Latest Cali Dude update:
CALI DUDE on Sunday breezed three furlongs in 36, which would have ranked near the top of the 46-horse tab for that distance at Del Mar, but the clockers mixed his name up and did not include him. “He is a smooth-moving dude, with just an easy way of going,” said Jeff Lifson. “It doesn’t look like he’s going that fast.”
The pilot for the workout was Juan Leyva, a former jockey who is John Sadler’s assistant trainer and was the trusted exercise rider for the barn’s champions Accelerate and Stellar Wind. “I had so much horse after the wire!,” said Leyva, who allowed the California-bred gelding to gallop out a strong half-mile.
“He worked super, really,” Sadler said. “He will be ready to go right on to a half-mile breeze next time. The way they are writing the races I do think he has a chance to make the races at the end of the meet. We’ll let him tell us—he will chart his own course—but I am very happy with this work.”
West Point is certainly no newcomer to the two-year-old market in Southern California, having landed a number of "gems" at the old venue at Fairplex Park that was operated under the banner of Barretts Sales, including the hard-hitting, high-class gelding Awesome Gem, who scored 11 times and earned $2.9-million as a Grade 1 winner and fan favorite over the course of six racing seasons. West Point bought Awesome Gem at Barretts March way back in 2005 and continued to frequent the sale with success, right up to its final edition last year when Galilean was the sale-topper.
The Clubhouse Ride gelding is from the preeminent breeding operation in California, Harris Farms, which has stood the test of time over more than five decades as a full-scale Thoroughbred operation with a stallion roster (Clubhouse Ride stands there) as well as mares and foals, including a decorated homebred program that produced several stakes winners in this horse's female family.
Notably, the dam of the striking chestnut gelding is a sibling to two Harris-bred stakes performers: her full brother Green Team was a triple stakes-winning gelding who earned $620,827, mostly within the Cal-bred ranks, and her half brother Spot the Diplomat ($342,241) was a precocious, crack two-year-old in 2006, winning a pair of juvenile stakes at Del Mar and hitting the board in the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes that fall at Santa Anita.
"Harris Farm is legendary," said West Point EVP Jeff Lifson. "It's the best breeding operation in California. They have had a tremendous run in Southern California racing going back to the 1960s and have been a staple and foundation in some of the great Thoroughbred racing in Southern California over the last four decades.
“Cali Dude is medium-sized and very, very flashy. He has a big, strong walk, and his breeze was very good. They have deepened the track at Santa Anita for safety purposes and, going a quarter-mile, anything that was :22 or less was exceptional. He went in :22 and with a stride that was 1.6-feet above average for the session. He has all the right parts, and Jerry grew very fond of him quite quickly. As a Cal-bred and as a gelding, I can see him having a good, long and fortuitous career because I think he has some talent."
Clubhouse Ride himself enjoyed a long run in Southern California from ages to 2 to 7 and at a high level, as he was a stakes winner and Grade 1-placed as a juvenile and kept on firing through 43 career starts, including two wins in the Grade 2 Californian Stakes to go along with second-place finishes in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita and Grade 2, $1.5-million Charles Town Classic Stakes.
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