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Fall For It headlines La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday night

April 7, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Jay Conklin brings Fall For It back to the winner's circle after winning the trial race on March 18.
(photo by photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
Story by Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

Trainer Jim Hanson has won about 400 total races at Los Alamitos Race Course since establising a permanent stable at the Orange County oval some five years ago. The racing operation has enjoyed equal success with the two major breeds currently racing at Los Alamitos, as half of those wins have come with Quarter Horses and the rest have come with Thoroughbred. Hanson and his son and top assistant trainer, Ryan, will now look to secure the biggest race of their Los Alamitos careers when they send out fastest qualifier Fall For It in the $182,700 La Primera Del Ano Derby on Friday at 400 yards.

"She's the top qualifier so there's a bit of pressure because of that," said Ryan Hanson. "We are just hoping to have some racing luck. We feel okay about her chances if she's able to enjoy a clean race, but if she gets bumped around and we lose because of that then that would be tough to take."

Ridden by Jay Conklin, Fall For It has been outstanding in her last three starts for the Hanson barn. The gray filly won her derby trial by 1 ¼ lengths while going wire to wire and in her previous outing she posted a ¾ length win in the $25,000 Autumn Handicap last October. She kicked off her current three-race win streak with an easy decision in the Chickasis Handicap, as she won the 350-yard race by an astonishing 2 ¼ lengths while leading from start to finish.

"She's been a dream," Hanson said. "Her demeanor is always great aound the barn. She's easy going and classy and that makes her a pleasure to have in our stable."

Owner Brian Hyde paid the $6,250 claiming price on July 18 to acquire the filly. It was the second time in as many starts that the daughter of Separatist had changed hands via a claim. She’s certainly proved to be a bargain.

"She was first claimed for $5,000 and when she came back in for a price of $6,250 Brian decided to go after her," Hanson said. "She was already on our radar when she was in that $5,000 claiming race and when she came back in for a tag we didn't want her to get away from us. If she wins this race she would have made about $92,000 since we claimed her. You can't ask for much more than that."

In her first start in the black and maroon silk of Hanson Racing Stables, Fall For It battled a length deficit to finish only a nose behind Ed Burke Million Futurity winner First Down Illusion while running second in the California Breeders Freshman Stakes. It's been all wins for Fall For It ever since.

"We've known Brian Hyde for a long time," said the younger of the two Hansons. "I used to ride horses for him when I was a jockey. It would mean the world to us to get a win for him with this great filly."

Rancho El Alacran’s Vivid Lady is one of the leading candidates to upset Fall For It in this race. The daughter of Vivid Velocity has come a long way since making her racing debut in the 2010 Kindergarten Futurity trials. On that night, the filly had a race to forget, as she bucked during the race, lost her rider, Francisco Rubio, and then had to be vanned off. Fortunately, the filly came out of it okay, but she finished out of the money in two of her next four starts. She’s been a lot sharper in her last three outings, running second or better in each of those races and she even scored a nice victory in a trial to this derby race. Adan Farias will saddle her from post nine.

Farias will also send out the well-bred sprinter How Bout This Secret, who is a full sister to 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here. Sired by the legendary First Down Dash and out of the multiple stakes winning filly Dicey Secret, How Bout This Secret broke her maiden two races ago and could have done better in her trial had it not been for the fact that she lugged in with about 100 yards left in that race. Mimi Wells’ Getit Together, who ran third in the Wild West Futurity last season, could also surprise Fall For It.

(Note: for the La Primera Del Ano Derby trials report, go to

News and notes

First race of the meet for babies on Friday night

Three good looking Walk Thru Fire babies are among the seven that will compete in the first race for 2-year-old Quarter Horses of the year on Friday night, April 8, at Los Alamitos. First post is 7:00 p.m.

Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top stallions, Walk Thru Fire will be represented in this baby race by the Ed Allred-bred Fixin To Fly, the Dutch Masters III-bred Visionary Fire and the Jaime Casillas-owned Jesse Stone. The latter has interesting breeding, as he is out of the 26-year-old broodmare Dashing Wagon, who is a daughter of the legendary Dash For Cash. Trained by Jose Flores, Jesse Stone had the fastest of 11 drills on March 24 and ninth fastest of 25 works on March 8.

Racing for Danielle Hall and Jim Hanson, Fixin To Fly is out of one of Allred’s best mares in Jetsetting Girl. She is the mother of multiple derby winner Girl Secrets, stakes winner Bridlewood and Champion of Champions finalist Gulfstream Five. The Holland Ease baby VGW Holland Classic is another baby to watch to go along with the Walk Thru Fires. He had the morning’s fastest work of :12.20 on March 8.