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Dynamite Field Heads Saturday Night’s $750,000 Champion Of Champions


December 11, 2008     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The Champion Of Champions, held every year in December at Los Alamitos Race Course, is the pinnacle of achievement in the sport of Quarter Horse racing. Regarded as the finest race in the country for older horses, the Champion Of Champions has also been a strong indicator of the AQHA World Champion recipient. The Champion Of Champions winner has gone on to take World Champion honors in each of the last two years and eight of the last twelve. As is the case year after year, the 2008 running features an outstanding group of ten horses primed for a collision course in Saturday night’s event. Estimated post time is 10:31 p.m.

Leading the way in this year’s running is the enormously talented three-year-old One Famous Eagle. A dominant winner of his last seven starts, he’s been unstoppable since learning to break away from the gates in a more timely fashion. Flawless since his victory in the first trial to the 2007 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, he hasn’t lost a race in over a year, turning in one superb effort after another. The leading 3-year-old in the nation, One Famous Eagle is the 9-to-5-morning line favorite. A winner of both the Golden State Derby and the Los Alamitos Super Derby this season, he will try to end his career on a high note before retiring to stud duty at 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas at the conclusion of this season.

Another dangerous contender in Saturday’s race could come in the form of Little Bit Of Baja. Second in last year’s running of the Champion Of Champions, his connections have been targeting this race once again since the very start of the season. Last time out, he broke the 400-yard track record here at Los Alamitos in impressive fashion en route to a one and a half length score in the Z Wayne Griffin Directors Trial on November 21st. He is one of two horses in this race that will be saddled by trainer Felipe Quintero Jr, with the other being A Stoli Mate, who hasn’t been seen since a victory in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February. Perfect through two starts this season, A Stoli Mate underwent knee surgery following his win in the Winter Championship and has reportedly been training very well by his connections, as a 350-yard bullet work in 17.90 seconds from the morning of November 15th indicates.

The Quintero pair and the rest of this fine field could find opposition from Dan Francisco’s Ten Oclock Scholar. A winner of the Grade I Los Alamitos Invitational Championship in his last start, he turned in a very fast clocking for the 440-yard race in a razor-sharp 21.308 seconds. Ten Oclock Scholar has captured two of his three starts on the season and served notice that he is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Although he has been lightly started this year, he has a solid foundation to work with including a wealth of past class from 2007, where he competed in five different stakes races at this racetrack.

One other horse to watch is Double Bar S Ranch’s Jess You And I. Beautifully managed by trainer Jaime Gomez this season, Jess You And I has been campaigned with a great deal of patience and will be coming into this race in terrific form. He has also been victorious in his last two starts, besting the classy millionaire No Secrets Here in both an allowance race in late August and another quality field in the Grade I Go Man Go Handicap in his most recent start. Moreover, he is enjoying his finest season to date since 2006, when he was crowned AQHA Champion Two-year-old Gelding after a spectacular season in which his only loss of the year came in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity to Blues Girl Too.

Paul Jones also brings a strong hand into the 2008 Champion Of Champions, as he has four finalists in this race. One such a contender is Noconi, who spoiled Heartswideopen’s bid for the all-time earnings record with a gritty neck-victory in the Grade I All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs. A winner of his last four starts, Noconi enters this race in excellent form and could be primed for a winning type of performance. Another runner who you can never count out is No Secrets Here, the winner of the 2006 All American Futurity. A victim of a mild case of seconditis in 2008, he has finished second four times this season in six starts, but has failed to make a trip to the winner’s circle. Despite the lack of a win this meet, he brings an enormous amount of class into this race and his $1.6 million in earnings place him in elite company in the history of quarter horse racing.

Rounding out the Paul Jones-trained foursome is the classy filly Stylish Jess Br and the powerful horse Frankie Shoots. Never worse than third in her twelve-race career, Stylish Jess Br has turned in a number of game efforts this season, including a runner-up performance in last month’s Los Alamitos Super Derby. She gained admission to this race by winning the Grade I Mildred N. Vessels Memorial Handicap in September, which produced the winner of last year’s Champions Of Champions in Blues Girl Too. Frankie Shoots could also contend. A two-time stakes winner on the season, he impressed in the Grade I Vessels Maturity earlier this year in June. Moreover, this battle-tested four-year-old has competed against stakes company in nine of his last eleven starts and won half of his eighteen lifetime starts to date.

Finally, an interesting runner in this race is Bill Macon’s Chances Are I Wil. This Oklahoma-invader was denied a victory in last month’s Grade I Bank Of America Challenge Championship by a short nose after finishing second by two-thousandths of a second at the wire. Prior to that, he scored a flashy win in the Central Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows in early August and a runaway victory in the Grade I Remington Park Invitational in June. He is one of two horses, along with Noconi, who will be making his first start at his racetrack in the Champion Of Champions.

Special Website Unveiled for Champion Of Champions

For information on the prestigious Champion of Champions, Losalamitos.com has unveiled its Champion of Champions webpage at http://www.losalamitos.com/laqhr/cofc2008/. This page offers historical information on the Champion of Champions, plus notes, profiles and handicapping information on the 10 contenders racing in this great racing on Saturday, December 13. We invite you to join us for this great weekend of races, which will also include on Sunday, December 14 the running of the Grade 1 Southern California Derby. Enjoy this great lineup of Quarter Horse racing at Los Alamitos Race Course.

For everything you need to know about this year's Champion Of Champions, including program pages and freepast performances, go to http://www.losalamitos.com/laqhr/cofc2008/.