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Hard Hitting Heads Deep $500K Futurity Field

October 2, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

Hard Hitting (#8) wins his PCQHRA Breeders Futurity trial convincingly on September 13. Rieda Hay Worth (#5), 1 lengths back, also qualified for the final
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
by Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The gifted colt Hard Hitting, already a major futurity winner after scoring in the Governor’s Cup Futurity this summer, will headline a talent-laden field of 10 2-year-olds in Saturday’s $500,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity at Los Alamitos.

Never worse than second in his five-race career, Hard Hitting crushed the competition in the Governor’s Cup Futurity in July, pulling away by a comfortable length at the wire. In recent years, horses like Finding Nemo and Tac It Like A Man managed to win both the Governor’s Cup Futurity and the PCQHRA Breeder’s Futurity in October. On Saturday night, Hard Hitting will try to follow in their footsteps and repeat that same feat.

Hard Hitting is owned by a syndicate that includes the following horse enthusiasts: John and Linda Cannon, their daughter, Kelli Ellis, Jane Rosenberg, Frank and Susie Kessler, Sherry Erwin, Don and Kathy Clift, Laurie Marine, Laurie Everson, John and Cindy Davidson, Arthur Gordon, April and Justine Hickey, Dick and Susie Nolen, Bill and Kathy Tobatt, and Charles, Debi and Curtis Treece.

The son of TR Dasher will enter the final after a dominant victory in his trial heat last month. Hard Hitting streaked to a nearly two-length victory over Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Rieda Hay Worth and recording the fastest qualifying-time of the evening.

“He lugged in a little bit in that race, but that’s not something I’m concerned about,” said the colt’s trainer Charles Treece. “He’s just a young horse still. Anytime you run :17.29 as a 2-year-old you’re doing it right. I think he’s an exceptionally fast individual. Our jockey Cesar DeAlba galloped him last week and told me that he’s coming into this race even better than he was in the trials. I asked him how he knew that and he just said ‘believe me Chuck, I know.’ I think he’s going to be awfully tough in this race. I’d have to say that we’re the horse to beat.”

Aside from the daunting presence of Hard Hitting in this event, the 2008 renewal of the Breeders’ Futurity also boasts a bevy of other talented runners. Such a field includes Grade I-placed sprinters Sixish and Rieda Hay Worth, regally-bred juveniles like Cartels First Card and The Stylish Side, as well as other formidable foes like the improving Jessanotheraffair and the dangerous out-of-towner Double Out.

Although Hard Hitting is the only horse in this field to have a major futurity victory to his or her credit—the Governors’ Cup is a restricted Grade 1 event—Jaime Gomez’s Sixish does bring valuable Grade I seasoning into Saturday night’s contest as well. A runner-up in both the Kindergarten and Ed Burke Million Futurities, he has faced some of the finest 2-year-olds in the country so far this year. Two races back, he dueled admirably for the lead with the undefeated sensation Foose before ending up second best. Last time out, he put away a field of eight despite having trouble at the start and not having raced in nearly three months. He should perform even better in his second start since a lengthy layoff.

Rieda Hay Worth could also be dangerous. She was soundly defeated by Hard Hitting last time out, but hadn’t raced since the Grade I Ed Burke Million Futurity in late June. In fact, it was Rieda Hay Worth who defeated Hard Hitting by a length and a quarter in the trials on June 7th and prevented him from qualifying to that Grade I event. A daughter of 1999 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity winner Worth A Look, this speedy filly by leading sire Corona Cartel carries the necessary breeding to follow in her family’s footsteps and take this prestigious event. Additionally, she was third in the Ed Burke Futurity earlier this season and is more than capable of springing the upset.

Cartels First Card and The Stylish Side could also pose a threat. A half-brother to champion 2-year-old filly Secret Card, Cartels First Card had a good showing in his most recent start, when victorious by a half-length over The Stylish Side. He also ran a strong second behind Tres Passes in the Ed Burke Juvenile Stakes earlier this year. The Stylish Side should also perform well. Out of a full-sister to 17-time winning stallion Rare Form, The Stylish Side is a three-quarter brother to the stakes-placed colt Hooked On Run. Moreover, he was a powerful winner of his Rainbow Futurity trial in July and is eligible to improve off of his last race, his first start since a ten-week layoff.

Karen Bennett’s Jessanotheraffair is also one to watch. An impressive winner of his last two races, he continues to get better with each and every start, running an improved speed figure in all four of his lifetime tries.

He also inherited a great deal of class when facing Foose in his trial to the Ed Burke Futurity, a race in which he ran a game second in only beaten by two lengths.

Finally, Lin Melton could saddle a major threat with Double Out. Owned by Dutch Masters III and Kelly Spackman, this gelding delivered a surprising upset on trial night, waltzing to a three-quarter-length victory at odds of 14-to-1. “To be honest, he kind of surprised me, too,” said Kelly Spackman, co-owner of the horse. “This was his first start in California and his first start under the lights and that can always be a pretty big challenge for these young horses. At first I was worried when he stumbled at the start, but then he scrambled around and turned in a heck of an effort. When I saw his time flash up on the board, it was a really great feeling.”

Double Out’s presence in Saturday night’s PCQHRA Futurity will complete quite the weekend for Spackman, who also sends out Checker in Friday night’s PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby. “They’re both really nice horses,” Kelly added.

“They’re also bred about the same. Both Double Out and Checker are sons of Check Him Out out of Takin On The Cash mares. Lin (Melton) and I have won some stakes races in the Northwest before and have qualified to a few out here at Los Alamitos, but we’ve yet to win a really big money one like this.

It’s a real honor anytime you qualify to a prestigious graded race like the Breeders’ Futurity. We’re thrilled right now.”

Inside the Numbers of the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity

Below is a breakdown of how each of the finalists performed in the trials. These numbers show how fast they raced during the first 130 yards and then how fast they completed the final 220 yards. While these numbers cannot show what improvements the trialists might have made in the last two weeks, they give an indication of what the strengths of each horse might be heading into the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity.

The numbers say that Hard Hitting is strictly the horse to beat in the Breeders Futurity, as he was the fastest horse out of gate and through the first 130 yards and also the fastest horse in the final 220 yards. What is interesting is that Hard Hitting was not that much better than Easily Amazed or Jessanotheraffair in the first 220 yards with only 1/100ths of a second separating their opening 130-yard times. Hard Hitting did have a solid advantage in the final 220. Sixish's :09.40 final time was the next closest but his final 1/8th clocking was still nearly a half-length slower than that of Hard Hitting.

Post Horse               1st 130  Final 220  Final time
1. Easily Amazed :07.96 :09.45 :17.41
2. Jessanotheraffair :07.96 :09.44 :17.40
3. Rieda Hay Worth :08.02 :09.52 :17.54
4. The Stylish Side :08.07 :09.41 :17.48
5. Cartels First Card :08.00 :09.41 :17.41
6. Making Choices :07.99 :09.43 :17.42
7. Double Out :08.02 :09.46 :17.48
8. Sixish :08.00 :09.40 :17.40
9. Zoomin Fool :08.04 :09.47 :17.51
10. Hard Hitting :07.95 :09.34 :17.29

Hard Hitting, c. (TR Dasher out of Chickasis, by Chicks Beduino). Half-brother to 2008 Grade 3 winner Lassen County $146,000 and stakes placed winner Secretly Seymour $86,000. Dam is half-sister to dam of SW Backin $157,000. $60,000 Los Alamitos Equine yearling.

Sixish, g. (Hawkinson out of Sixarunner, by Sixarun). Half-brother to Runner Dreamin ($64,000) and half brother to 2008 Dixie Downs Futurity winner Tisa Dream Runne ($28,000). Also half-brother to stakes winner Flysix ($53,000).
This is 1 of 5 two-year-olds (by 4 different stallions) out of Remington track record setter and 6-time stakes winner Sixarunner $154,000. Second dam is Tisa Golden Dream $137,000. $16,000 Ruidoso yearling.

Jessanotheraffair, g. (Feature Mr Jess out of First Down Affair, by First Down Dash). Dam is half-sister to Grade 1 stakes winner Deposit Cash ($562,000).
Family includes stakes winner Heart Of Darkness $237,000 and stakes winner McM Penny Game $99,000. $77,000 Los Alamitos Equine yearling.

Cartels First Card, g. (Corona Cartel out of Docs First Card, by First Down Dash).
Half-brother to Champion Secret Card ($367,000) and stakes placed winner Docs Flying Card $27,000. Dam is ($96,000) SW and half-sister to SPW Dash For Tolltac ($37,000). Family includes G1 SW Rebs Little Lulu ($174,000).

Easily Amazed, g. (This Snow Is Royal out of Amazing Take, by Takin On The Cash).
Dam is half-sister to G1 stakes winner First Easy Dash ($83,000), stakes winner Traffic Maze ($29,000), and Restricted Grade 3 stakes placed winner Looking For Dust ($94,000). 2nd dam is SW Sage Amazement ($61,000). Family includes stakes winner Wood And Wine ($261,000).

Making Choices, g. (A Regal Choice out of Waymaker Miss, By Merridoc). Half-brother to Restricted Grade 2 stakes placed winner Pritzi Miss ($48,000).
Dam is half-sister to G1 Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner Kingman Kid ($531,000). Family includes World Champion Broodmare Separate Ways, Champion Separatist ($889,000), Champion Way Maker ($617,000), G1 stakes winner Make It Anywhere ($410,000), etc. ($11,000) Los Alamitos Equine yearling

The Stylish Side, c. (The Down Side out of Stylish Form, by The Signature).
Half-brother to stakes placed winner Hooked On Run ($52,000). Dam is sister to Champion Rare Form $278,000) and half-sister to stakes placed winner Local Edition $41,000) and to dam of G1 stakes winner Six Feathers ($72,000) and stakes placed winner Jts So True ($83,000). Family includes stakes winner Cash For Milady ($144,000). $9,500 Los Alamitos Equine yearling repurchase.

Double Out, g. (Check Him Out out of Cash Her Out, by Takin On The Cash).
Half-brother to stakes winner Rail Skimmer ($72,000) and G1 SPW For Jens ($101,000). Family includes stakes winner Rhythm And Ruffles ($167,000), Grade 1 stakes winner Luva Secret ($347,000), etc. $32,000 Los Alamitos Equine yearling

Zoomin Fool, g. (Azoom out of Dashing Little Reba, by First Down Dash).
Half-brother to 2007 G1 Ruidoso F. finalist Rebel Cartel ($28,000) and to 2008 Grade 1 West Texas F. finalist Little Rebas Corona ($20,000). Dam is ($145,000) stakes winner and half-sister to stakes winner Arriba Reba ($64,000). 2nd dam is stakes winner Remarkable Reba ($72,000). Family includes stakes winner Azure Fair ($88,000). $62,000 Los Alamitos Equine yearling.

Rieda Hay Worth, f. (Corona Cartel out of Worth A Look, by First Down Dash). Dam is Grade 1 1999 PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity winner and $210,000 earning half-sister to Copafly ($83,000).