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Moonist, Jake Gold Br headline trials to Grade 1 Winter Championship on Sunday

January 25, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Moonist returns after winning the PCQHRA Breeders Derby on October 3
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Newly crowned AQHA champions Moonist and Jake Gold Br are among the 20 older horses that will compete in the trials to the Grade 1 $169,800 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday night. First post time is 5 p.m. with the 400-yard trials scheduled as races six, seven, and eight. The 10 horses with the fastest times will return to compete in the final on Sunday, February 15.

Trained by John Cooper for owner Ron Hartley, Moonist was named the 2014 AQHA champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, January 21. Moonist was rewarded for a tremendous season that included nine wins from 10 starts and earnings of $357,358. Moonist also became the first horse in Los Alamitos history to win four derbies in a single season. Moonist won the El Primero Del Ano Derby, Governor’s Cup Derby, Golden State Derby, and PCQHRA Breeders Derby. His only loss of the year was a fourth place finish in last year’s Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, the Separatist gelding will be making his first start since taking time off after a minor foot ailment forced him to miss the trials to the Southern California Derby in early December. Moonist has since posted a nice turn and work at 350 yards of :18.40 on January 7. To be ridden by Cesar De Alba, Moonist will start from post number four in the third and final trial of the night. Moonist will be facing strong competition that will include three-time AQHA champion Rylees Boy, Grade 1 Vessels Maturity winner Far Niente and multiple stakes winner Seperate Interest. Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy has not raced since finishing third in last year’s Winter Championship. The 10-year-old gelding has earned 1,562,939 in a career that includes 22 wins from 51 starts. He won the Champion of Champions in 2012 and ran third in the Champion of Champions in 2013. Atwood Ranches, Inc. and Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Far Niente has won nine of 16 career starts, while Seperate Interest’s record include wins in the Kaweah Bar Handicap and Z. Wayne Griffin Stakes.

Clodoaldo De Oliveria Miranda’s Jake Gold Br was named the AQHA International Champion after winning the Bank of America South American Challenge and the Christmas Invitational at Los Alamitos. The Brazilian-bred will headline the first trial that will also feature Ed Allred’s Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap winner Once Over and Southern California Derby runner-up Tres Pescado. The other trial will be headed by Balgo Racing Team, Inc. and Marlyn Gonzalez’s 2013 champion 3-year-old filly Matabari, a lifetime earner of $1,337,805 million and winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Los Alamitos Super Derby. Martha Wells’ New Look, winner of the 2014 California Challenge, Grade 1 winner Vodka With Ice, and A Ransom Handicap winner Wagon Tales are among the top runners racing in this event.