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Hard Hitting Ready to Bounce Back in Two Million Trials

November 19, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

Hard Hitting and Cesar DeAlba return after winning their Governor's Cup Futurity trial race on July 12, 2008.
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity are scheduled for Saturday night will feature a number of 2008’s most prominent two-year-olds, each with one final chance to make a name for themselves before the season comes to a close. A dominant winner of the Governor’s Cup Futurity in July, Hard Hitting is one such a horse who will try to go out on a high note in the Two Million trials, the richest and most prestigious event for juveniles all year long at Los Alamitos.

“We gave him two months off after that win in the Governor’s Cup,” said the colt’s trainer Charles Treece. “I think that really helped him a lot going into the Breeders’ Futurity with a little bit of rest. Now he’s had about a month and a half off again since that race, so we’re hoping the same will be true with the Two Million. I think he’s the kind of a horse who really likes to run fresh.”

Last week Hard Hitting worked 220 yards in a splendid time of 12 seconds flat, an encouraging sign for his connections. “His regular rider Cesar De Alba was aboard for the work and he told me he felt really good underneath him,” added Treece. “We just let him cruise out there a little bit. He actually worked even further than 220 yards, probably closer to 330, but they only charted him until 220. He looked really good. No problems at all. Now we’re just waiting for trial night.”

Following his memorable length score in July’s Governor’s Cup Futurity, Hard Hitting turned in the fastest-qualifying time to the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity. Unfortunately he didn’t run back as well as many thought he would in the finals, finishing fourth by a length and a quarter. “I think his trial win took quite a bit out of him,” Charles added. “He ran really fast and really hard. Anytime you go 17.29, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

At first I didn’t really like him being all the way out there in the ten post, but I don’t think that ended up being a factor. I think he was just tired. Hopefully the rest will do him some good. When he runs next week in the trials, hopefully he’ll just run his race and get qualified and leave something left for the finals. Cesar (De Alba) knows he doesn’t have to push him.”

After the running of the Breeders Futurity final, Hard Hitting came up with a minor case of pharyngitis or more colloquially referred to as a sore throat. The time off has suited Hard Hitting well and it could be that it is his rivals that will be swallowing hard when they have to face the TR Dasher colt. Regardless of how Hard Hitting finishes out the meet, Treece and the rest of his connections are eagerly awaiting his three-year-old campaign.

“He’s paid into three different derbies at Los Alamitos and we’re really excited to see him run in those,” Chuck commented. “What we’ll probably do is turn him out for about two months at first and skip the Winter Derby trials. You always like to save some for their three-year-old year, so hopefully we’ve done that with him.”