Bet, a Southern Image colt out of Short Sentence. Coming off a seventh place finish in the G1 Frontrunner, Better Bet is bred, owned, and trained by Mike Harrington.
The fourth race Friday is the $200,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies, which is also a mile for California breds. Harris owned and bred filly Moving Desert is one of the early favorites and should run well fresh, with solid works through October. Moving Desert last ran August 28th at Del Mar, running third in the Generous Portion Stakes. Previously at Del Mar she ran second to California Chrome in the Graduation as the only filly in the race. Sired by Harris freshman stallion Desert Code, a Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner himself, Moving Desert is out of the Capote mare Cinema Paradisa. Trained by Blake Heap, she will be ridden by Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens for the first time and has earned $98,640 to this point in her career. Two other fillies in the race were born in the Harris foaling barn: Rovenna and Swiss Lake Yodeler. Swiss Lake Yodeler is a daughter of Swiss Yodeler out of Domasco Lake and is also owned and bred by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams. Rovenna is owned and bred by Donald Dizney and is by Vronsky out of Amadameprez.
Gervinho highlights the fifth race on the card, the Grade 2 Twilight Derby going a mile and an eighth on the turf. Gervinho is by perennial leading California sire Unusual Heat, who resides in the Harris stallion barn, and is out of Foreverinthegame. The three year old colt has three wins and two seconds in six starts for earnings over $269,000, and won the Oceanside Stakes on opening day of Del Mar. Coming off an excellent second in the G2 Del Mar Derby on September 1st, the only time Gervinho has been worse than second was a very credible fifth place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Bred by Madeline Auerbach and Barry Abrams, Gervinho is owned by Keith Brackpool, trained by Carla Gaines, and will be ridden by Santa Anita leading rider Rafael Bejarano.
Saturday racing will begin with the Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes, a $100,000 dash down the hill. Alpine Luck drew the 6 hole under Corey Nakatani and will try to get his first win since the Hollywood Juvenile Championship in July. Alpine Luck has bankrolled $162,034 with two wins in seven starts and is coming off a third place finish in the Speakeasy Stakes October 14th at Santa Anita. Sired by the exciting Harris owned and bred sophomore stallion Lucky J. H. out of I Can Yodele, Alpine Luck is owned and bred by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington.
The third race Saturday is the Grade 3 Senator Ken Maddy Stakes for fillies and mares three and up, going down the hill for a $100,000 purse. Unusual Heat daughter Unusual Hottie will be looking for her third career stakes win, and her eighth win in seventeen starts, for earnings over $389,000. Out of the Brazilian mare Branca Como Neve, Unusual Hottie is owned by her breeder Seyyad Nilforushan and trained by Jeff Mullins.
The Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf is the fifth race on Saturday’s card, offering a $2,000,000 purse over a mile and a quarter. Tiz Flirtatious is coming in strong off a G1 win September 28th in the Rodeo Drive and a six furlong bullet work October 25th in 1:11.80. Tiz Flirtatious was born and raised at Harris Farms and sired by resident stallion Tizbud out of Masquerade Belle. She boasts earnings of $774,800 with eight wins, three seconds and one third in only twelve starts. Owned and bred by longtime Harris client Pam Ziebarth, Tiz Flirtatious is trained by Marty Jones and will be ridden by regular pilot Julien Leparoux.
Saturday’s sixth race is the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Filly and Mare Breeders’ Cup Sprint, going seven furlongs on the main track. Ismene is a four year old mare by Tribal Rule out of Never to Excess. Never to Excess was bred and raced by Harris Farms and is a half sister to Lucky C.H., the dam of Lucky J. H. Ismene was the California champion two year old filly in 2011, and has three wins and four seconds in nine starts for earnings of $236,990. Bred by owner Steve Ferraro, Ismene ran second October 12th in the California Distaff Handicap. She is trained by Bill Spawr and has regular jockey Mike Smith aboard.
The $2,000,000 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile is the eleventh race Saturday. Unusual Heat colt He Be Fire N Ice will be contesting from the seven slot for owner Cicero Farms and trainer John Sadler. Bred by St. George’s Farm out of Deputy Tombe, He Be Fire N Ice has five wins in fourteen starts for earnings of $332,330 and is coming off consecutive second place finishes in the City of Hope Mile and the Del Mar Mile, both Grade 2 events.
Good luck to all this weekend, and may all the races be safe and free of controversy. Have a great Breeders’ Cup!