Soundly beaten by Straight Up G when they last met, Red Baron's Barn and Rancho Temescal's Fast Draw Munnings turned the tables on his heavily favored rival Jan. 15 at Santa Anita Park in the $192,000 California Cup Derby, winning by a neck.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Fast Draw Munnings, a California-bred colt by the Kentucky-based stallion Munnings , raced 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.99. He became the third stakes winner of the year for Munnings following earlier victories in the Smarty Jones Stakes from Dash Attack and Sir Alfred James in the Holiday Cheer Stakes.
The California Cup Derby was the first of five stakes at Santa Anita Saturday, all for state-breds.
The seeds of Straight Up G's defeat were sown early, as Highland Ghost, under Flavien Prat, went to the early lead from his rail post position with Straight Up G lapped on him through splits of :23.56 and :48.01. On the second turn, the favorite seemed poised to take charge with six furlongs in 1:13.52, but Fast Draw Munnings was firing from a stalking position at that stage, too.
"The main thing was hoping somebody went with the favorite. I mean that horse got away with an easy lead last time and we thought that if somebody goes with him, I told Drayden to make sure he gets a good jump out of there and be right off their heels," said winning trainer Jeff Mullins. "It worked out, the one horse went with the favorite and I think kind of softened him up and gave us the opportunity to get by.
"It's kind of waiting game most of the time, so we will just enjoy the moment now and see what comes up for him. Obviously, he's pretty versatile. I think he can go one turn, two turns, and he may even like the turf. With these kind of Cal-breds, you have to jump wherever you can and I think he's proved that he can."
Bred by Glenn Porter, Fast Draw Munnings ($10.40) is the first foal out of the Bedford Falls mare Zuzu's Petals. The dam, a six-time winner, also has a yearling filly by Classic Empire and was bred to Clubhouse Ride for 2022.
A first-out maiden winner going 5 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos Race Course Sept. 17, Fast Draw Munnings was most recently third, beaten 5 1/4 lengths by gate-to-wire winner Straight Up G, in the one-mile King Glorious Stakes against state-breds Dec. 12 at Los Alamitos.
In his fourth career start, Fast Draw Munnings notched his first stakes win and second overall victory. He increased his earnings to $170,600.
Straight Up G was brave in defeat, finishing 3 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Finneus.
"I knew it was going to be a good battle because (Straight Up G) kicked on when I asked my horse to go, but my horse dug in," said Van Dyke. "I've always loved this horse. He's kind of a hard-headed horse, he doesn't give you all that he has but he showed what he could do today and I'm proud of him."
Later on the card, Double L Racing's Aligato unleashed an impressive turn of foot to take the $196,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes Presented by City National Bank going away by 1 3/4 lengths. Ridden by Prat, the 5-year-old Kitten's Joy gelding ran the 1 1/8 miles on a firm turf course in 1:48.29. He is trained by Mark Glatt.
Leggs Galore, trained by Phil D'Amato and a homebred for William Sims, landed a repeat victory in the $153,500 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint Stakes Presented by John Deere when she drew clear by 2 1/4 lengths under Ricardo Gonzalez. The 5-year-old Bayern mare clocked about 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course in 1:12.99.
Alfred Pais' homebred Brickyard Ride went wire-to-wire in the $151,500 Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint Stakes after capturing the 2021 edition in similar fashion for trainer Craig Anthony Lewis. The 5-year-old son of Clubhouse Ride, piloted by Juan Hernandez, stopped the timer in 1:09.54 for six furlongs. He won by 1 3/4 lengths.
Making just her second lifetime start, Nick Alexander's homebred Rose Dawson rallied from last to win the day's final stakes race on the card, the $202,000 Leigh Ann Howard California Cup Oaks. Trained by D'Amato, the 3-year-old daughter of Grazen scored by a length under Prat with a mile on turf in 1:36.07.