Golden Gate-Based Passarando Ships South For Cal Cup Derby by Mike Willman/Santa Anita|01.04.2023|4:29pm Passarando A springboard to superstardom in 2014 for California Chrome, Saturday's $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., may also have a star or two in the making as seven California-bred or sired sophomores go a mile and one sixteenth. Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams' Passarando, trained by Steve Specht and fresh off a stirring come from behind win versus open company going a mile on synthetic Tapeta Dec. 3 in the Gold Rush Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, rates top billing on Saturday. A winner versus statebreds of the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile here three starts back, he'll be reunited with Umberto Rispoli, who was aboard for the Santa Anita win on Oct. 29. A gelding by Tamarando out of the Lucky Pulpit mare I'm Passing Ya Now, Passarando is in top form and is scheduled to van down from Golden Gate early Friday morning. With two stakes wins to his credit, Passarando is 7-4-2-0 with earnings of $218,830. Attentive to the pace throughout, Kirk and Judy Robison's homebred Giver Not a Taker was a game head winner of the statebred King Glorious Stakes going one mile at Los Alamitos Dec. 18 and rates a big look with Flavien Prat riding him back. Based at San Luis Rey Downs with Peter Miller, Giver Not a Taker is a chestnut gelding by Danzing Candy out of the Kitten's Joy mare Kittens Trip. Heavily favored at 1-5 two starts back in the seven furlong Golden State Juvenile, he was defeated by one length by a late charging Passarando. A winner of the six furlong I'm Smokin Stakes in his second start Sept. 9, he's a two-time statebred stakes winner with an overall mark of 5-3-1-0. Miller will also saddle Thirsty John, an impressive first-out maiden winner going 4 ½ furlongs on May 14. Idle since and based at San Luis Rey Downs, Thirsty John, who had been trained by Walther Solis, was bred in California by Terry Lovingier. A colt by Stay Thirsty out of the Discreet Cat mare Discreet Dee, Thirsty John is owned by Lovingier, Tom London and Eugene Zondlo and will be ridden back by leading man Juan Hernandez. A winner of three out of his five starts, trainer Hector Palma's Geezer showed the way to the quarter pole in the one mile King Glorious Dec. 18 but tired to check in third, five lengths behind Giver Not a Taker. Bred by Palma and Melody Conlon, Geezer is a gelding by Merit Man out of the More Than Ready mare Pat Olcott and is owned by Royalty Stable. He'll be ridden for the sixth consecutive time by Tiago Pereira. Craig Lewis will saddle upstart Crypto Ride, a Cal-bred maiden 50,000 winner two starts back who came up a head short at 50-1 behind Giver Not a Taker in the King Glorious. Owned and bred by James Shenouda, Crypto Ride is a gelding by Clubhouse Ride out of Wild Caroline, by Wildcat Heir. With Umberto Rispoli opting to ride Passarando, Crypto Ride will be handled by Hector Berrios. One of five Cal Cup Day stakes, the Cal Cup Derby is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired runners. THE CALIFORINIA CUP DERBY WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 7 of 10 Approximate post time 3 p.m. PT Thirsty John—Juan Hernandez—124 Passarando—Umberto Rispoli—124 Amigo G A—Armando Aguilar–124 Giver Not a Taker—Flavien Prat—124 Merit Song—Luis Contreras—124 Cyrpto Ride—Hector Berrios—124 Geezer—Tiago Pereira–124 First post time for a 10-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon with admission gates opening at 10 a.m.