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Rite Regal sets sights on third derby win after posting top time to Los Alamitos Super Derby

October 16, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Rite Regal sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.717—from five trials to the November 6 Los Alamitos Super Derby
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Owned by Urschel 3-D Ranch LLC, Rite Regal posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $802,750 Los Alamitos Super Derby and will now look to become only the fifth sophomore to win three of the nine derbies currently being contested at the Orange County oval when he returns for the rich final on Sunday, November 6.

Rite Regal has already won the Grade 3, $210,000 El Primero Del Ano Derby and Grade 2, $203,200 Golden State Derby this year and also posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby earlier this year. The only horses to won at least three of the current derbies at the Cypress track are Moonist, which holds a record with four derby wins, plus champions Separatist and Ah Sigh and the highly regarded Forget It.

A total of five Super Derby trials were contested at 400 yards on Saturday night, October 15. Led by Rite Regal, the horses with the 10 fastest qualifying times with the winner earning $322,455 to go along with 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.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Rite Regal won the opening trial after cruising from the middle of the track to record a half-length victory over 9-to-1 longshot Flash N Bling in a time of :19.717.

“We work a lot with him in the gate and try to get him to concentrate and handle different situations because they happen,” Flores said. “He did really well.”

Rite Regal was bred by Dr. Steve Burns of Menifee, California. Urschel 3-D Ranch LLC, purchased the Favorite Cartel gelding for $10,700 at the 2014 Heritage Place Fall Mixed Sale. He has won six of eight outs this year and earned $201,307. For his career, Rite Regal has won eight of 12 starts, and has now bankrolled $218,575.

The late Dan Urschel, who passed away in September of 2014, and his wife, Jolene Urschel of Canadian, Texas, won nearly every major Quarter Horse race at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico over the last 40 years and campaigned the track’s only Triple Crown winner, the great Special Effort. They also campaigned the 1979 All American Futurity winner Pie In The Sky.

At Los Alamitos, the Urschels were instrumental in putting together Faberge Special Effort Futurity, which was the industry’s first $200,000-added race for two year-olds and the final leg of California Triple Crown at that time. Lifetime members of the AQHA, the Urschels are members of the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Flores, who trains the aforementioned Heza Dasha Fire, also conditions Janet McKinnerney’s Jess A Pollitician, the winner of the second trial of the night and the owner of the second fastest qualifying time of :19.767. With Mendez aboard, the homebred gelding by Apollitical Jess took the lead shortly after the start and cruised home to an easy half-length victory over Reliance Ranches LLC’s Rip Tide. Jess A Pollitician improved to six wins in 12 career starts and earnings of $171,311.

“We’ve been waiting all year for this horse and I’m glad he was supplemented to this race,” Flores said. “He had a lot of talent as a 2-year-old and he had to to qualify to those two million dollar races (the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity) last year. He’s come back good this year and I think we have a good horse for the final. This is only his second out in about eight months.”

Reliance Ranches LLC will have a triple threat of talented horses running in the Super Derby after Big Lew won the third trial of the night in the fourth fastest qualifying time, while Flash N Bling and Rip Tide advanced to the final thanks to their runner-up efforts in the first two heats. Mike Robbins saddled all three qualifiers and all three were ridden by Jimmy Dean Brooks.

The First Down Dash gelding Flash N Bling arrived at Los Alamitos after running in the $100,000 First Down Dash Derby at Ruidoso Downs on September 4 and has quickly made his mark in southern California. The Jim Streelman or Bill Dale-bred runner posted the third fastest qualifying time to the Super Derby after covering the distance in :19.788 when second to top qualifier Rite Regal. Flash N Bling did well at Los Alamitos during his juvenile campaign in 2015, first by winning his Golden State Million Futurity trial and then by running second in his Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trial. This qualifying effort, however, marks the first time he’s qualified to a graded stakes final in his 12-race career.

Big Lew, which also won his Golden State Million trial last year, finished with the fourth fastest qualifying time after his trial victory in :19.789. The Corona Cartel colt, bred by McColee Land & Livestock, also went over the $200,000 mark in earnings after Saturday’s win after earning $3,300 in this trial effort. His earnings after six wins in 16 career starts now stand at $202,734.

“He didn’t get away like he can and kind of hesitated, but he really came running at the end and ran a big race at the end,” Robbins said. “I was really pleased. He’s a pretty good sized horse. He was a really big baby. He’s pretty proportional. He’s a really nice horse.”

Big Lew defeated Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap winner Flay by a head in this trial.

Rip Tide is another McColee Land & Livestock-bred colt by Corona Cartel that will take part in the Super Derby final after posting the seventh fastest time of :19.818. Third in his trials to Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million last year, Rip Tide ran second in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry Derby at Ruidoso Downs in June. He came into these trials after running in the All American Derby trials in mid-August.

Jaime Gomez’s Docs Best Card finished with the fifth fastest time of :19.793 after winning the fourth trial of the night. His victory accentuated a big night for Corona Cartel, as Docs Best Card was also sired by the legendary stallion. As for Docs Best Card, the brown colt always shines in trials. He’s now won or placed in all seven of his stakes trials and is a perfect seven for seven in qualifying to the finals. Docs Best Card finished second in the Kindergarten, Ed Burke Million, Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million futurities last year and ran third in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby in his start prior to these trials. Oscar Peinado piloted him to a ¾ length win in his Super Derby heat.

“He ran a great race,” Gomez said. “Peinado said he ran it easy and he didn’t have to push him at all.”

After a busy 11-race campaign in 2015, the Super Derby final will be Docs Best Card’s only fourth outing of 2016.

Gomez was back in the winner’s circle in the fifth and final trial of the night after saddling Lisa Anderson’s Go Black Benny to an upset win at 10-to-1 odds. Go Black Benny finished third in the Golden State Derby final at 30-to-1 odds on August 21. The Inseperable gelding finished with the eighth fastest clocking of the night.

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Flay and S-Quarter K LLC’s champion Ima Fearless Hero both qualified after running second and third, respectably, to Big Lew in their trial. Spackman Racing’s Time For Jess, meanwhile, also qualified after running second to Go Black Benny. Time For Jess had already qualified to run in the Adequan Derby Challenge final on October 29, but she might miss that race after making the field to Super Derby final lineup.

Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the November 6 Los Alamitos Super Derby: Rite Regal (:19.717), Jess A Pollitician (:19.767), Flash N Bling (:19.788), Big Lew (:19.789), Docs Best Card (:19.793), Flay (:19.805), Rip Tide (:19.818), Go Black Benny (:19.828), Time For Jess (:19.850) and Ima Fearless Hero (:19.853).