In a thrilling stretch drive, favored Ashleyluvssugar overhauled What a View to prevail by a half length in Saturday’s $ 250,000 California Cup Turf Classic at Santa Anita. Ridden to perfection by Flavien Prat and conditioned by Peter Eurton, the 6-year-old California-bred gelding by Game Plan got a mile and one eighth in 1:46.43.
As expected, What a View went to the lead under Tyler Baze and held a two length advantage mid-way around the far turn, but Prat stepped on the gas approaching the quarter pole, and it was “game-on” from there to the wire, with Ashleyluvssugar gaining the advantage in the final fifty yards.
“He got a perfect ride,” said Eurton. “I think they (Prat and the horse) are just getting to know each other. I think ‘Flavvy’ was just a little bit nervous in the paddock, but the kid is so good, so good. Other than telling him the horse likes to be outside, I didn’t say anything. That was a nice, easy lead that What a View got. I didn’t think we’d get by him for a minute there, but ‘Ashley’s’ got a lot of class.”
Owned by his breeders, Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Joe Ciaglia, multiple graded stakes winning Ashleyluvssugar, who had been idle since finishing second in the Grade II Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 25, was off at even money in a field of nine older horses bred or sired in California and paid $ 4.00, $ 2.60 and $ 2.20.
In securing his ninth win from 20 starts, “Ashley,” who is out of the Urgent Request mare, Ashely’s Folley, picked up $ 150,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $ 1,157,504.
“I had a good trip,” said Prat. “It came really easy. Once he gets the lead he doesn’t want to open up, but he knows he has to keep at least a head in front.”
Tenacious in defeat, What a View set fractions on the “firm” turf of 23.77, 47.58, 1:11.56 and 1:34.74. Off at 3-1, he finished second by a length and a half and paid $ 3.80 and $ 3.40.
Third turning for home, longshot Ward ‘n Jerry ran gamely for third, holding sway by a half length over He Will. Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Ward ‘n Jerry was off at 60-1 and paid $ 11.40 to show.
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