Nothing has phased Heck Yeah in his first two starts, whether it was sprinting on the main track on debut Dec. 7 at Los Alamitos or coming from behind down the hillside course here in the California Cup Turf Sprint Jan. 27. He has found the winner’s circle in both.
In his first test routing, the heavily favored dark bay was challenged for the lead to his outside by Intimidate (Vronsky) around the first turn. He was a length clear passing the half-mile pole and opened up the margin while still in hand around the far turn. He kicked clear by three lengths inside the final furlong before holding off a late charge by Violent Ridge in the final strides to remain unbeaten.
“I was telling Bob that down the backstretch, I felt like I was in the Olympics (with a strong headwind), said winning rider Mike Smith.” I was trying to be as aerodynamic as possible. (The wind) was really strong and it took its toll on all of them in there…I wanted him to stay in that nice rhythm and we were able to hold them off down the lane.”
This is the first foal to race out of Lutess and hails from the family of MGSW Moment of Hope (Timeless Moment). She also has a juvenile colt named Inconceivable (Coil), a yearling colt by Surf Cat and was bred to Vronsky last year.
CALIFORNIA CUP DERBY, $201,035, SA, 2-19, (S), 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:46.60, ft.
1–HECK YEAH, 124, c, 3, by Acclamation
1st Dam: Lutess, by Maria’s Mon
2nd Dam: Alchema, by Menifee
3rd Dam: Madeira M’dear, by Black Tie Affair (Ire)
O-Robert Baedeker, Michael Pageler & Michael Sigband;
B-Michael Pageler (CA); T-Bob Baffert; J-Mike E. Smith.
$110,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $194,000.
2–Violent Ridge, 120, g, 3, Violence–Feel Ridge (Brz), by
Choctaw Ridge. O/B-BG Stables (CA); T-Hector O. Palma.
3–Continental Divide, 124, c, 3, Animal Kingdom–Bandora, by
Dixieland Band. ($45,000 Ylg ’16 BAROCT; $245,000 2yo ’17
BARMAY). O-D P Racing; B-PT Syndicate #1, LLC (CA); T-James
M. Cassidy. $22,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 3 3/4, HF. Odds: 0.90, 6.10, 13.90.
Also Ran: Fire When Ready, Campaigner, Black Site, Hardboot, Faversham, Intimidate, Kaleidoscope Kid, Lucky Romano. Scratched: George From Tahoe.