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Hickman hoping Kennewick luck continues in Wild West final

October 20, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

Fly Chet Fly and jockey Eduardo Nicasio set the fastest qualifying time from two trials to Sunday's $100,000 Wild West Futurity—350 yards in :17.408—on October 2.
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
Story by Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

The horsemen of Kennewick, Washington, have enjoyed an outstanding year at Los Alamitos Race Course. For starters, Don and Kathy Meneely won the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity with their filly Ima Chickie Too, while Jim and Kolleen Ledgerwood have enjoyed another solid season at the Orange County oval with multiple derby finalist Filthy Fast and the big longshot Governor’s Cup Futurity runner-up This Partys Fire.

“It’s been a banner year for Kennewick,” said Robert Hickman, who also hails from this city in Benton County. “I’ve known Don and Kathy for several years and Jim and my dad were very close friends.”

Hickman hopes that the luck of Kennewick rides with him on Sunday, as he’ll be represented by Fly Chet Fly and Chitchattin Memories in the running of the $100,000 Wild West Futurity at Los Alamitos. Trained by Bret Vickery, the stablemates swept the Wild West trials on October 2 and are now looked at as two of the favorites in the finale.

“I was hoping to see one qualify,” Hickman said. “When Chitchat won his trial, that was over the top enough. It was super exciting. When Fly Chet Fly then came back and broke well, I was thrilled because it looked like he was running a good race. When he won and I saw that he had the fastest qualifying time I was ecstatic. We had tickets to the Seattle Seahawks that night, so I wanted to get home right after the game to see the races. We ended up having to stay in town. I watched the trials at a restaurant and I had to ask the manager if they could turn on TVG so that I could see the races. It was unbelievable to watch them both win.”

Hickman owns approximately 15 horses and has had horses with Vickery for several years.

“He bought a horse from my brother Greg many years ago. Bret took it to California and ran second with him in the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. My brother has bred several, nice, competitive horses. He is retired now and spends most of his time with his kids and grandkids, but I’m still running horses. He bred Chitchattin Memories and Fly Chet Fly, who is named after my dad. My dad passed away two months before Chet was born. I have these 2-year-olds and also a few yearlings for next year.”

A pipefitter by trade, Hickman has spent the last 11 years working as field superintendent in different government projects. In his spare time, he is involved with the Northern Racing Quarter Horse Association. Hickman will be at Los Alamitos on the night of the Wild West Futurity, flying the banner of the proud Quarter Horse racing city of Kennewick.

“I’ll be at Los Alamitos this weekend and will be back next weekend for the Bank of America Challenge Weekend. I don’t get a chance to run in a stakes race very often, so I’m there whenever we qualify to big race at Los Alamitos. We qualified to the Kindergarten Futurity in 2007, but our horse didn’t break too well. That was Cash This Okie and that was Carters Cartel’s Kindergarten Futurity. We won the first baby race that year with Cash This Okie, but we didn’t have the same luck in the Kindergarten final. A horse has to break sharply and get lucky to win one of these big races.”

The field from the rail out is as follows: Wayward Wings, Ivory Riches, Fly Chet Fly, Chitchattin Memories, Properly Snowbound, Veyron, Lookin At Miracles, MP Perfect Margarita, Willie Dasher and FDD Catena.

Trials report

Robert Hickman will not soon forget the trials to the Wild West Futurity held on Sunday, October 2, after his family’s homebreds, Fly Chet Fly and Chitchattin Memory, won their respective heats to qualify to the $100,000 final on Sunday, October 23.

Bred by Gregory & Renee Hickman, Fly Chet Fly was the star of the night after posting an upset victory in an evening’s best time of :17.408. The gelding by Fly Jess Fly won in wire to wire fashion at odds of 20-to-1 while recording a half-length victory over second fastest qualifier Ivory Riches owned by Vaughn Cook. A finalist in both the Mile High and Rocky Mountain futurities, Ivory Riches covered the distance in :17.494. Eight of the 10 qualifiers came out of this trial.

Fly Chet Fly improved his record to two wins in four starts following this impressive effort. Previously, he was fourth in the Bitterroot Futurity on July 23 after winning his futurity trial. He was second in his maiden start. Trainer Bret Vickery saddled Fly Chet Fly and Chitchattin Memory. Eduardo Nicasio piloted both of Hickman’s trial winners.

Chitchattin Memories posted a neck victory over Lookin At Miracles en route to a winning time of :17.613. They were the only two horses to qualify from this heat. Chitchattin Memories is a Washington-bred gelding who won a $10,000 stakes at Les Bois Park in mid-July and before that he was third in a $16,000 stakes race at Sandy Downs. Also bred by Gregory and Renee Hickman, he’s never finished worse than third in seven lifetime starts.

The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Fly Chet Fly (:17.408), Ivory Riches (:17.494) Veyron (:17.587), Chitchattin Memories (:17.613), Lookin At Miracles (:17.645), Mp Perfect Margarita (:17.665), Properly Snowbound (:17.670), Willie Dasher (:17.692), Wayward Wings (:17.769), Fdd Catena (:17.806).