The Racing Journal Logo

96 hopefuls ready for "Deuce" trials

November 20, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The winners of the Grade 1 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, Grade 1 Kindergarten Futurity, and the Restricted Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity are among the 96 2-year-olds that will compete in the trials to Quarter Horse racing's richest race, the $2,000,000 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, to be held at the Orange County oval on Saturday night.

There are 12 trials on tap and each race will feature a field of eight Quarter Horses. The 96 runners in the Los Alamitos Two Million trials is the highest number of entrants since the trials to the 2004 Los Alamitos Million Futurity. The 96 runners in this year's trials also represent an 18.8% increase from the 2008 "Deuce" trials that saw 78 runners competing in the trials. The horses with the 10 fastest times in Saturday's trials will move on to the December 11 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity to be contested at 400 yards. The winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity will earn $804,720, plus there will be a Nominator's Award for first place of $30,000.

The trial participants include a total of 20 horses that have competed in at least one major Quarter Horse futurity in 2009. As mentioned on the opening paragraph there are three major California futurity winners racing in the form of Breeders Futurity winner Jumpn Beduino, Kindergarten winner Twin Spires, and Governor's Cup winner Peace Fire. Other big names in action in the trials are $147,000 Mile High Futurity winner Triffle, three-time Grade 1 futurity finalist Shining First Dash, and All American and Rainbow Futurity finalist Favorite Cartel.

Muller Racing's Shining First Dash earns top billing based on his current great form that includes second place finishes in both the $1,272,250 Golden State Million Futurity and the (RG1) Governor's Cup Futurity. The son of First Down Dash, who is also a half-brother of top stallion Shazoom, enters as the leading money earner among the horses in the trials with $307,652. He is also the owner of the fastest 400-yard time of :19.62. All the numbers point to the Shining First Dash being one of the favorites to qualify to the finale. He will also see action in a tough trial that will also feature Ed and Theresa DeNike's Jumpn Beduino, who is back in action after winning the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity in a super time of :17.41.

One of the most interesting trials might be the 12th and final, as it will feature three graded futurity placed runners in Crystal Sola, second in the John Deere Juvenile Challenge, Headturner, who ran second to Jumpn Beduino in the Breeders Futurity, and Nighttime Lines, third in the Golden State Million. Henry and Mimi Brown and Ron and Margaret Walker's Nighttime Lines had a two-length victory at 440 yards in an All American Futurity trial and a 3/4 length lead in his Golden State Million trial, so the old adage of "stronger as the race gets longer," certainly applies to this gelding by Teller Cartel.

Headturner and Crystal Sola have yet to race at 400 yards in their respective careers but they've combined to hit the board in 10 of 12 career starts, so it's tough to count them out.

Terry Thompson, Paul Jones, R.D. Hubbard and Jim Helzer's Favorite Cartel is another big name that should absolutely love the 400-yard distance. He was fourth in the All American and third in the Rainbow and in both of those races he flew late to improve his positioning. The son of Favorite Trick had a similar big finish in his Golden State Million trial when winning by a neck and with that local debut out of the way he should relish the "Deuce" trials. Short Hawk, a maiden winner by 1 lengths in his last start, appears to be one of the main rivals to Favorite Cartel, who will be saddled by Paul Jones in the ninth trial.

Jones will also send out Bring The Bling, a full brother to World Champion Wave Carver and champion and Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner Ocean Runaway. Bring The Bling was the most impressive runner at Los Alamitos in the month of April when breaking his maiden by 2 lengths at 300 yards. Bring The Bling hesitated at the start of his Ed Burke Million Futurity trial and failed to qualify to that million-dollar race. He then won his Rainbow Futurity trial and then lost jockey Ramon Sanchez in his trial to the All American Futurity. If Bring The Bling can get back to the Bring The Bling of April, he could be the x-factor in the trials.

Another deep and tough trial is the seventh heat, as Dutch Masters III's Kindergarten winner Twin Spires will go after win number four from five starts when he tackles the undefeated and good looking filly Vikes Dashing and Johnny Trotter's Dash Back Perry. Childers Ranch LLC's Peace Fire is trained by Dan Francisco, who did a tremendous job conditioning The Partys On Fire to her Golden State Million win. Can Peace Fire give super stallion Walk Thru Fire another great result this season? Jockey Eddie Garcia, who won last year's Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity final, will ride Peace Fire in the sixth trial. In the third trial, Vessels Stallion Farm and Wood et al's Harems Last Dash is a full brother to Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner A Regal Choice. Harems Last Dash struggled mightily in New Mexico but he debuted with a nice daylight maiden victory at Los Alamitos two weeks ago.