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Intermountain Stars Ready to Shine in Handicaps at Los Alamitos

October 3, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

by Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

Tonight’s $50,000 Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap will serve as an opportunity of sorts for Kenneth and Vicky Elison’s Fast Red Leggs. Second in this race last year as the post-time favorite, he once again figures to be a major player in this season’s renewal. Already a ten-time winner from only 23 career starts, Fast Red Leggs has been in razor-sharp form all season long. Third in the Grade II Northwest Challenge Championship in July, he demolished the competition two starts back at Les Bois Park, winning the overnight stake by an impressive length and a half. Fast Red Leggs, who normally gets off to a rocket start, was knocked around at the beginning of his last race and is capable of a much stronger performance.

Another horse that figures to attract significant attention from the wagering public is Bill Hoburg’s Vis Special. He won the Northwest Challenge Championship earlier this year over the aforementioned Fast Red Leggs in early July, taking that race by a commanding two lengths. Since that start, he bested allowance rivals at Les Bois Park on July 22nd and was an ultra-game fourth in last month’s Grade II California Challenge Championship. Moreover, he inherited a plethora of class that evening, when facing standouts such as former Champion Two-year-old Gelding Leading Spirit, La Primera Del Ano Derby winner Not A Full Moon, and Champion Of Champions finalist Budj. With a clean trip, he looms the one to catch.

Mike Casselman also brings a strong chance into the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap with the hard-knocking six-year-old Chick Chasin Cowboy. This talented gelding has finished in the exacta in 24 of his 40 starts to date, underscoring both his consistency and longevity. Already a four-time stakes winner this year, he was the terror of Arapahoe Park all meet long, rattling off three stakes victories at that track alone. Most recently he finished fifth in the Pomona Championship at Fairplex Park behind 2005 Los Alamitos Million victor Value The Man, but could improve since that performance, his first start since a lengthy seven-week layoff.

Two other horses to consider are Make A Move Tonight and Sold On Special.
A winner of his last four consecutive starts, Make A Move Tonight enters this race on quite a hot streak. Sold On Special could also perform well. She was a game second behind the classy mare Rainbows N Diamonds in her most recent start at Ruidoso Downs. Additionally, she was a runner-up behind Czech N Out Ashley in the Grade I Challenge Derby Championship in 2007 and has attracted the riding service of the ever-dangerous G.R. Carter, Jr.

If tonight’s action-packed ten-race program, which features the Grade II PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby as well as the $50,000 Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap, were a 10-course feast, then race four—the Intermountain Overnight Handicap—would serve as a tantalizing appetizer! This handicap, which offers horses from the intermountain states such as Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada and Utah an opportunity to compete for solid purses at Los Alamitos, features a talented group of eight. One such out-of-towner is the Justin Clark-trained Halftime Seperator. Although he has only raced in Wyoming so far this season, this gelding’s pedigree does present a strong connection to Los Alamitos Race Course, as he is a half-brother to fourteen-time winner and multiple divisional champion Apollitical Time. Earlier in July, he was a close second in the Wyoming Bred Derby and recently turned heads with a flashy 350-yard work here at Los Alamitos in 18 seconds flat.

Another dangerous contender in this contest could be Mark Skeen’s Quick Pro Quo. Fourth in the Bitterroot Derby in May, he enters this race after a sharp victory over allowance foes in Boise, where he defeated older rivals for the first time.

Trainer Bill Hoburg also brings a formidable one-two punch into this race with Honor Me Good and Stoli Powered. Narrowly defeated by a nose in the Fort Dodge California Challenge in August, Honor Me Good brings an imposing record of four wins from six starts at this racetrack. Additionally, Stoli Powered could also be a handful. Already a two-time winner this season, he finished a closing fourth in July’s Northwest Derby Challenge and always seems to turn in a strong effort.