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Moonist heads trial to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on Sunday

June 10, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

An outstanding group of older horses headed by champion Moonist will be in action in a pair of 400-yard trials to the Grade 1 $152,000 Vessels Maturity on Sunday, June 12, at Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, California.

A total of 16 horses will compete in the trials with eight horses running per trial. The horses with the 10 fastest times in the trials will move on to the Vessels final on Sunday, July 3. The winner of the Vessels final will earn an automatic berth to this year’s Champion of Champions.

Ron Hartley's great champion Moonist will be looking for his 24th career win when he runs in the opening Vessels trial of the night. The gelding by Separatist will be looking to boost his case for being the top aged horse in the nation. He's currently ranked #2 in the nation, only behind Remington Park Championship winner Zoomin Effortlessly.

Moonist has already enjoyed a strong 2016 campaign. He won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship to earn a berth to the Champion of Champions earlier this year and looked like a million bucks when winning an allowance race easily on May 20. To be ridden by leading Quarter Horse pilot Cesar De Alba and saddled by John Cooper, Moonist will be facing a tough field that will include 2014 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity winner He Looks Hot, multiple derby winner Forget It, and Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby winner BF Farm Boss. Moonist ($874,068), He Looks Hot ($894,345), and BF Farm Boss ($921,713) are all big time money winners in Quarter Horse racing.

Owned by Ed Allred and trained by Scott Willoughby, He Looks Hot has been outstanding in his prep workouts this year and then posted a strong second place finish in the Lakewood Handicap on April 10 in his first start since winning the Two Million in December of 2014.Carlos Huerta will ride the gelding by Walk Thru Fire. Owned by Hector Villalobos, multiple derby winner Forget It will be making his 2016 debut in Sunday's trials. He won the Southern California Derby on December 20, 2015 and also won the Governor's Cup Derby and El Primero Del Ano Derby last year. Donald and Peggy Boyle’s BF Farm Boss won the 2014 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity in addition to his Ruidoso Derby score. He was second to Moonist in the May 20 allowance race.

Lakewood Handicap winner Dr Jess will also compete in the opening trial. The second trial will be headed by 2015 Texas Classic Derby runner-up Dutcher, 2015 Ruidoso Derby runner-up Glock and the multiple stakes placed runner Walk The Catwalk. Miss Princess Handicap winner Vivid, two-time 550-yard handicap winner He Is The Risingstar, and the always tough stakes runner Jiffy James are among the other competitors in this trial.