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Cal-breds to shine during marathon 14-race card on Champions Night

July 25, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

AQHA Hall of Fame member Ed Allred, the sport’s all-time leading owner and breeder, will be strongly represented in all the major races of the 14-race card in Saturday’s California Breeders Champions Night. The night of all-stakes California-bred Quarter Horse racing action will feature combined purses of more than $900,000 and will start at 6:45 p.m. local time.

The richest race of the night is the $357,500 Governor’s Cup Futurity and Allred is at his strongest in this event. Allred is the breeder of seven of the 10 horses that qualified to the Restricted Grade 2 event at 350 yards and is the owner of four of the participants. Allred’s owned quartet posted four of the top five fastest qualifying times on trial night back on July 12, and among them were the three fastest qualifiers in the form of the Scott Willoughby-trained duo of Discontent and He Looks Hot and the Connie Hall-trained Chicanery. Allred’s Mystery Man, who is trained by Jose Flores, is the owner of the fifth fastest qualifying time.

The gray gelding Discontent won his trial by 1½ lengths while posting the fastest qualifying time of :17.61 with jockey Rodrigo Aceves in the irons. Sired by Separatist and out of the stakes winning mare Reeds Val, he’s won two of his four career starts.

“Discontent has been training great,” Willoughby said. “He’s a solid horse and very professional. I also have He Looks Hot and he’s a half brother to (stakes winner) Once Over. I hope both of these horses run the same races back as they ran on trial night. They’re sitting on go, but I know they’ll be facing a very tough field of 2-year-olds. Connie’s horses ran a very good race in the trials and Jose’s horse also ran well.

Dr. Allred supports Quarter Horse racing in California 100 percent, so Champions Night is a big night for us because all of the good horses participating in these races. As a breeder, it’s a great night for Dr. Allred’s horses with seven of the 10 in the futurity being horses that he bred. John Creager does a great job breaking and preparing these horses at the Rolling A Ranch, and David Martin does a tremendous job getting them ready for the sales. Champions Night is a great night for California racing.”

Willoughby is hopeful that Discontent will deliver another strong performance, but he’s also very excited about the future of He Looks Hot, a Walk Thru Fire gelding out of the stakes winning mare Look Her Over.

“We gelded him after the Ed Burke Million trials because he wouldn’t pay attention,” Willoughby said. “He ran the best race of his career in the trials to the Governor’s Cup. We always knew that he was a fast and talented horse. Discontent is already a good horse, but he Looks Hot has a lot of room to improve still. He’s just starting to figure things out and we feel that he still has some extra left in the tank.”

To be ridden by Ramon Sanchez, He Looks Hot broke his maiden on trial night with a 1 ¾ length victory in a time of :17.64.

Sired by Stel Corona, Chicanery has only made two career starts, but he’s been solid in both outings. He was second to Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Forget It in a maiden race on April 11 and after enjoying some planned time off he came back with a hard-fought win in the trials.

“We wanted a nice fresh horse for the trials and the plan worked,” said Connie Hall of the Allred-bred.

Kolleen Ledgerwood’s Hot Shot finished second to Chicanery on trial night, but his time was good enough to give him the fourth fastest of the evening. Hot Shot comes in as the richest horse in the field with earnings of $31,945 after competing in the Ed Burke Million Futurity final on June 22. Roberto Dominguez trains the Allred-bred gelding by Walk Thru Fire.

The other Allred-breds in this race are his Mystery Man, Santos Montemayor’s Dash Of Red, and Link Newcomb’s Kickin Your Can. The Abigail Kawananakoa-owned and bred HRH Walkonfire, Freakier LLC’s Fiery Kimbo, who was bred by Mike Abraham, and the Steve Burns-owned and bred No Arizona will complete the field.

Top stars to head restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers and $198K Governor’s Cup Derby

Check My Thoughts and Once Over gave owner Ed Allred a 1-2 finish in last year’s Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap. Once Over, who was second in last year’s running, will now look to give Allred back-to-back wins in this race when he headlines Saturday’s running of the restricted Grade 1 event.

Once Over has enjoyed a tremendous campaign. He posted consecutive overnight handicap victories early on, first winning the Gary Wood Memorial Handicap and then taking the Katella Handicap in superb fashion and in a sizzling time of :17.30 at 350 yards. A full-brother to Governor’s Cup Futurity standout He Looks Hot, Once Over then ran second in the Kaweah Bar Handicap to the talented Seperate Interest and most recently finished third in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity to multiple Grade 1 winner Far Niente.

“He barely got beat for second and he was about a length behind the winner in the Vessels Maturity,” trainer Scott Willoughby said. “He’s always been a horse that we liked a lot, but last year’s Spencer Childers was an important race for him. He ran a big race on that night, and he’s been very good ever since. We sent him to New Mexico to try to qualify him to the Champion of Champions, but that did not work out. He came back and ran some very good races here.”

Rodrigo Aceves will pilot Once Over, who’ll be looking fo his fifth win in 19 career starts. The 5-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire has finished in the money in five of six outings this year.

World Champion Racing Stables’ Last To Check Him, the richest runner in this field with $315,434 in 18 career starts, figures to be Once Over’s chief rival. The third place finisher in the 2011 Los Alamitos Two Million, the 5-year-old mare by Check Him Out will be making her first start since winning the Farnam Stakes last November. Trained by Eloy Navarro, Last To Check Himran only twice last year. Eduardo Nicasio will pilot the mare bred by the Estate of Spencer Childers. Last To Check Him is a full sister to 2013 World Champion Last To Fire. Last To Check Him will look to become the first mare since World Champion Down With Debt in 1995 to win this race.

Multiple Grade 1 finalist Henoshersecret, multiple stakes winner High School Secrets, 2012 El Primero Del Ano Derby winner New Look, six-time winner Snowboundbeast, Mister Michael and Stel Heights will complete the field.


Ron Hartley’s Moonist will go after his fourth win in a row and second major derby of the year when he takes on nine rivals in the $198,100 Governor’s Cup Derby. Moonist won his derby trial by a neck on July 13 after winning the El Primero in his previous starts. John Cooper, who trained the great Separatist to victory in the 2000 Governor’s Cup, will saddle Moonist from post two. Cooper also won this race in 1983 with Aladuino. Cesar De Alba will be aboard Moonist.

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Foose Is Loose will come into this race as the fastest qualifier following a terrific 1 1/4 length trial victory. The Foose gelding was picking up only his second career victory. Ramon Sanchez will pilot the fastest qualifier.

“A good horse is a good horse and (derby trial winners) Moonist and Dynasty of Habits are good horses,” Jones said. “Foose Is Loose ran up their level (on trial night), but he’ll have to run this same race again in the final in order to win (the final). I already know that Moonist and Dynasty Of Habits are going to run well and be very tough.”

Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Dynasty of Habits and Ed Allred’s Up For It are two talented fillies that will compete in the Governor’s Cup Derby final. Up For It won the Governor’s Cup Futurity last year, so a victory on Saturday will make her the seventh Cal-bred to sweept the Governor’s Cup series. Others to have done it are Aladuino, Corona Chick, Corona Cash, Separatist, Hard Hitting and Hot Hitter. Trained by Scott Willoughby, Up For It is the daughter of the young stallion Kiddy Up.

Trained by Cody Joiner, Dynasty Of Habits was an impressive 3/4 lengths winner in her derby trial. One of three Vessels Stallion Farm-bred runners to qualify to this race - Moonist and Dare To Flair are the others - Dynasty of Habits is the daughter of champion FDD Dynasty and out of Grade 1 winner One More Habit.

The field from the rail out is as follows: Dynasty Of Habits, Moonist (on the right with De Alba), Dare To Flair, Well And Good, First Rodeo, Nefertity, Foose Is Loose, Up For It, Another Storm, and Flying Top Fueler.

Great racing menu of stakes highlights Champions Night

One of the great things about Champions Night is the outstanding variety of stakes races on the menu. In addition to the big money Governor’s Cup Futurity, Governor’s Cup Derby and Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap, the night also includes stakes events for big purses for different racing divisions. The aged mares will compete in the $40,000 Matron Stakes, while sophomore runners will race in the Jens List Jr. Memorial Stakes for males and Debutante Stakes for fillies. The card will feature a 550-yard Sophomores Stakes, plus the Sprint Stakes, which showcases older males.

The Matron Stakes will feature a group of talented mares with tons of stakes racing experience. Abigail Kawananakoa’s Native Tea Rose won the Grade2 Charger Bar Handicap earlier this season, while Veronica Gail Worth’s Splendiferous Diva won the Denim N Diamonds on February 22. Paul Jones will saddle both mares. Native Tea Rose, who ran in the 2012 All American Futurity, has won five of 12 starts in her career and is a three stakes winner at Los Alamitos. Ramon Sanchez will ride.

Another one to watch is Manuel Lorenzana’s Secretly Hot, who won the Governor’s Cup Futurity and Holiday Handicap in 2012 and could surprise here with young pilot Rodolfo Arvizu in the irons. Eloy Navarro will saddle her. Multiple stakes finalists I Go Out Walkin and Forgotten Dynasty are among the mares racing in the Matron.

Ed Allred’s Quirky is one of the eye-catching names in the $25,000 Debutante Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Stel Corona dasher was fifth in last year’s Ed Burke Million, but did not run again in 2013. She’s made three starts this season and has finished in the money in each one of them, including a second place finish in the La Primera Del Ano Derby. Ed Burke Million finalist Composed Charisma and Hannahs Double Love, who ran in the Freshman Stakes last year, lead this talented field of 10.

Allred’s Fire Cliff was second in the El Primero to Moonist and will now headline the $25,000 Jens List Jr. The son of Walk Thru Fire will come into this race after good looking half-length victory against allowance foes on June 29. Carlos Huerta will be aboard. Meanwhile, trainer Connie Hall will have More Than Wild ready to run in the Jens List. Hall has done a fine job with the sons of Allred’s mare, California Wildfire. Last year, Hall qualified More Than Wild, to the Governor’s Cup Futurity and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, and now she has his younger brother, Chicanery, in the Governor’s Cup Futurity. It would be a dream for Hall to see the ‘Wild Ones’ with stakes wins on Champions Night.

Allred’s lineup of stars will continue in the 550-Yard Sophomore Stakes, as the owner will be represented by four top contenders in the form of Mesa Marvel, Look Of A Dasher, Sadie Sis, and China Wall. Mesa Marvel is the richest horse in this event with over $28,000 in earnings. The 7-year-old veteran Forrest Fire will highlight the $25,000 Sprint Stakes. Owned by Martha Wells, Forrest Fire has earned more than $315,000 in his 45-race career. Paul Jones trains the gelding. Indepence Day Handicap runner-up Easyist and recent allowance winner Thrifty are among the others in the 350-yard sprint.

Freshman Stakes and claiming events spice up Champions Night

Cold Cartel, a game winner of an Ed Burke Million Futurity trial in his most recent appearance, heads the cast for the $25,000 California Breeders Freshman Stakes at 350 yards.He has that win, a second and a third from his three outings.

The son of Walk Thru Fire carries the banner of Rosalinda Gonzalez, is conditioned by Guillermo Morales and will have Santiago Mendez guiding from the rail slot in the field of eight. Flying Foose and Off Beat loom the main rivals.

Tavarua and On The Move, who are both exiting trials for the Governor’s Cup Futurity, get top billing in the $25,000 California Breeders Freshman Stakes at 350 yards.

Tavarua races for owner Helen Beamer, trainer Paul Jones and pilot Ramon Sanchez and won her first three starts before having a troubled trip as the odds-on favorite in her Governor’s Cup trial. On The Move is looking for her first victory but has shown some promise for her owner/breeder Edward Allred and trainer Jose Flores with Cruz Mendez in the saddle.

The opening race on the California Breeders Championship Night program is the $15,000 Senior Claiming Stakes at 400 yards and Frequent Flyer should attract plenty of attention as he drops from tougher competition.

Jose Antonia Moreno conditions the 5-year-old son of Bono Jazz for Felix Gonzalez and Cruz Mendez, who was aboard for his most recent victory in April, has the assignment. He should hit hard with the group from the No. 9 post.

The Sophomore Claiming Stakes carries a $17,500 purse at 350 yards and Baby Walking will be seeking her third win from her last four starts for the Balgo Racing Team and Marilyn Gonzalez.

Guillermo Morales conditions the daughter of Walk Thru Fire with Cesar De Alba doing the honors. She surged on the wire to register a neck decision in her last outing on May 31 and broke her maiden two starts earlier here in December.

Risque gets the slight nod in the $15,000 Sophomore Claiming Stakes at 350 yards that goes as the fifth event on the night. Paul Jones trains and co-owns the 3-yearold qwith Manuel Guerrero and Eduard Nicasio has the call.

Risque has recorded a pair of scores from six trips to the post this season, getting the most recent snapshot in game win in March. Among those figuring to give him his biggest challenge are Larry Hill and Dash To Tell.

How Much Better, who has accounted for six of his 17 starts, looks like a nice fit under jockey Santiago Mendez in the 400-yard, $17,500 Senior Claiming Stakes that closes out the program.

The 4-year-old Tr Dasher offspring hails from the Guillermo Morales barn and comes into this assignment with a pair of wins and a pair of thirds from his four appearances on the year. His most recent trip to the winner’s circle came on April 5 with Mendez at the controls.