Mischief Clem pulled off a 12-1 upset in the $250,000 California Cup Derby on January 24th at Santa Anita Park, defeating Pulmarack by a determined head as heavily favored Acceptance retreated to finish fourth.
With Kent Desormeaux in the saddle for trainer Robert Hess, Jr., Mischief Clem tracked early fractions of :23.77, :48.00, and 1:12.72 set by Acceptance before moving up to take the lead at the top of the stretch. At that point, Pulmarack put in a strong challenge and secured a half-length lead passing the eighth pole, but Mischief Clem battled back to win the 8.5-furlong race in the time of 1:44.82 seconds.
Kluszewski settled in fourth early on before rallying to finish third, 5 3/4 lengths behind Pulmarack. Acceptance appeared to be in a good position after leading through moderate fractions, but gave way suddenly turning for home to finish 12 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Neveradoubt, Chanito, and Tough Sunday completed the order of finish.