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Golden State Million Futurity trials, Los Alamitos Super Derby trials set

October 14, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

LD Fire heads trials to Golden State Million Futurity

Mike Abraham, Jaime Gomez and Alfonzo Pasquel's LD Fire continues her quest to become the first Quarter Horse to win the $1 million Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza when she headlines the 8th of 11 trials to the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Every race on the card is a 400-yard trial race.

A total of 87 2-year-old sprinters will be in action in the trials to the $1 million race and LD Fire's quest for the Cash Bonanza is the top storyline. Trained Gomez and bred by Abraham, LD Fire became eligible to win the Cash Bonanza when she dead-heated for the win in the Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 20. She's been taking it easy since then, so her lack of racing activity is likely the only concern for her connections going into this trial. Jockey Alejandro Luna will ride LD Fire from post eight.

The horses with the 10 fastest times will return here for the Golden State Million final on Friday, October 30. Governor's Cup Futurity winner Peace Fire and Favorite Cartel, who ran a huge fourth in the All American Futurity and a third in the Rainbow Futurity, are also in the trials.

A wonderful and accomplished group of 2-year-olds will be in action in the 11 trials to the Golden State Million Futurity. Of course, LD Fire is the big name in the 400-yard trials as she's chasing the $1 million Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza dream, but there are several other standouts ready to pounce for one of the 10 qualifying spots to one of the nation's richest Quarter Horse races. The Golden State Million final will have a $1 million purse and will be held on Friday, October 30. By the way, six of the 10 Ed Burke Million Futurity finalists will compete in Saturday's Golden State Million trials.

The first of 11 trials will be headed by Childers Ranch's Peace Fire, who has won each of her last three starts including the July 25 Governor's Cup Futurity. A daughter of Walk Thru Fire out of the dam that produced World Champion Be A Bono, Peace Fire will be going against Governor's Cup finalist Thinking Jazz, PCQHRA Breeders Futurity finalist Cash For Cottontail and the impressive maiden winner Good Reason SA.

The second trial has Vessels Stallion Farm's Whole Lot Of Karma, who ran second in the consolation race to the Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 20. It will also feature Apollitical Jess, the winning son of Mr Jess Perry out of champion aged runner Apollitical Time. Balgo Racing's Molly Cartel sees action in the third trial - her first start since running a solid fifth in the Ed Burke Million Futurity. Tools Of Fire, who was seventh in the Ed Burke Million, looks to be Mollys Cartel's main threat. Runaway Tyme, who was second in the Kindergarten Futurity at 300 yards and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity finalist Cloned With Class will meet in trial number four, while Party's On Fire, who finished third in the Governor's Cup Futurity, locks horns with Ed Burke Million Futurity fourth place finisher My Sexy Lady in the fifth trial.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, Paul Jones and Terry Thompson, Favorite Cartel is the big invader racing in trial number six. The son of the Thoroughbred Favorite Trick was one of the bright stars in the Ruidoso summer season this year and is certainly a big contender in the trials. He ran a solid third despite trouble in the Rainbow Futurity and with a better start he would have battled for a top spot in the All American Futurity. His main rival in this race could be the Jones-trained Stevie Six, who has looked good in her two local starts. Another Ed Burke Million finalist in Fire Specialist heads trial seven. The Walk Thru Fire filly has to deal with Eyema Blues Girl, a half sister to Blues Girl Too. Ricky Ramirez, a leading rider in the Southwest racing circuit, will pilot horses for Joe Bassett this evening, including Eyema Blues Girl and Cash For Cottontail.

LD Fire is the big star in trial eight but she has to contend with California Breeders Freshman Stakes third place finisher Mister Dominic and Rainbow Juvenile Invitational finalist Dash Back Perry. Tylerite, the sixth place finisher in the Kindergarten Futurity, and the highly regarded Faster Car are in action in race nine. A wide open field headed by Muller Racing's Governor's Cup Futurity runner-up Shining First Dash and recent allowance runner-up Millennium Cartel will headline the 10th trial. Shining First Dash also competed in the Ed Burke Million final. The 11th and final trial marks the return of Dig Down Deep, who was fourth in the Kindergarten after a sizzling trial victory. Dig Down Deep has been gelded since the Kindergarten and figures to be a big player in the final trial heat.

Trials set to nation's richest Quarter Horse derby

By leaps and bounds, the richest Quarter Horse derby in the nation is the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby. With a $1,000,000 guaranteed purse that is nearly $400,000 more than the second richest derby in the nation (the $624,784 All American Derby), the Los Alamitos Super Derby is without a doubt one of the most prestigious Quarter Horse races in the world. The list of past Super Derby winners is also full of champions and legendary names. Its first running was won by Josie's Bar in 1954 for a $15,000 purse. The likes of Jet Deck, Goetta, Kaweah Bar, Charger Bar, Dash For Cash, Sgt Pepper Feature, Dashs Dream, First Down Dash, Dashing Folly, Corona Cash, Old Habits, AB What A Runner, Be A Bono, Little Bit Of Baja and Wave Carver have won this great derby since that 1954 running.

But no previous running of this race has featured a million dollar purse like this year's running. And with so much money on the line, you can be sure that the division's top stars will be out in the full force. Friday's three trials to the 400-yard derby will feature many of the best 3-year-old sprinters in the country. The first trial is a blockbuster of a race, as it will feature last year's Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity winner Tres Passes, who was also California's Horse of the Year in 2008. He'll be facing Jessanotheraffair, who was impressive in the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Derby, and All American Derby runner-up Fantastic Corona Jr, who also ran third in last year's Los Al Two Million.

The second trial features three graduates of the Breeders Derby final in the outstanding filly Rieda Hay Worth, fourth place finisher Cartels First Card and Mr B. Jimmy Delivers, who was third in both the El Primero Del Ano Derby and Winter Derby, will also race in this trial. The final trial will feature the outstanding millionaire Foose, winner of last year's Ed Burke and this year's Jens List Memorial Stakes. He'll face A Tempting Dash, a four-time major derby finalist this year, and Royal Proclamation, who has gone this year from the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes to winning the El Primero to running third in the All American.

Kelsey gets the mount aboard Tres Passes

Jockey Zac Kelsey will take over the mount on Janet McKinnerney's millionaire Tres Passes for the Los Alamitos Derby trials in place of Los Alamitos' all-time leading jockey Eddie Garcia. For the 25-year-old rider, who has only been at the Orange Country track for about three weeks, this is one of the biggest moments so far in his career. The opportunity also says a lot about what the great trainer Blane Schvaneveldt thinks of the young rider.

"This kid has been helping me out in the mornings and he's been riding well at night," Schvaneveldt said. "He's already won a lot of races in his career and he rides like he has ice in his veins. Look at the way he rode in the Autumn Handicap last week (aboard Schvaneveldt's Hoist Mission). He has won stakes races before, so I have no problem giving him this mount.

"It's a big break for him to ride Tres Passes," Schvaneveldt added. "But I decided to use him on all of my horses and I think he's as good a young rider as there is at Los Alamitos right now. He's a good kid and I have a lot of confidence in him."

Tres Passes will be in action in the first of three trials. He finished out of the top three in his last start, a fourth in the Grade 1 Golden State Derby, but before that he won the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity.