ARCADIA, CA – Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams’ homebred Pulpit Rider was eager to get back to the winner’s circle, hopping at the start before storming down the stretch to take Monday’s $200,000 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita.
Jumping up slightly after the inside gate opened, Pulpit Rider sat off the pace under Corey Nakatani while Felony One and Mo See Cal took turns taking the field through times of :22.65, :46.51, and 1:11.37. Hitting the top of the stretch three-wide, Pulpit Rider rallied hard to the front in deep stretch, and the Mike Puype trainee drew off late to finish first by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:35.80 for the mile-long turf test.
“This is such a testament to Mike,” Nakatani said. “He said she’s doing better than ever over the grass and that her family loves the grass. I love winning races, and this is just such a tribute to Mike and his team. He really knows how to settle them down and get their mind right. I was just trying to be a quiet passenger on her back.”
The 3/5 favorite One Fast Broad wasn’t fast enough this time, settling for second by a 1/2-length over X S Gold, with Mo See Cal fading late to fourth, missing third by a neck. Nice Ice, Carpathia, and Felony One completed the order of finish. Ismelucky was scratched.
Pulpit Rider’s victory was her first since taking a 6-furlong allowance race over the Santa Anita dirt on October 8 and improved her record to 7-3-0-1 with career earnings of $194,536. The 3-year-old daughter of Lucky Pulpit was most recently a late-charging third on January 19 over the 6 1/2-furlong downhill turf course.
“Corey sure waited today; he did good,” Puype said. “Big turn of foot out of her today, wow. She’s more than a Cal-bred. She’s just getting there mentally. And the turf was excellent. She ran well (over the turf) in her last, so we wanted to give her a try in here.”
Pulpit Rider returned $7.60 to win, $3.60 to place, and $2.20 to show. One Fast Broad brought back $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while X S Gold paid $2.80 to show.