Rome’s Straight Up G heavily favored in Cal Cup Derby
At 0h05, on January 15, 2022 • By SANTA ANITA
A lights-out winner of his last two starts, Jungle Racing LLC’s homebred Straight Up G appears a standout versus five sophomores going a mile and one sixteenth in Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita.
One of five California Cup Day races on a 10-race program, the Cal Cup Derby will be center stage as Straight Up G and his rivals attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Art Sherman-trained California Chrome, who used the 2014 Cal Cup Derby as a springboard to glory in the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies as well as the 2014 Preakness Stakes.
Like California Chrome, the Richard Baltas-trained Straight Up G, a bay colt by red hot sire Straight Fire, out of the Sky Mesa mare Gidget Girl, comes off a big win versus statebreds in the one mile King Glorious Stakes run at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12.
“He’s doing everything really easily,” said Baltas on Friday morning. “Last time, he handled the two turns with no problem. He’s still growing, he big, he’s good looking and he’s got a good mind. Hopefully he can get this done tomorrow and then maybe we can tackle open company. He’s got size, he’s got length. The other day, he went five eighths, I got him in 59 and four (fifths), they gave him a minute and one and he galloped out (six furlongs) in 1:13 and one. He did that all on his own, he was by himself.
Owned and bred by sports talk icon Jim Rome and his wife Janet’s Jungle Racing, Straight Up G debuted as an even money favorite going 5 ½ furlongs here on Oct. 9, but finished a disappointing fourth. Subsequently off at 4-5 in a six furlong maiden special versus Cal-breds on Nov. 21 at Del Mar, he aired by 5 ¼ lengths, earning a lofty 80 Beyer Speed Figure.
Off at 2-1 in the King Glorious, he led throughout in a thoroughly dominant performance, winning by 3 ½ lengths over Finneus, who he will again face on Saturday while earning a 75 Beyer.
With Ricky Gonzalez back to ride for a third consecutive time, Straight Up G appears headed for the deep waters of the Kentucky Derby Trail should he replicate his performance in the King Glorious on Saturday.