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Champions and stars headline Super Derby trials on Saturday night


October 13, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

AQHA champions Ima Fearless Hero and Walk Thru Crystal and major Los Alamitos stakes winners Flay, Rite Regal and Time For Jess are among the 34 sophomores set to race in a total of five trials to the Grade 1, $802,750 Los Alamitos Super Derby at 400 yards on Saturday night, October 15.

The horses with the 10 fastest times will advance to the Super Derby final to be held on Saturday, November 5. The winner will earn $322,455 plus a berth to the $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 10. Reigning AQHA World Champion Heza Dasha Fire won the Super Derby last year and eventually also won the Champion of Champions.

Now it’s Heza Dasha Fire’s half-brother, Ima Fearless Hero, who headlines the Super Derby trials for owner/breeder S-Quarter K LLC. A two-time futurity winner in 2015, Ima Fearless Hero won the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year on the way to earning a meet high $982,699 and the title of AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding. Ima Fearless Hero comes into this race after a very rough journey in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby on September 30. Ima Fearless Hero was bumped around in that race and finished last of 10 as the third-favorite.

“He had some very small cuts,” trainer Jose Flores said. “We were fortunate that they were very tiny. He’s ready for these trials.”

Cruz Mendez will ride Ima Fearless Hero in the third trial (race #7).

Ima Fearless Hero’s list of rivals in the third trial is filled with big names starting with Walk Thru Crystal, the champion 2-year-old filly last year. Walk Thru Crystal won the Kindergarten and Ed Burke Million futurities in 2015, but her last win came last November. She did qualify to the Golden State Derby earlier this campaign and most recently finished third in the Fall For It Handicap versus fillies. Yanet Rodriguez will saddle the winner of $675,855, which will be ridden from post three by Jesus Rios Ayala.

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Flay posted one of the year’s strongest efforts when the 3-year-old defeated older horses in the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap on July 30. After a busy first half of the year in which he ran six times, the son of Favorite Cartel took a couple of months off after his Spencer Childers win. He did post a 220-yard turn and work in :12.50 on September 30 in preparation for his return to action. Flay won the Dillingham Handicap and was second in both the James Smith Memorial Handicap and Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes. Oscar Peinado will ride him from post one for Paul Jones.

Others in this trial include Reliance Ranches’ Ruidoso and Rainbow Derby finalist Big Lew and multiple stakes finalists Sale Topper and Chicks Fayvorite.

The opening trial, which is slated as the fifth race on the card, will feature Golden State Derby finalists Rite Regal, Jess Ravin, and Senor Gianni. Urschel 3-D Ranch LLC’s Rite Regal won the Golden State Derby on August 21 and also won the El Primero Del Ano Derby on April 3. Trained by Jose Flores, the gelding by Favorite Cartel will enter with a four-race winning streak and eight wins in 12 career starts. Cruz Mendez will ride from post four.

Jess Ravin, meanwhile, will start from post number one, a spot that has seen her win three consecutive times. The Corona Cartel won the La Pacifica Handicap and Vandy’s Flash Handicap this year when starting from the rail. She finished third in the Golden State Derby when starting from post seven.

Jose Flores has a strong contingent of horses that he’ll saddle in these trials. The veteran trainer will also saddle Howard Nichols’ multiple Grade 1 finalist We Like Corona in the opening trial and in the second trial he’ll saddle two-time Grade 1 finalist Jess A Pollitician for owner Janet McKinnerney. He’ll saddle John Andreini’s Gotcha Bella, a finalist to the Golden State Million Futurity last year, in the fourth trial division. That heat will be led by Jaime Gomez’s Docs Best Card, whose career includes runner-up efforts in the Los Alamitos Two Million, Golden State Million and Ed Burke Million futurities. He finished third in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby two weeks ago. Oscar Peinado will be aboard the Corona Cartel colt, a winner of $757,985 in 13 career starts. Dr. Steve Burns and Mike Casselman’s Golden State Derby runner-up Militarist will look to continue his strong form also in trial number four.

Fillies will head the field in the fifth and final division of the Super Derby trials with Dr. Burns’ You Can Fly, the fifth place finisher in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby, Spackman Racing’s stakes winner Time For Jess, and the always tough Shut Out leading the way. Time For Jess beat the boys in the Adequan California Derby Challenge and has faced some of the top horses in her division. Shut Out, meanwhile, has hit the board in 10 of 11 career starts, while You Can Fly is a winner of three of six career starts. The other four horses in this race have qualified to at least one major stakes race at Los Alamitos.