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Moonist headlines Vessels Maturity trials on Sunday


June 12, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

The terrific Moonist, winner of 12 of his last 14 starts and the champion 3-year-old gelding last year, will headline the first of two trials to the Grade 1 $145,000 Vessels Maturity on Sunday, June 14, at Los Alamitos. The trials will be contested at 400 yards with the winners moving on to the Vessels Maturity final on Sunday, July 5. The winner of the Vessels final will earn the third guaranteed berth to this year’s Champion of Champions while joining Los Alamitos Winter Championship winner Matabari and Remington Park Championship winner Dashing Brown Streak.

Trained by John Cooper for owner Ron Hartley, Moonist has been one of the best horse on the grounds over the past two years. He won a record four derbies in 2014 and this season he’s already won three of four starts including the Katella Handicap and Kaweah Bar Handicap. He was second to Matabari in the Winter Championship. To be ridden by Cesar De Alba from post number five, Moonist will enter the trials after posting solid 350 yards turn and work in :18.10 on May 28. His lifetime record currently stands at 17 wins from 25 starts.

Owned by Clodoaldo De Oliveria Miranda, Jake Gold BR figures to be one of Moonist’s toughest rivals in the opening heat. The Brazilian bred gelding was named South American Champion by the AQHA last year after winning the South American Challenge Championship in Brazil and the Christmas Invitational at Los Alamitos. He then posted an impressive win in the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, but was third behind Matabari and Moonist in the final and third once again to Moonist in the Kaweah Bar on May 2. Ramon Sanchez will ride the 5-year-old gelding for trainer Paul Jones. He has won four of eight starts.

The opening trial will also feature Christmas Invitational runner-up Seperate Interest and Winter Championship fourth place finisher Remarkableyesapoweer.

Jesus Cuevas and Jesus Avila’s Last To Fire, winner of the 2013 Champion of Champions and that year’s world champion, will be in action in the second trial. The now 6-year-old gelding will be making his 2015 debut after running only four times in 2014. He has not won a race since his Champion of Champions win in December of 2013. Now trained by Adriana Aceves, Last To Fire will come into this race after working 350 yards from the gate in :18.30 on May 9.

Atwood Ranches and John Wells’ Far Niente will look to defend his crown in the Vessels Maturity. The gray gelding won this race last year by 3/4 lengths and figures to be mighty tough in this trial race. Far Niente has been busy competing in Grade 1 events since his Vessels victory. He was fourth in last year’s Go Man Go Handicap and second in the Kaweah Bar Handicap in his most recent start. Jiffy James, La Jolla Cowboy, Fire Cliff, and Sugarbear Sax Man will complete the field.