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Champions Check N Fetch, Matabari, and top-ranked Nellie Delaney head Mildred Vessels Handicap

September 26, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Nellie Delaney holds a head advantage over Check N Fetch in the Merial California Region Distaff Challenge on August 16.
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
AQHA Champions Check N Fetch and Matabari and Grade 1 winner Nellie Delaney, currently the top-ranked older mare in the nation, headline a star-studded cast in the $150,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap for distaffers at Los Alamitos on Sunday night, September 28.

Ten classy ladies have been entered in Sunday’s Millie Vessels with the winner earning a berth to the Grade 1 $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 13. Check N Fetch and Matabari will be looking for a second straight trip to the Champion of Champions after winning major Grade 1 races last year. Owned by Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez and trained by Paul Jones, Check N Fetch earned her berth to the Champion of Champions after winning the Mildred Vessels last year. The 6-year old gray mare, which was named the champion aged mare last year, will look to become the first repeat winner of this race since Flare For Toby in 2000-2001. Only three other mares have won back-to-back Millie Vessels. Dashing Folly (1996-97), Sound Dash (1994-95), and She’s Precious (1975-76) are the other ones.

Check N Fetch could join that exclusive club with a vintage performance. The daughter of Check Him Out won five stakes races at Los Alamitos in 2013 at three different distances. Ramon Sanchez will ride Check N Fetch from post eight.

Balgo Racing Team, Inc. and Marlyn Gonzalez’s Matabari will be making her 2014 debut following a championship winning season. The now 4-year-old mare by Mr Jess Perry won the $953,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby and then finished third to World Champion Last To Fire in the Champion of Champions last year. Her accomplishments earned her the title of champion 3-year-old filly. One of the richest fillies of all-time, Matabari has earned $1,321,930 in her 10 race career. Her victories include a photo finish win in the $2,108,000 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity two years ago. The Guillermo Morales-trainee will enter her season debut after a series of workouts headed by a 350-yard gate drill of :17.70 on September 6. Cruz Mendez will pilot the homebred filly from post six.

J. Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley’s Nellie Delaney is the mare of the moment thanks to her victories in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which earned her a berth to the Champion of Champions, and a win in the Merial California Distaff Challenge. The brown mare by FDD Dynasty has won five straight races dating back to December 2013. She’s undefeated in three starts this season. Nellie Delaney is also the highest ranked mare at number five in the AQHA National Poll. Cesar De Alba gets the call aboard Nellie Delaney from post four.

Charger Bar Handicap winner Native Tea Rose, Significant Heart, I Go Out Walkin, Splendiferous Diva, Tres Queens, Shez Jess Toxic, and SS Calendar Girl will complete the Grade 1 field.