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Field set for El Primero Del Ano Derby on Sunday

April 5, 2013     E-mail this page to a friend!

Henoshersecret sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.687 (88 S.I.)—from four trials to the El Primero Del Ano Derby
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Two-time major futurity finalist Henoshersecret is among the top sprinters that will headline the 41st running of the $205,900 El Primero Del Ano Derby in the ninth race on Sunday night at Los Alamitos. First post time is 5:15 p.m. local time; approximate posttime for the Derby is 8:35.

Owned and bred by Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Henoshersecret earns top billing following an impressive trial victory that resulted in him posting the fastest qualifying time to the El Primero final. Sired by No Secrets Here, Henoshersecret dominated his derby trial, as he cruised to a 1 ¾ length win and in a 400-yard time of :19.687.

Henoshersecret has often been impressive in trial events. He had two solid futurity trial victories last season, but did not hit the board in either the Governor's Cup Futurity or the Golden State Million Futurity. His connections believe that the three weeks off between his derby trial and the final will greatly benefit him as he approaches this race. In his career, Henoshersecret has finished third or better in seven of 10 career starts with career earnings of more than $104,000. Ramon Sanchez will ride Henoshersecret for trainer Paul Jones.

Jose and Gustavo De La Torre's Freedom Choice finished his 2012 campaign with a hard-fought third place finish in the meet’s richest race - the $2,108,000 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Lightly raced as a freshman after only making four starts, Freedom Choice made his sophomore debut in the derby trials with a solid half-length victory in a time of :19.812. Eduardo Nicasio will ride Freedom Choice for trainer Jose De La Torre.

Racing for the partnership of Hubbard, Abraham, Hinkins, Smith and Balgo Racing, Mr Ease Cartel will go after his fourth straight win in the derby final. Trained by Jose Flores, the son of Corona Cartel won his trial by a length while covering the distance in the third fastest qualifying time of :19.823. Cruz Mendez will ride him from post 10.

After winning the La Primera Del Ano Derby last year, owner Robert Williams will look to win the El Primero Del Ano Derby with Perrys Affair from along the rail. The 3-year-old gelding finished second in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby earlier this year and comes into this race after running third in the trials. His lone victory came in the Winter Derby trials back on January 26.

Leaving the gate from posts four, five and six will be Muller Racing LLC’s Patron Platinum, Mimi Wells’ Votemout and Cesar Edgardo Muniz Gomez’s Sugarbear Sax Man. Patron Platinum broke his maiden on January 18 and then returned to finish second in his derby trial. He will also have services of Rodrigo Aceves aboard, who won this derby with Wells’ New Look last year. Wells’s Votemout is a two-time winner at Los Alamitos with his most recent victory coming against allowance foes on March 1. He was fourth at the start of his derby trial, but he rallied to finish third behind top qualifier Henoshersecret to earn a qualifying berth.
Sugarbear Sax Man won the Autumn Handicap last year and has faced stakes level rivals during his entire nine-race career. A top two finisher in seven of those outings, Sugarbear Sax Man comes into this race after finishing ahead of Votemout when running second to top qualifier Henoshersecret in the trials.

Owned and trained by Jaime Gomez, Tres Primeros has scored two wins and a third when racing at the 330 yard distance at Los Alamitos. He has also finished in the top four in all three of his career starts at 400 yards. Gregorio Arriaga will ride from post seven.

The Estate of Kim Kessinger will be represented by Tell Of The Past in the El Primero final. Tell Of The Past won the John Deere California Challenge last year and has since posted a couple of second place finishes in stakes trials. He ran second in the derby trials, but he finished the final 200 yards in nice fashion. He’ll start from post eight in this race. Completing the field is Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Tiny Flying Corona, who finished third to Freedom Choice in the trials. The son of Tinys First Corona will go after his second win in six starts and will be ridden by the track’s all-time leading jockey Eddie Garcia from post nine.

Trials report

Henoshersecret is top qualifier to El Primero Del Ano Derby

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing Inc. would like nothing more than to see Henoshersecret’s third time in a stakes race be a winning charm after his impressive victory in the trials to the $205,900 El Primero Del Ano Derby for colts and geldings on March 17 at Los Alamitos.

Sired by 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here, Henoshersecret posted the fastest qualifying time to the El Primero thanks to his 1½ length victory over Sugarbear Sax Man in the third of four trials at 400 yards. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, Henoshersecret covered the distance in :19.687. His winning time was 13/100ths of a second faster than the next fastest qualifier.

The El Primero on Sunday, April 7 will be Henoshersecret’s third appearance in a stake final. As a 2-year-old, the homebred runner qualified to the Governor’s Cup and Golden State Million futurities. He also finished second in a trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and his previous start he ran fourth over a track labeled as good in his trial to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

“We have been waiting for the El Primero trials,” said owner Terry Thompson. “Our horse lost both of his shoes in the mud during the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby so we did have a little bit of an excuse for that (fourth place finish). He just couldn’t get a hold of the track on that night so it was a race to throw out. Paul gave him a nice and easy turn and work before this race. Paul felt really good about the horse and thought he would run a good race. I’m tickled with the way he ran. It was a race similar to some of his best races from last year. I was having my doubts because I didn’t know what he was going to do, but he broke like we knew that he could. Ramon Sanchez came back with a smile on his face and he told us that the horse was back to his best. I was thrilled to hear that.”

Led by Henoshersecret plus trial winners Freedom Choice and Mr Ease Cartel, the horses with the 10 fastest times will return for the El Primero final in three weeks.

“I really like the space in between his last few races,” Thompson added. “I feel that we have a very fresh horse and the three weeks between starts will be very beneficial for our horse. This horse has run with the best horses out here so we know that he has talent, but the El Primero final will be very tough. Freedom Choice beat us by two lengths in the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million so we know what we are up against.”

With his trial win, Henoshersecret has now won four of 10 career starts.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for Gustavo and Jose De La Torre, Freedom Choice posted the second fastest qualifying time of :19.812 following his half-length victory over John Deere California Derby winner Tell Of The Past. The son of A Regal Choice was making his first start since running third in the Los Alamitos Two Million on December 16. He went into the Two Million as the 2-1 favorite after recording the fastest qualifying time with his aforementioned 2 ¼ length trial win.

“We knew that he was training well,” said Jose De La Torre. “This race sets him up nicely for the El Primero final. We gave him some time off after he finished with some very good races last year. We gave him some light training just to get him fit enough for these races. We feel that he’s headed for some good things this year.”

Freedom Choice improved his record to three wins in five starts.

Racing for Abraham, Balgo Racing Team, D. & R. Hinkins, Hubbard and Smith, Mr Ease Cartel posted the third fastest qualifying time of :19.823 after winning the first trial by a half length over Patron Platinum. Mr Ease Cartel handled his first start at 400 yards nicely, as he added this victory to his previous wins at the 300, 330 and 350-yard distances. He has won his last three starts and four of six in his career. Cruz Mendez piloted the son of Corona Cartel for trainer Jose Flores.

“He veered in at the start and that cost him a little bit,” said Mike Abraham. “Cruz Mendez did a good job taking care of him from there, which is what we wanted him to do. All in all it was a nice race. It looked like they were catching him a little bit towards the end of the race, but I think that was because Cruz was not pushing him at all. I think this is the perfect set up for the final.”

Racing for the Estate of Kim Kessinger and trainer Joe Bassett, Tell Of The Past finished with the fourth fastest time of :19.870. The Teller Cartel gelding was also making his first start since the Two Million trials. The complete list of qualifiers to the El Primero Del Ano Derby final is as follows: Henoshersecret (:19.687), Freedom Choice (:19.812), Mr Ease Cartel (:19.823), Tell Of The Past (:19.870), Patron Platinum (:19.892), Perrys Affair (:19.909), Tiny Flying Corona (:19.918), Tres Primeros (:19.920), Sugarbear Sax Man (:19.937) and Votemout (:19.996).