The Racing Journal Logo

Champion Heza Dasha Fire heads $849K Los Alamitos Super Derby


October 29, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Heza Dasha Fire sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.488—from three Los Alamitos Super Derby trials on October 11
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Champion Heza Dasha Fire and multiple derby winner Forget It headline a terrific field that will race in the meet’s richest derby, the Grade 1, $859,400 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Saturday night, October 31. First post time is 6:00 p.m. local time.

The winner of the Super Derby at 400 yards joins superstars Moonist, Dashin Brown Streak, Far Niente, and Quirky in the lineup to this year’s Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions. Moonist is currently the nation’s #1 ranked Quarter Horse, while Dashin Brown Streak is ranked third, Far Niente is fourth and Quirky is seventh. The Champion of Champions will be held on Saturday, December 12.

A lot of attention will be on the S-Quarter K LLC-owned champion—and millionaire—Heza Dasha Fire in the Super Derby. The Walk Thru Fire gelding scored one of the most impressive wins of his career in the derby trials following a dominant 1¾-length win in the fastest qualifying time of :19.488. His winning time was more than 2/10ths of a second (almost a length) faster than the next fastest Super Derby qualifier.

“Awesome,” said trainer Jose Flores of Heza Dasha Fire’s ninth win in 10 career starts.

Impressive wins have been the norm for the career winner of $1,045,240. With Cruz Mendez aboard, Heza Dasha Fire had previously won the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity by 1¼ lengths and the Golden State Derby by 1½ lengths. He’ll now look to secure a berth in this year’s prestigious Champion of Champions.

"He's a once in a lifetime type of a horse," Don Meneely, who along with his wife, Kathy, and their son, Shawn, owns Heza Dasha Fire. "We'll never get another like him, and I wouldn't trade him for anyone else. (Heza Dasha Fire) was ready to run (in the trials). They schooled in the paddock (the week prior) and he got so mad when he saw the horses leaving to race and he wasn't joining them. He was ready to run."

Owned by Dutch Masters III and Jaime Gomez, Forget It knows all about winning derbies at Los Alamitos. The Foose gelding is a two-time derby winner this year at Los Alamitos—the El Primero Del Ano Derby and Governor's Cup Derby—and was a winner in the Super Derby trials. Forget It looks for his seventh straight win of the year.

“It's going to be tough against Heza Dasha Fire,” Gomez said. “Heza Dasha Fire was very impressive (in the trials)."

Ridden by Carlos Huerta, Forget It worked hard to keep his winning streak alive on trial night, as he dueled with Bruce and Jill Thompson's Run By You for most of the race. In the end, Forget It came out on top while posting the third fastest time of :19.790 while Run By You had the fifth fastest time of :19.817.

"Forget It needed (his trial) race," Gomez added. "He likes to run so he runs best when he's been racing. He (had) been off for a month so he'll be ready for the final."

Trained by Mike Robbins and to be ridden by Jose Amador Alvarez, Tallulah Moon could be the surprise package in the Super Derby. The gray filly posted a solid wire-to-wire win in the opening trials in what was her first start since a second place finish in the Los Alamitos Invitational Stakes on December 14.

"She had surgery after she left here last year," Robbins said. "She had ankle and knee surgery. She was off three to four months and resting in Texas before we put her back in training in the summer. She was a little sluggish in training at first, but she got going pretty quickly. She's a hard trying filly. She gives you everything she's got. If she hadn't had surgery we would have raced in some of the Ruidoso derbies and in some of the Bank of America Racing Challenge events."

Robbins has a tremendous training history at Los Alamitos. He has saddled three Champion of Champions winners in the form of Sgt Pepper Feature (1982), Dashs Dream (1984), and Special Leader (1991). All three ended up being named AQHA World Champion following their wins in the Champion of Champions. Robbins also trained the legendary First Down Dash during the colt's 2-year-old campaign.

Robbins, who saddled Jess Walking Thru to a third place finish in last year's Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, is looking forward to being part of the Los Alamitos Super Derby this year.

"It's fun to be back at Los Alamitos. It would be great to win one (stakes) here (again)," Robbins said.

Here’s the field from the rail out: He Is The Risingstar, Kickin Your Can, Tallulah Moon, Take A Look, Forget It, Sass Me Blue, Heza Dasha Fire, Run By You, and Chicanery. Bouncer will not race in the final.

Trials report



Heza Dasha Fire dominant in trial to Los Alamitos Super Derby

S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire has posted some impressive victories in his 10 race career at Los Alamitos Race Course. As a 2-year-old, he won his maiden race by 2¾ lengths and the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity by 1¼ lengths. Earlier this year, he won the Golden State Derby by 1½ lengths after having won his trial by more than daylight. Yet, his most eye-catching victory may have come on Sunday night, October 11, in the trials to the Grade 1, $859,400 Los Alamitos Super Derby, as the Walk Thru Fire gelding danced his way to the 400-yard final with a crushing 1¾-length victory.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Heza Dasha Fire was in total control of the race right from the start, as he flew like a comet out of the gate to establish an early 1 ¼ length advantage. It only got easier from there for the millionaire and reigning AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding. The Washington-bred had a two length lead over his closest rivals with 110 yards left in the race and Mendez put him on cruise control from there on the way to the ninth win of his career. Heza Dasha Fire covered the distance in :19.488, easily the fastest qualifying time of the evening. Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches, LP’s Tallulah Moon clocked in as the second fastest qualifier with a time of :19.771 after winning the first of three trials on the night. Headed by Heza Dasha Fire, Tallulah Moon and trial winner Forget It, the 10 horses with the fastest times in Sunday’s trials will return here for the Super Derby final on Saturday, October 31.

Flores, who has saddled Heza Dasha Fire to earnings of $1,045,240, described his pupil in one word.

“Awesome,” Flores said.

Don Meneely, who along with his wife, Kathy, and their son, Shawn, owns Heza Dasha Fire as part of S-Quarter K, could finally breathe easier after the race.

“I get so much more nervous for his trial races than finals,” he said.

“It’s because is like the icing on the cake,” his wife added. “The pressure is making the final.”

“Cruz said he was just sitting there aboard Heza Dasha Fire,” Don added. “He was ready to run. They schooled in the paddock last week and he got so mad when he saw the horses leaving to race and he wasn’t joining them. He was not happy. He wanted to run. All day today you could tell that he knew it was his time to run. He was ready. He’s a once in a lifetime type of a horse. We’ll never get another like him and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else.”

The winner of the Los Alamitos Super Derby will earn a berth to the Champion of Champions to be held here on Saturday, December 12.

“We have a race in three weeks and that’s all we’re going to think about,” the owner added. “We’re just happy to have a chance to make it to the Champion of Champions.”

Trained by Mike Robbins and ridden by Jose Amador Alvarez, Tallulah Moon posted a solid wire-to-wire win in the opening trials in what was her first start since a second place finish in the Los Alamitos Invitational Stakes on December 14. The filly by Corona Cartel came into this race after working twice at Ruidoso Downs and once from the gate at Los Alamitos at 350 yards on September 26.

“She had surgery after she left here last year,” Robbins said. “She had ankle and knee surgery. She was off three to four months and resting in Texas before we put her back in training in the summer. She was a little sluggish in training at first, but she got going pretty quickly. She’s a hard trying filly. She gives you everything she’s got. If she hadn’t had surgery we would have raced in some of the Ruidoso derbies and in some of the Bank of America Racing Challenge events.”

Robbins has a tremendous training history at Los Alamitos. He has saddled three Champion of Champions winners in the form of Sgt Pepper Feature (1982), Dashs Dream (1984), and Special Leader (1991). All three ended up being named AQHA World Champion following their wins in the Champion of Champions. Robbins also trained the legendary First Down Dash during the colt’s 2-year-old campaign.

“We won the Kindergarten Futurity and the Dash For Cash Futurity at Los Alamitos and made about $600,000 that year,” Robbins said. “Dashs Dream is another great one. She was mine and (jockey) Danny Cardoza’s favorite.”

Robbins, who saddled Jess Walking Thru to a third place finish in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, is looking forward to being part of the Los Alamitos Super Derby this year.

“We were not going to beat (He Looks Hot) in the Two Million on that night,” Robbins recalled. “But it’s fun to be back at Los Alamitos. It would be great to come back and win one here.”

Robbins also qualified Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches, LP’s He Is The Risingstar to the Super Derby final.

Owned by Dutch Masters III and Jaime Gomez, Forget It knows all about winning stakes races at Los Alamitos. The Foose gelding is a two-time derby winner this year at Los Alamitos – the El Primero Del Ano Derby and Governor’s Cup Derby – and his trial win was his sixth consecutive win here this season. Ridden by Carlos Huerta, Forget It had to work hard to keep his winning streak alive. Bruce and Jill Thompson’s Run By You had the lead for most of this race before Forget It caught her in the final 100 yards to win by a head. Forget It finished as the third fastest qualifier with a time of :19.790 while Run By You was the fifth fastest with a time of :19.817.

“Forget It needed this race,” Gomez said. “He likes to run so he runs best when he’s been racing. He’s been off for a month so he’ll be ready in three weeks for the final. It’s going to be tough against Heza Dasha Fire. He was very impressive tonight.”

The complete order of finish is as follows; Heza Dasha Fire (:19.488), Tallulah Moon (:19.771), Forget It (:19.790), He Is The Risingstar (:19.814), Run By You (:19.817), Take A Look (:19.848), Kickin Your Can (:19.859), Sass Me Blue (:19.90), Chicanery (:19.902), and Bouncer (:19.910).