Predicting the 2022 Pasco Stakes and California Cup Derby

Predicting the 2022 Pasco Stakes and California Cup Derby

A new season of horse racing is just starting to warm up in the dead of winter for all the colts that just turned three on New Year’s Day. The prize at hand is a coveted spot in the biggest stakes race on the schedule come this May.

This Saturday’s card at both Tampa Bay Downs on the East Coast and Santa Anita Park out on the West Coast offer a pair of races for three-year old Thoroughbreds looking to earn a spot on the 2022 Kentucky Derby Trail. A win on Saturday would go along way towards accomplishing this goal.

All the action starts in Florida with the running of the ungraded Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs . Covering seven furlongs on the dirt, the field of three-year old’s for this sprint currently has eight contenders listed as probable by Horse Racing Nation.

The field for this year’s ungraded California Cup Derby at Santa Anita in Southern California is still coming together. This race covers 1 1/16 miles on the dirt and it is also open to three-year old Thoroughbreds.

After breaking down the probable fields for each of these races, here are my top choices to finish in the money.

2022 Pasco Stakes Picks

When: Saturday, January 15th 2022

Where: Tampa Bay Downs

Win: Provocateur

Trained by Todd Pletcher and sired by Into Mischief, there are high hopes for this Kentucky- bred colt coming off an impressive victory at Tampa Bay Downs to close out his juvenile campaign. He covered six furlongs on dirt in 1:11.50 to win that Maiden Special Race event.

Place: Cattin

This Florida-bred colt should feel right at home at this track. Trained by Ralph Nicks, he finished in the money in three of four races at Florida race tracks last year. This performance includes a victory in the six-furlong Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay on Dec. 4. His winning time in that race was 1:10.90.

Show: Gold Special

The odds may be a bit longer on this Florida-bred three-year old in Saturday’s race as a value pick. Trainer Angel Rodriguez is trying to move this gelding up in the ranks after he closed out his two-year old racing season with a victory at Tampa Bay in a seven-furlong effort on the dirt track.

2022 California Cup Derby Picks

When: Saturday, January 15th 2022

Where: Santa Anita Park

Win: Straight Up G

This California-bred colt appears to be the strongest contender in this projected field. The son of Straight Fire closed out his juvenile season with a victory in the ungraded King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12. His winning time in that one mile run on dirt was 1:36.88. He is trained by Richard Baltas.

Place: Finneus

My second choice for Saturday’s race finished second to Straight Up G in the King Glorious in his final race as a two-year old. Trained by Walther Solis, the son of Stay Thirsty was able to finish in the money in six of his seven events last year, including two of three at Santa Anita.

Show: Highland Ghost

This is another California-bred colt trying to race his way onto the Kentucky Derby Trail. Trained by OJ Jauregui, he is coming off a very productive juvenile campaign with five runs inside the top three in seven races. This includes a victory at Golden Gate on Dec. 31 in a 5½-furlong Allowance Claimer.