2023 California Cup Derby & California Oaks Odds and Picks

The California Cup Derby is the early season trial for the three-year-olds who are aspiring to make it into the field for the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby (The Run For The Roses) which takes place this year on May 6th at Churchill Downs.

California Cup Derby

Purse $200,000 – 1 1/16 miles – Dirt – 3-Year-Old Colts & Geldings

A small elite field of seven go to post, and the likely chalk is the Steve Specht barn inmate Passarando who is chalked up at 2/1 on the early morning line odds. He is now 7-4-2-0, so clearly all eyes will be on the gelded son of Tamarando to see if he can step forward and become a live contender for the first leg of the Triple Crown, he’ll need to if he wants to compete against some of the top two-year-olds from 2022.

His record of four wins from seven starts is solid and two of his last three runs have been wins at this class level. He stretches out by another sixteenth of a mile, which will surely suit this strong closer.

One of his main rivals looks to be the Peter Miller-trained Thirsty John who broke the maiden first time here at Santa Anita back in May. He is coming off an eight-month lay and his work tab has picked up the last two weeks, and he looks to be coming into this in decent shape.

Whether he has the class first time against winners will be interesting to see. At 4/1 on the early morning line odds, he looks a bit skinny but is open to improvement being bred for routes, and Javier Hernandez sticks with this son of Stay Thirsty.

Miller also has the well-fancied Giver Not A Taker who is vying for favoritism on the early morning line prices. He was behind Passarando when they went head to head in the Golden State Juvenile back in October and that was his only defeat in four tries on the dirt.

He was a 1/5 chance that day and there seems no reason for the form to be turned around with the extra distance sure to suit Passarando.

Crypto Ride and Geezer weren’t far behind Giver Not A Taker last time, and it’s Crypto Ride who could be the one to ruffle a few feathers here. He seems to be sure to enjoy the extra distance and can turn round the form with his rival.

Amigo G A and Merit Song have already been well beaten by a number of these and face a very tough assignment and will be doing very well to hit the board here.

2023 California Cup Derby Odds & Betting Picks

No doubt who should win this race and a confident vote goes to PASSARANDO who looks likely to show even more on this stretch outin distance.

There should be enough speed on early, and he can once again close late from the top of the stretch to land the loot.

Giver Not A Taker has an excellent dirt record but it is Crypto Ride who looks like the one to follow the chalk home with Thirsty John fighting it out with his barn buddy for the show spot.

Thirsty JohnJuan J. Hernandez+400
PassarandoUmberto Rispoli+200
Amigo G AArmando Aguilar+2000
Giver Not a TakerFlavien Prat+180
Merit SongLuis Contreras+2000
Crypto RideHector Isaac Berrios+500
GeezerTiago Josue Pereira+500

California Cup Oaks

Purse $200,000 – 1 mile – Turf – 3-Year-Old Fillies

9 foes are set to go to post for this trial for the Kentucky Oaks in May, and we have an exciting race in prospect with Frankie Dettori taking the ride on the 6/1 chance Cholly who broke the maiden tag last time following a narrow defeat at this level two back behind Cast Member.

Flavien Prat rides the likely chalk here and that is Sell The Dream who gets some nice class relief after running well against tougher last time in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar.

She has the best Beyer speed figure in the race, but it will not be easy for the daughter of Munnings, and she has already been beaten by Cast Member and Cholly two back.

Cast Member is now 3-3 and surely the odds makers have the prices wrong, as at the time of writing she is a 5/2 chance. Her maiden breaker came on debut in an $82k MSW at Del Mar when beating Cholly by three lengths and she followed up against that rival two back, but this time by only a length.

She seemed to enjoy the stretch out to the mile last time and with course-winning form, she’ll be tough to keep off the board here.

At bigger odds on the boards, then the one that looks interesting is Quickly Park It 8/1, who was behind the chalk in the Jimmy Durante but was on the back foot after a bobble and slow start, yet was only a couple of lengths behind that rival.

Carole Lombard broke the maiden tag on her second try but takes on winners for the first time and a step up the class ladder. She has undoubted talent but this might be too much too early against more streetwise opponents.

Grazed My Heart is currently the 4/1 third favorite but has already been beaten by Cast Member and Quickly Park It. Not by large distances, but enough to say she’ll do very well to turn the form around with both of those. She could grab a slice underneath, but it’s a tough assignment.

Of the others, then one at a big price who could be good to include in exotics is Golden Again who is the 20/1 longshot in the field. Her form does not match up to some of her foes, but she broke the maiden tag two back and has since run a nice race in Allowance company and is definitely improving.

The move to a route the first time could bring out more in this daughter of Paynter, and the first try on the lawn adds another interesting angle with her dam being stakes placed on turf.

California Oaks Odds & Betting Prediction

The chalk Sell The Dream looks like no value at 2/1 and there are plenty here with just as good a chance on form.

There is no doubt that it will be tight between CHOLLY and Cast Member, and a narrow vote goes to the Dettori-ridden filly to bag the prize with the stretch out in distance looking a plus.

If there is to be an upset then Quickly Park It could be the one who spoils the party, and along with Golden Again, they look like two that could pay dividends to play in exotics wagers.

Carole LombardRamon A. Vazquez+800
Golden AgainTiago Josue Pereira+2000
Grazed My HeartHector Isaac Berrios+400
ChollyLanfranco Dettori+600
Quickly Park ItJuan J. Hernandez+800
Sell the DreamFlavien Prat+200
Cast MemberJohn R. Velazquez+250
Loyal to a FaultMario Gutierrez+1200

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