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Moonist looks to rise in Golden State Derby on Sunday; Badilla back at Los Al

August 23, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ron Hartley’s Moonist will look to rise again in a derby at Los Alamitos, and so will jockey Joe Badilla Jr. A four-time AQHA champion jockey, Badilla will make his first riding appearance at Los Alamitos since retiring from the saddle eight years ago. A leading rider here in the 1990s and early 2000s, “Smiling” Joe returned to riding on May 11 at SunRay Park and now returns to make a riding appearance at Los Alamitos aboard Dont Walk Peacefully in the Grade 1 $227,600 Golden State Derby.

Trained by John Cooper and ridden by Cesar De Alba, Moonist is the even money favorite when he goes after his third derby victory of the year and his sixth win in a row in the Golden State Derby final at 400 yards. Moonist will start from the outside post 10 in this race while looking to add the Golden State to his wins in the El Primero Del Ano Derby and Governor’s Cup Derby. Moonist has won 10 of 17 career starts and is less than $5,000 shy from reaching the $300,000 mark in career earnings.

“The horse is doing well,” Cooper said. “I am not a big fan of post number 10, but it’s a good spot to stay out of trouble. He’s done well in the middle of the track and when he’s been inside. We’ll see how he does from the outside post. I think the horse is ready for the final.”

Cooper campaigned the great champion and multiple derby winner Separatist, who is the sire of Moonist. He sees some of Separatist in his talented sophomore star. “Separatist didn’t miss many dances and neither does Moonist,” Cooper said.

Moonist ran in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby earlier this year and was second in last year’s Governor’s Cup Futurity. He’s been in the money in 12 of his 17 career starts.

World Champion Racing Stables owns the aforementioned Dont Walk Peacefully and also fastest qualifier Dimes And Nicks, who’ll start from post number eight in the Golden State.

Rodolfo Arvizu will be aboard the Azoom gelding who set the fastest time to the El Primero Del Ano earlier this year. While the Vessels Stallion Farm-bred Moonist is out of the Los Alamitos Million Futurity winner Your First Moon, Dimes And Nicks’ mother is also a million dollar race winner. Bred by Henry Brown, Dimes And Nicks is out of the All American Futurity winner Corona Cash. He had the fastest time in the El Primero, but was ninth in the final. This time his connections hope that the fastest time in the trials leads to a big race in the final.

“It’s going to be a tough final,” trainer Eloy Navarro said. “Moonist wil definitely be one of the toughet horses we’ll have to deal with in the final. He beat Dimes And Nicks once in derby, but we’ll see if we can beat him in this match-up.”

L.E.M.A. Racing’s Another Oatie crossed the wire tied for second place in this trial and finished with the third fastest time on trial night. Trained by Juan Aleman, the gelding by Walk Thru Fire will be looking to add this derby to his winning effort in the $112,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on February 23. He’ll start from post number one with Cruz Mendez aboard.

Thompson Racing and Paul Jones’ Foose Is Loose shared the third fastest qualifying time of :19.75 with Another Oatie, and figures to be a big factor in the late stages of the Golden State. Foose Is Loose has a strong burst shortly after the start of his races and could find himself on the lead on Sunday night.

“I know that Moonist will run a good race,” Jones said. “I think Foose Is Loose can run a nice race in the final.”

Jones will also saddle Solid Connection for owner Paulo O. Freire MacEdo. A filly by Mr Jess Perry, Solid Connection ran in last year’s Golden State Million Futurity and has picked up wins in two out of her last three starts. Solid Connection will start from post number four and will be to the right of Foose Is Loose.

Meanwhile, Navarro will send out two other talented sophomore in this race to go along with fastest qualifier Dimes And Nicks and Dont Walk Peacefully. Navarro is also in charge of Mistic Rose, the winner of the Ed Burke Memorial Juvenile Stakes last year, and the John Haagsma and World Champion Racing Stables LLC’s very talented A Corona Sunset, who last year qualified to both the Golden State Million Futurity and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Ed Allred’s Look Of A Dasher, a half brother to multiple stakes winner Once Over, and Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ PCQHRA Breeders Futurity finalist Kokomo Beach will complete the field.

Badilla back at Los Al

Four time AQHA champion jockey Joe Badilla returned to riding in May of this year and when Dont Walk Peacefully steps on the track for Sunday’s Golden State Derby it will mark the first time since 2006 that Badilla is back on the track riding at Los Alamitos.

Badilla is one of the most accomplished jockeys of all-time. Badilla won practically every major stakes race in Quarter Horse racing, including the All American Futurity with A Delightful Dasher; the Champion of Champions with Whosleavingwho; and the Los Alamitos Million with Evening Snow and Kingman Kid. Badilla won his first professional race in 1990 and soon after started riding at Los Alamitos in 1993. When the native of Tucson, Arizona retired from riding, he left as Los Alamitos' 7th all-time leader in wins and 4th in stakes wins at Los Alamitos. Badilla has won 1,442 Quarter Horse races here and 111 stakes races. He also guided Evening Snow to set the then-world record of :20.94 over 440-yards at Turf Paradise in 1996, the first sub-21 quarter mile in history. Badilla won the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap a record five times at Los Alamitos.