Fury Kapcori, a dominant front-running winner of the Precisionist Stakes one month ago, brings a four-race victory streak into the $200,000 Californian Stakes May 31 at Santa Anita Park.
The Californian, at 1 ⅛ miles on the main track, is an important steppingstone to the Gold Cup at Santa Anita June 28. Both the Californian and Gold Cup are being contested for the first time at the Arcadia track this season in place of shuttered Hollywood Park. The Californian, which attracted a field of eight older runners, is race 7 on the Saturday card with a 4 p.m. PDT scheduled post. It immediately precedes the $350,000 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Fury Kapcori is on a red-hot streak of late after being a little slow to find his best form earlier in his career. He led gate-to-wire to win the 1 1/16-mile Precisionist (formerly the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap) May 3, drawing off to win by nearly six lengths over five opponents. It was the first graded stakes win for the 4-year-old Tiznow colt, who is also owned by Hollendorfer with partners Rick Awtrey and George Todaro.
A four-time winner at Santa Anita this year, Fury Kapcori drew post 2 and will carry 119 pounds. Corey Nakatani replaces the injured Rafael Bejarano Saturday. Fury Kapcori is 6-4-1 overall from 14 lifetime races with earnings of $479,880.
Fury Kapcori figures to have some company on the front end from Golden Eagle Farm Investment's Storm Fighter, a powerful 3 ¼-length front-running winner of the Tiznow Stakes for state-breds April 26 for trainer Bruce Headley. The victory was a stakes breakthrough for the 4-year-old Stormin Fever colt who won a restricted allowance/optional claiming race before that. Edwin Maldonado retrains the mount.
Majestic Harbor enters off a three-length score in the 1 ½-mile Tokyo City Cup March 29 for trainer Sean McCarthy and Gallant Stables. The field also boasts another Tokyo City winner, Westrock Stables Sky Kingdom, who won the dirt marathon impressively in 2013 but hasn't found the winner's circle in four starts since for trainer Bob Baffert.
Baffert won the Californian two years ago with Game On Dude. Last year's renewal was captured by the millionaire Clubhouse Ride, who looks to snap an eight-race losing streak since for trainer Craig Lewis. Third behind Fury Kapcori in the Santana Mile March 30, Six-S Racing Stable and Nico Petralia 6-year-old Candy Ride horse ran an even fourth in the Charles Town Classic in his most recent start April 19.
Handsome Mike was second to Fury Kapcori in the Precisionist, while Majestic City exits a third in that same race. Fly Lexis Fly, off the bench for the first time since finishing third in the Eddie Read Stakes on the Del Mar turf last July, completes the field.