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Champions headline trials to Sunday’s Grade 1 Winter Championship


January 26, 2013     E-mail this page to a friend!

Rylees Boy wins the Bank of America Challenge Championship on October 27
(photo by Coady Photography)
AQHA Champion Aged Horse Rylees Boy and PCQHRA Champion Aged Gelding El Aguila Real headline the first of two star studded trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday night at Los Alamitos. Nineteen aged runners have been entered to the 400 yard trials with the horses with the 10 fastest times returning for the final on Sunday, February 17. The Winter Championship winner earns the first automatic berth to the Grade 1 $750,000 Champion of Champions.

Javier Molina’s El Aguila Real begins his defense of his Winter Championship crown when he starts from post #5 in the seventh race with jockey Cruz Mendez in the irons. Trained by Francisco Vallejo, El Aguila Real won the Winter Championship last year by ¾ lengths and then added a second Grade 1 victory by taking the Vessels Maturity in the summer. He ran a close second in the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and was sixth after a troubled start in the Champion of Champions.

Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s millionaire Rylees Boy is eyeing a return to the Champion of Champions after becoming the oldest runner to ever win it in last year’s running. Rylees Boy rallied from the outside post #10 to catch champion 3-year-old filly Flame N Flash in the Champion of Champions. His effort earned him national titles as champion aged horse and champion aged gelding. Trained by Paul Jones, Rylees Boy now moves to the inside post #3, which is the same spot he started from when running a very troubled race in the Go Man Go Handicap last year. Ramon Sanchez will ride the Gary Nesbitt-bred son of Heza Motor Scooter.

Paul Blanchard’s Bills Last, a finalist in both the All American Derby and Ruidoso Derby last year, races from post #2 in this trial. He’ll be joined in this field by Jus Ledoux It, multiple Grade 1 stakes placed runner Last To Fire, Governor’s Cup Futurity and Derby winner Hot Hitter and multiple stakes winners Personal Mission and New Look.

The second trial features a 10-horse field that includes three AQHA Champions plus three graded stakes winners. Cold Cash 123, the 2011 World Champion, has finished out of the money in his last two starts, but he adds a flipping halter for this race. Supplemented for $12,000 to the Winter Championship, the T. Bill Stables-owned gelding will be ridden by Cody Jensen and saddled by Denny Ekins.

Double Bar S Ranch’s Jess You And I, a three-time AQHA champion and one of the richest Quarter Horses in history, is still going strong at the venerable age of nine. Jess You And I has a great history in this race. He won it in 2009 and finished third in both 2010 and 2011. He was seventh in this race last year. Jess You And I has earned $1,843,489, with 19 wins from 40 starts.

Johnny Trotter’s Hez Our Secret was named AQHA champion 3-year-old colt thanks to second place finishes in the All American Derby and Los Alamitos Super Derby. The Trey Wood-trained son of First Down Dash finished a close fourth in the Champion of Champions. Ed Allred’s Check My Thoughts, the winner of the Grade 1 Southern California Derby, Tres Of Linda, the winner of the Grade 2 Charger Bar Handicap, and Kas On Fly, the winner of the Grade 3 First Down Dash, is joined by Eddie Ray Vaughan, Elcapo, Ambush Alley and Bovet in this race.