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Hulapai to headline Dillingham Handicap

April 22, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The $30,000 Dillingham Handicap will feature the third start of the year for the emerging three-year-old star Hulapai on Friday at Los Alamitos. Already a four-time winner, he enters this race off of a dominating win last time out at the allowance level. A two-length winner in that event, he bested a pair of Grade I finalists in BF Regal Rage and Cartels First Card. Aside from the impressive company that he defeated, Hulapai also recorded the fastest 300-yard clocking of the meet, scorching the distance in a blistering fast
15.08 seconds.

Perfect through both of his starts so far this meet; Hulapai also defeated the talented Corona With Lime and PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity finalist Easily Amazed in his 2009 debut back on February 14th. An earner of $56,350, he qualified to the Grade I Ed Burke Million Futurity last season, where he was beaten less than three lengths by last year's AQHA Champion Two-year-old Colt Foose.

Standing in his way will be the Paul Jones-trained Oh So Chilly. A wire-to-wire winner in his last start, he easily handled a field of allowance contenders by a half-length, earning a 99-speed index for the effort. Additionally, the last time he and likely post-time favorite Hulapai met, he got the better of the two in the 2008 Los Alamitos Million Juvenile Stakes, finishing a narrow third behind the two-time stakes winner Vrrroom and last year's Governor's Cup Futurity champion Hard Hitting.

Following his effort in the Million Juvenile Stakes, Oh So Chilly finished third behind a group of $25,000 claimers, but was bothered at the start of the race. With a clean break away from the starting gates, this consistent son of Tres Seis figures to turn in another big effort tonight.

Fire Is On also deserves a look. Very lightly raced for a three-year-old, Fire Is On has shown a great deal of promise in limited starts this meet. Victorious in his first two starts this season, he qualified with the fastest time to February's Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes. Although recent El Primero Del Ano Derby winner Royal Proclamation defeated him, he overcame a slow break from the starting gates to finish a game third in that event. Third again in his most recent start, he was bumped repeatedly throughout the 300-yard allowance test, but should run better with a better trip.

Another contender is Jaime Gomez's Tabasco Perry. He first served notice of his talent last November at Zia Park, streaking to a sensational three and a half length maiden victory despite stumbling at the start. Eighth next time out in his trial to the Grade II Sunland Winter Quarter Horse Futurity, he appeared to have no chance after being shuffled back at the break following an awkward start. Unfortunately, a poor break away from the starting gates would cost him in his lone start here in Southern California as well, as he finished fifth in his local debut here at Los Alamitos after a nightmare trip. A nicely bred colt out of Ruidoso Futurity finalist First Royal Goddess, he worked well over this oval in January and appears capable of springing the mild upset.

The full field for the Dillingham Handicap
Post Horse             Jockey
1 To Shay Cameron Colledge
2 Check Out Corona Eduardo Nicasio
3 Bud Cheeks Juan P. Andrade
4 Fire Is On Santiago Mendez
5 Oh So Chilly Ramon Sanchez
6 Belmont Miracle Francisco C. Rubio
7 Tabasco Perry Alex Bautista
8 Hulapai Rodrigo Aceves

Remembering Dillingham

Friday's feature race honors Lowell Dillingham, son of magnate Walter F. Dillingham, and an ardent supporter of Quarter Horse racing at Los Alamitos in the 1970s and 1980s. Dillingham bred several outstanding horses including Go Chickie Go, a stakes winner and earner of $84,286, who would be named the 1980 PCQHRA Broodmare of the Year.

The master of Meadow Creek Ranch, Dillingham's racing operation was the recipient of the PCQHRA Breeder of the Year Award in 1980 and 1987. His top runners include 1977 PCQHRA top 2-year-old filly Easy Della Jet and 1980 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Ettago Chickie, winner of that year's Kindergarten Futurity. His Quarter Horse Triple Champion was also the 1982 leading Cal-Bred Money Winners stallion. He also bred the stakes winner Sunshine Rockette, who earned a high-speed index of 101.

Lowell Dillingham oversaw the merger of Hawaiian Dredging and the Oahu Railway in 1960 to form the Dillingham Corp., transforming the family business into a public company. In 1961, he won the contract to build the 43-story Wells Fargo building at Post and Stockton streets in San Francisco.

In 1966, Lowell's company constructed Hawaii's Ala Moana Shopping Center, the largest in the world at that time. In 1972, it completed the Hyatt hotel on Union Square, San Francisco and in 1979 it built the New Melones Dam in Sierra Nevada. In 1989, Dillingham's company helped repair the Bay Bridge after Loma Prieta earthquake.

A business visionary, Dillingham was a driving and influential force in establishing Los Alamitos as the premier Quarter Horse racetrack in the world.