ARCADIA, CA – Craig Martin homebred Fast Enough proved to be exactly that when he rallied from near the rear to neck out Sacred Rider at the wire in Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking from post 8 under Tiago Pereira at 9/2 odds, Fast Enough entered the far turn running in the six path before finding room and safely angling over toward the rail in seventh. Up front, Bettor Trip Nick was kept under an early hold before posting fractions of :23.64, :47.83, and 1:12.21.
Coming under a drive as he entered the far turn, Fast Enough tipped out to run four-wide and began sweeping past his foes. At the top of the stretch, Bettor Trip Nick stubbornly refused to yield initially, but he gave way at the 1/16 pole.
Fast Enough and 36/1 longshot Sacred Rider emerged as the top runners in the final stages, battling heads apart until the shadow of the wire when Sacred Rider stretched his neck out for the victory.
The Rafael Becerra trainee completed the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:45.23.
“I knew we had a good chance today,” said Pereira, who also won the California Cup Sprint Stakes aboard Fashionably Fast earlier on the card. “I wanted to be up closer in the first part of the race, but he settled nicely. I saved ground, and when the opportunity to make our move on the turn came, he took off and came up on (Sacred Rider) for the win.”
Though he fell off considerably at the 1/16 pole, Bettor Trip Nick was able to hold onto third, 5 lengths behind the top two finishers. Dapper took fourth ahead of Club Aspen, while Summer Fire and Indian Peak were each a nose back in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Rookie Mistake and Big Returns, both trained by Doug O’Neill, completed the order of finish in the nine-horse race.
Fast Enough’s win was his second in as many tries, having broken his maiden on May 31, 2019, before missing over seven months due to sore shins and an illness. The 3-year-old gelded son of Eddington has now earned $149,000 between his two starts.
“Until recently, I lived in Alaska, but I love Santa Anita,” Martin said. “I claimed his dam, Brilliant Melody, about five years ago for $40,000 and it didn’t work out, but I’ve been able to breed her the last five years. To be able to win a race like this at Santa Anita is beyond description.”
Fast Enough returned $11.60 to win, $8.60 to place, and $5.80 to show. Sacred Rider brought back $28.20 to place and $11 to show, while Bettor Trip Nick paid $4.80 to show.