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$300K Kindergarten Futurity on tap at Los Alamitos

May 13, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

Effectiveimmediately and Alejandro Luna race to the fastest time of seven trials, May 2, 2009
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)

It’s triple the fun for Double Bar S Ranch in Kindergarten

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

With three finalists in this Saturday’s $300,000 Kindergarten Futurity, Double Bar S Ranch appears to hold a very strong hand heading into Saturday night’s Grade I event. Among their three runners set to compete in this prestigious affair is the race’s fastest qualifier Effectiveimmediately. Unbeaten in two starts up to this point, Effectiveimmediately rolled to a convincing length victory on trial night, stopping the timer with a strong 300-yard time of :15.435.

“We’ve never really had a run like this before,” commented Jerry Young, the ranch manager for Double Bar S Ranch. “To have only started four horses in the trials and to have qualified three to such a big race is just incredible. Add to that the fact that we bred all three runners, all three of them went favored, and all three won their trial. It was just a fantastic accomplishment. You breed for this kind of success all along and there’s so much work that goes into it with each and every horse that when it finally does happen and they run that breakthrough race, it just leaves you in awe.”

A 17-to-1 upset winner in her very first start, Effectiveimmediately’s first two workouts weren’t enough to tip off bettors to her true potential. “We never really expected any of this with her,” said Young. “I knew she was a nice horse, but her works never really indicated that she was going to run like this. She is the first foal out of one of our really good broodmares though. Budderfly Effect was a stakes winner and a real nice two-year-old for us until she chipped a knee in the All American Futurity trials. We’ve always tried to breed the best to the best.”

An earner of nearly $70,000 on the racetrack, Budderfly Effect won five races lifetime, including the Grade III Northwest Juvenile Challenge at Les Bois Park in 2004.

“Another one of Effectiveimmediately’s assets is how strongly she can finish at the end of her races,” Jerry added. “Her late run has been pretty powerful so far. In fact, she probably won’t even be at her best until 350 or 400 yards. The distance should only help this filly.”

Qualifying third-fastest to the Kindergarten Futurity was another Double Bar S Ranch runner named Notawalkbehinder. Probably the most highly touted of the farm’s four Kindergarten hopefuls going into trial night, she won the first of seven trials by a short head over Its All About Fdd in a speedy time of :15.530. “She ran okay in the trials,” commented Young. “She just hasn’t been breaking very well so far. She always broke fine when we qualified her, so it’s been a little bit of a mystery for us. I think it’s just her inexperience though. She’ll get over it soon enough and if she gets away from the gates well in the finals, I think she should have a great chance to win.”

Unlike Effectiveimmediately, whose average works failed to draw attention to her early on in the year, Notawalkbehinder’s preparatory morning workouts hinted at her ability long before she ever started in a race. After working 220 yards in a blistering :12.10 on March 31st, she would later go off as the heavy 3-to-5 favorite in her very first start. Super impressive in her debut, she drew off to a scintillating length score despite stumbling at the start of the race. “That’s when I knew that she was really talented,” Jerry admitted. “When she fell down to her nose and still had enough class to get up and win, I knew we had something.”

Rounding out the Double Bar S trio is Dig Down Deep, a nicely bred son of First Down Dash that’s shown both talent and inexperience thus far in 2009. “He’s just getting better and better all of the time though,” said Young. “He was so erratic in that first race and he even showed it a little bit in his trial last time out too. His full-sister Im All About Speed was a lot like that as well. She was really big and gangly as a two-year-old and it sort of took her a while to grow into herself too. Dig Down Deep really reminds me a lot of her. He’s the kind of horse that I think could really surprise people in the finals though. Even though he qualified ninth-fastest, he’s really got a lot of potential.”

A finalist in both the Governor’s Cup and Golden State Million Futurities in 2005, Im All About Speed enjoyed a productive two-year-old season as well. Also campaigned by Double Bar S Ranch, she made two trips to the winner’s circle and earned $71,750 from only seven lifetime starts.

Regardless of how Double Bar S Ranch’s horses compete in this weekend’s Kindergarten Futurity, the owners have already accomplished an amazing feat in qualifying three different finalists to such a prestigious Grade I event. For now though, another question has been on the minds of racing fans all over Southern California: which of their three horses will Alejandro Luna choose to ride back in the finals?

Luna, who was also aboard Dutch Masters III’s Twin Spires in addition to all three of Double Bar S Ranch’s finalists, will be forced to choose between four different mounts in Saturday’s Kindergarten Futurity. “It should be pretty interesting,” Jerry commented with a smile. “I think you’d have to go with Effectiveimmediately since she was the fastest qualifier and all. To me, she just seems like she’s the most focused of our horses at least. I’m not sure what will happen, but I do know that it’s always a nice position to be in when you have to go looking for other riders to get on all of your horses. The way I look at it, you’ve already done something right just by getting to that point.”

Azshecanfly is an absolute professional

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

When Azshecanfly walked up to the starting gates for the third trial to the Kindergarten Futurity on Saturday night, she was the fourth choice in the wagering at odds of 4-to-1. Nevermind the fact that she won her debut in impressive fashion, grinding out a tough nose victory after breaking in and bumping at the start on April 11th. Counted out at nearly 6-to-1 in her debut, Azshecanfly was dismissed again on trial night, rewarding her backers with yet another double-digit payoff and qualifying second-fastest to the $300,000 finals on Saturday, May 16th.

"I don't really know why they keep overlooking her," said Jay Parsons of The Parsons Family Trust, who owns Azshecanfly. "My wife and I were sort of laughing about that earlier tonight. It's fine by me though. As long as she keeps winning I guess we don't really care."

"I'm not sure why she hasn't gotten a whole lot of respect either," said her trainer Chris O'Dell. "I think one of the main reasons why she's been so successful up to this point though is her professionalism. She just doesn't make any mistakes. That's something that's always a good quality to have, but it's particularly a good thing when you're only a two-year-old. She loads good, she stands good, and she breaks good. She does everything right and that's such a huge asset. If she draws a good post and gets away clean in the finals, I think she'll definitely be one that they'll have to reckon with."

Out of the freshman sire Azyoucansee, this two-year-old filly comes from a female family that O'Dell is intimately familiar with. He also trains her half-sister Sizzling Pj, a two-time winner and third-place finisher in the Debutante Handicap here at Los Alamitos. "She's another horse that we have high hopes for still," Jay added. "She just had a few chips removed and should return to the racetrack later on this year."

Aside from Azshecanfly, trainer Chris O'Dell has another closely related two-year-old filly this season named Dashingfordestiny. A regally-bred daughter of Mr Jess Perry out of the Dash For Cash mare Dashing Phoebe, Dashingfordestiny is a three-quarter sister to All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen. An easy length and a half winner last Sunday night, she lived up to all of the expectations of her blue-blooded pedigree. "We were pretty impressed with her effort," added O'Dell. "She's paid into all three of the Bonanza races, so she'll make her next start in the Ed Burke Futurity trials in June. Something that people might not know though is Azshecanfly's mother Pj Flying Phoebe is actually out of Dashing Phoebe, so these two are pretty closely related."

The first horse that Chris O'Dell has ever qualified to the Kindergarten Futurity, Azshecanfly is just one of many two-year-olds that have run well for the O'Dell barn so far this season. "We've only started five times with our babies this year and we've won with three of them, including two wins by this filly," Chris pointed out. "I think I've always been more known for the older horses that I've trained as opposed to the two-year-olds, but this year I just really have a great group of young horses."

Bred here in California by the Parsons Family Trust, Azshecanfly was broke at the Parsons' ranch in Fresno, California by Jay Parsons. "Chris (O'Dell) really appreciates the fact that all of the horses that we send him have already been broken here at home and are ready to train the first day they get to his barn," explained Charlotte Parsons, Jay's wife and partner on Azshecanfly. "Then once they do get to his barn, we've always been able to count on the incredible care that Chris gives his horses. He always makes sure the horses are as healthy as they can be at all times or he doesn't run them. That's something we've always been really proud of."

Well thought of by the Parsons Family from a very young age, Chris O'Dell was quick to point to one particular moment when Azshecanfly really began to show her true colors. "Right after we worked her for the second time, something just clicked for her," said O'Dell. "The light came on and she just put everything together right there. All day long on trial day she just laid down in her stall and rested up for the race. It's like she just knew it was coming. At some point all of the good ones will do that. They just figure the game out."

While Azshecanfly is just one of several talented juveniles to have qualified to the first futurity of the year here at Los Alamitos, her connections are remaining confident that she'll account well for herself in the finals. "We're really going to try to make it out for the finals later this month, but sometimes it can be hard to get away from all of our other horses here at home," Jay explained. "She's still improving all of the time, so I see no reason why she shouldn't be able to at least hit the board. Jaime Gomez's horse Effectiveimmediately looks really good too. I don't think we've seen her best yet, but I still like our horses chances."

Trials report

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

Success in the Kindergarten Futurity is nothing new to Jaime Gomez. The trainer has won six runnings of what is traditionally the first futurity of the year at Los Alamitos Race Course, with talented champions like Carters Cartel, Secret Card and Corona Cartel. Gomez appears poised to dominate this year's running of Grade 1 $300,000 Kindergarten, as he will saddle four of the 10 horses that will race in the Saturday, May 16 finale at Los Alamitos.

Of the four horses that Gomez trains, Double Bar S Ranch owns and bred three of them, including the fastest qualifier Effectiveimmediately. The Corona Cartel filly won the fifth of seven trials by a length over the eighth fastest qualifier Runaway Tyme, while covering the 300-yard distance in a time of :15.435. Double Bar S Ranch is the co-owner, along with Gomez, of the first trial winner and third fastest qualifier Notawalkbehinder, and is also the sole owner of the First Down Dash colt Dig Down Deep, who won the second trial race. Gomez's other qualifier is Twin Spires for owner Dutch Masters III, who will be going after their fourth Kindergarten victory after enjoying wins with Secret Card in 2000, Sassy Smith in 2001 and Gold Nugget RD in 2005.

The complete list of qualifiers to the Kindergarten Futurity is as follows: Effectiveimmediately (:15.435), Azshecanfly (:15.485), Notawalkbehinder (:15.53), Twin Spires (:15.53), Its All About FDD (:15.550), Magical Night (:15.57), Tylerite (:15.575), Runaway Tyme (:15.60), Dig Down Deep (:15.605) and Butterfly Kisses (:15.615). Of the 10 horses, Its All About FDD and Tylerite are graduates of the Los Alamitos Equine Sale.

Ridden by Alejandro Luna, who piloted all four qualifiers for Gomez, Notawalkbehinder scored her second win in as many starts in the first of the trial heats. The filly by Walk Thru Fire did not enjoy the best of starts, in a fashion similar to when she broke her maiden back on April 11. "That's the second time that she's stumbled out of the gate," said Jerry Young, the ranch manager at Double Bar S. "Fortunately she makes up for it at the end. She finished the race great in this trial. That's also the way she won her maiden race. It's tough for a filly like her to do what she's doing at 300 yards. I think when she stretches out to 350 she will be better and at 400 she'll be great."

Young describes the filly as a star from the moment she was born. "She was great from the first day that she came into this world," Young said. "She was a standout right away. She's always been a great looking filly."

Due to her great potential, Gomez is willing to turn a blind eye to the minor mistakes that have come along with Notawalkbehinder's victories. "She leaned back at the start just as they opened the gate," Gomez said. "It hurt her just a little bit. She's all quality so I'm looking forward to the finals."

Owned by Kelly Spackman and Dutch Masters, Its All About FDD finished second to Notawalkbehinder but figures to be one to watch. One of two First Down Dash babies to qualify to this year's Kindergarten, Its All About FDD was making his first start at Los Alamitos after breaking his maiden at Dixie Downs for trainer Lin Melton. Jessie Chavis piloted Its All About FDD. EG High Desert Farms' Butterfly Kisses also qualified out of this heat for trainer Mario Loza. She is by Red Hot Rhythm out of the royally bred mare First Rate Choice, who is a full sister to champion First Sovereign, champion and All American Futurity winner Royal Quick Dash and Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner A Regal Choice. First Rate Choice won the Pocahontas Handicap at Los Alamitos in 2003 and was third in that year's La Primera Del Ano Derby and fifth in the previous year's Kindergarten Futurity. Juan Andrade piloted Butterfly Kisses.

The second trial went to Dig Down Deep, who defeated Preciouse Cartel by 3/4 lengths to win. Sired by First Down Dash, Dig Down Deep is out of the highly successful mare Big On Charm. On the racetrack, Big On Charm won the John Deere California Distaff Challenge and Cottonwood Handicap while finishing in the money in 24 of 38 career starts for earnings of $239,447. In addition to her stakes wins, she was second in the 2000 All American Derby and third in the 1999 Dash For Cash Futurity. She also finished second in the 2001 Charger Bar Handicap. As a broodmare, Big On Charm produced Im All About Speed, a finalist in both the Governor's Cup and Golden State Million futurities in 2005. Double Bar S Ranch campaigned Im All About Speed, who earned over $71,000 in her brief racing career.

"She could really run," Young said. "We weren't able to run her during her 3-year-old year because she got hurt. She was pretty talented. This horse Dig Down Deep is made to be a racehorse. He's perfect. He's just another great son sired by First Down Dash. We have big plans for Dig Down Deep."

Parsons Family Trust's Azshecanfly also improved her record to a perfect two for two with her trial victory. Double Bar S Ranch also features prominently on Azshecanfly, as Double Bar S's great stallion Strawfly Special sired her mother. Azshecanfly is also the daughter of the Double Bar S-ranch owned young stallion Azyoucansee. Azshecanfly's mother is Pj Flying Phoebe, a half sister to multiple champion millionaire and 2007 All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen. Cesar De Alba rode the sorrel filly Azyoucanfly from along the rail for trainer Chris O'Dell.

Gomez owned the next two trials, as he saddled the aforementioned winners Twin Spires and the filly Effectiveimmediately. The fastest qualifier is out of the Strawflyin Buds mare Budderfly Effect, a winner of only one race despite being a hard-knocking performer at the allowance and stakes trial level at Los Alamitos.

"The two Double Bar fillies (Notawalkbehinder and Effectiveimmediately) will be tough in the final," Gomez said. "Twin Spires ran a super race. He's a good horse who would have won his maiden with ease when Alejandro got a little confident at the end and got caught. We're going to make an adjustment with his shoes because he's feet are hitting each other when he runs. We'll get that fixed for the Kindergarten final."

James Azevedo and Boyles Family Trust's Runaway Tyme ran a solid race for trainer Paul Jones and jockey Ramon Sanchez when second to the fastest qualifier while also advancing to the finale. A homebred, the colt is part of the first crop of runners sired by the outstanding Champion of Champions and Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner Ocean Runaway. Gray in color, just like his father, Runaway Tyme is out of the mare Summertime High, making him a half brother to 2001 La Pacifica Handicap winner and La Primera Del Ano Derby runner-up Summertime Quickie. The latter is also the mother of last year's champion 2-year-old colt Foose.

The other two qualifiers were Ron Keller and Ronnie B. Keller's Tylerite, who is also undefeated after two starts for trainer Blane Schvaneveldt, and Porfirio Carrasco's Magical Night. The winner of the meet's first baby race, Tylerite will now look to give his trainer a record eighth victory in the Kindergarten. Bred by Ed Allred, the son of TR Dasher by a half-length over Colombian Babe. Trained by Felix Gonzalez, the Red Hot Rhythm colt Magical Night was the most surprising qualifier of the night, as he could only muster a seventh place finish in his racing debut on April 9.