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Stablemates Bon Accord and Nellie Delaney headline Los Alamitos Invitational Championship

October 16, 2014     E-mail this page to a friend!

Two-time Grade 1 stakes winner Bon Accord, currently the nation’s top ranked older Quarter Horse, will face a field that includes 2013 World Champion Last To Fire and Grade 1 winning stablemate Nellie Delaney in the $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on Saturday night, October 18.

A full field of 10 will compete in the 440-yard Los Alamitos Invitational with the winner earning a berth to the Champion of Champions to be held on December 13. The Los Alamitos Invitational is scheduled as the ninth and final race on Saturday night. First post is 6:30 p.m.

Owned by J. Garvan Kelly, Nancy Yearsley and Vinewood Farms, Bon Accord sits at the top of the national poll thanks to victories in the Grade 1Remington Park Championship and Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap. In the Go Man Go, Bon Accord posted an impressive half length victory while defeating four of the horses he’ll be facing on Saturday night. Cesar De Alba will stick with Bon Accord after the two enjoyed success together in the Go Man Go. Juan Aleman will saddle the Shazoom gelding from sixth post.

Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire won the Vessels Maturity, Go Man Go and Champions of Champions last year, but this will be his first attempt to win the Los Alamitos Invitational. The son of Walk Thru Fire has yet to win a race in three starts this season, but he’s been second twice and finished nicely when earning runner-up money in the Go Man Go. Ramon Sanchez will get the call on Last To Fire.

Kelly and Yearsley’s Nellie Delaney her five-race winning streak snapped when running fourth in the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap. The FDD Dynasty mare broke through the gate prior to the start of that race and after a troubled start she did great to finish in fourth place. With De Alba sticking with Bon Accord, Ricky Ramirez will pick up the mount aboard Nellie Delaney.

Nellie Delaney, who beat the boys in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship earlier this year, is the only mare in this year’s field to the Los Alamitos Invitational. Trained by Aleman, she’ll be looking to become the first distaffer to win this race since Strength In Numbers in 2007. Aleman has won this race before with the mare Apollitical Time in 2006.

Trainer Eddie Willis will saddle a strong pair in this race in the form of Remington Park Championship fourth place finisher A Toss Up and Ruidoso Derby runner-up One Valiant Hero. Owned by Abelardo Flores and James Sills, A Toss Up could be the x-factor in this race following his 1 1/4 length allowance victory here on September 26. The gelding by Sweet First Down had some trouble at the start, but was in complete control the rest of the way while posting a very easy victory. He’s earned $413,105 in his career- the third highest amount in this field only behind the Last To Fire ($1,111,244) and Bon Accord ($791,870). Carlos Huerta will pilot A Toss Up. Valeriano Racing Stable LLC’s One Valiant Hero will be making his first start since finishing second to Rock You in the Ruidoso Derby on June 7. Jimmy Dean Brooks gets the call aboard the winner of this year’s Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

Ed Allred’s Once Over will come with a record of three wins - all in stakes races - from eight starts this season. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire’s biggest win this year came over a field that included the talented Snowboundbeast and Bank of America Challenge Championship top contender New Look in the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap on July 26. Once Over has drawn the rail for this race.

Howard Nichols’ Jess Being Valiant, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity, and Lila Kessinger’s Seperate Interest, winner of the Kaweah Bar Handicap earlier this year, have both posted huge efforts against top competitors this season. Jess Being Valiant has finished first or second in 11 of 16 career starts. The field will also feature veteran stakes runner Forrest Fire, who at the age of seven and with 47 starts under his belt, is still capable of getting to the finish line first. Forrest Fire has won three races this year, including a hard-fought nose victory in the California Breeders Sprint Stakes. Paul Jones trains Forrest Fire, as well as the aforementioned Last To Fire.

Julio Encina’s Dynasty Red, who began the year with a stakes win at 440 yards, will complete the field. Justin Clark will saddle the son FDD Dynasty, who returns to the track after running third to stakes winner Conquer All on August 31.