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All set for California’s richest Quarter Horse race, the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, on Sunday night; Kawananakoa to receive honor

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

Lotta Blues Man wins his trial heat on November 20
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Stride for stride and second for second, the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity offers California’s biggest payout of the year, as winner of the Grade 1, $1,950,050 race will earn a first place check of $801,381 on Sunday night December 11.

With the race being contested at 400 yards, the winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million will earn about $40,000 per second of racing. Every yard the winner travels will be worth $2,003.45. Any way you cut, it’ll be a good day in the office for the winner.

Lucky Seven Ranch hopes to have another lucky night in 2016. The racing operation won the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap earlier this year with Champion of Champions finalist Sass Me Blue and the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity with Lotta Blues Man, who looks to win his second million dollar race of the year, as he’s the favorite in Sunday’s Los Alamitos Two Million after posting the fastest qualifying time in the trials on November 20.

(Note: for the complete report of the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, go to

Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Mike Casselman, Lotta Blues Man cruised to the fastest time of :19.713 over a fast track on trial night. He’s won three races in a row and five of six career starts. He won the Golden State Million by a half-length and was third in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 19.

Lotta Blues Man is one of three horse to qualify to all of the million dollar races at Los Alamitos this year. Worth Doing and Cartel Sixes are the other to have qualified to the Ed Burke Million, Golden State Million, and Los Alamitos Two Million final. Lotta Blues Man looks to give Russell and Lisa Stooks of Lucky Seven Ranch their second win in the Two Million following Blues Girl Too’s win in the 2006 Two Million.

Russell Stooks has given trainer Mike Casselman great credit for Lotta Blues Man’s year-long form.

"Mike has done an incredible job," Stooks added. "Every horse has a program tailored to that horse's needs. His barns are immaculate. You could eat off the floor of his barn. We're very happy. His help is the best and Cody Jensen is riding as good as anybody. It's a good team. It's a good program for this horse. (Lotta Blues Man) is not real big, but he's not real hard on himself. He's an easy keeper and sleeps a lot in the barn. We just need to get one more race out of him this year."

All American Futurity finalist One Hot Habit and Ed Burke Million runner-up Worth Doing are among the top juveniles also competing in the Los Alamitos Two Million final on Sunday.

Turner Farms' One Hot Habit finished second to Lotta Blue Man in their trials, but her time of :19.899 was fast enough to qualify and earned her a spot in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity final.

"We ran in the Ruidoso Futurity trials and qualified. We ran in the All American Futurity trials and qualified and now we ran in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials and qualified as well," Jones said. "We're three for three with this filly. We bought here at the sale and then I sent her to my ranch in Tularosa, New Mexico. My assistant Lisa Saumell, who manages the New Mexico ranch, did a great job working with this filly. She's a good filly. This is her first time out here and needed a race, but she ran a good second to the fastest qualifier, Lotta Blues Man. It's tough to get a horse in the finals here. It takes the right horse to qualify."

"When the Turners got her, they sent her right to me and I've had her ever since. I love having them in the elevation," Saumell said in an interview on And I love breaking babies - it's one of the things I do best. I like to look inside them and I like to really get to know them. I love having time with them on the ranch.

"One Hot Habit's a friendly filly who loves to be petted, and from Day 1 she has really been a dream to work with. "Fillies usually come with an attitude - and they're the ones that run! This filly didn't come with an attitude and she runs. She's been a sweetheart."

Trainer Jaime Gomez is one of the greatest trainers in Los Alamitos history. A lot of his great success has come in futurity events, as he’s won the Ed Burke Million Futurity four times, the Golden State Million Futurity three times and the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity once. His victory in the “Deuce” came with the great Corona Cartel in 1996 and Jaime’s second win in this great race could come some 20 years later with the son of Corona Cartel, Cartel Sixes. To be ridden by Rodrigo Aceves, Cartel Sixes has qualified to all three big futurities at Los Alamitos: the Ed Burke, the Golden State Million and now the Two Million.

Bred by Johnny Trotter, Cartel Sixes is a full brother to the outstanding Eye For Corona, the winner of the 2007 Golden State Million Futurity. Eye For Corona also ran second in that year's Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Ed Burke Million Futurity.

"It's unbelievable," said owner Pam Williams. "I told my husband before the trials that Cartel Sixes had already qualified to two of the million dollar futurities so whatever happened we were okay with it. But Jaime is the man. It's just unbelievable to see this horse qualify to all three big futurities. We'll be back in a couple of weeks for the final and we'll be back next year. California is my second home right now."

James Streelman and Paul Blanchard co-own Katella Deli, the other Gomez-charge in this race. Named after well-known delicatessen, restaurant and bakery located less than a mile from the track, Katella Deli has been one of Jaime’s favorites all year long.

“We’ve been unlucky with him a few times, but he’s a horse that I’ve loved since day one,” he said.

Blanchard is one of the most respected horsemen in New Mexico and the owner of The Downs at Albuquerque. Dr. Streelman is a staple at Los Alamitos. As one half of the famed Dutch Masters III, Streelman won the Ed Burke Million this year with Chazaq and has also campaigned star juveniles like Higher Fire, Romeo Ryon, Twin Spires and more. Carlos Huerta will ride.

Jess Mas, Billionaire Boy, Ms Jess Knockout, Kissed By An Eagle and Mr Apollitical Dash complete the field.

Princess of Quarter Horse racing to receive honorary diploma at Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity

Princess Abigail K. Kawananakoa, a celebrated breeder of racing American Quarter Horses and direct descendant of the Hawaiian royal family, will receive the diploma for her honorary doctorate from Colorado State University during a presentation Sunday at the 2016 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Kawananakoa’s Evening Snow won the inaugural running of Sunday’s event in 1995, when it as known as Los Alamitos Million Futurity. She has reigned among Quarter Horse racing’s most productive owners and breeders, with an empire unlike any other during the mid-1990s. In 1994 and 1995, Kawananakoa was voted AQHA Champion Owner based on the resounding success of her stable.

Fittingly, Kawananakoa, 90, will receive the diploma and a ceremonial commencement hood from Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, University Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedics and Founding Director of the Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University. The princess and the esteemed equine orthopaedic surgeon are longtime friends and well-known figures at Los Alamitos; McIlwraith has conducted surgery on many of Kawananakoa’s winning horses to maintain their musculoskeletal health.

CSU officially conferred the honorary doctorate to Kawananakoa in May 2016, but she was unable to attend the Graduate School commencement ceremony in Fort Collins, Colo. The presentation was postponed to Sunday – the first time the princess, who resides in Hawaii, has traveled to Los Alamitos in several years.

Kawananakoa earned the honorary degree from CSU for her longtime support of global equine health and for leadership in preserving native Hawaiian culture.

For many years, the princess has directed her energy and philanthropic resources toward the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian language, culture and history, noted Dr. Mark Stetter, dean of the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She also has been a lifelong devotee of horses, and as a young woman was a talented equestrian; this passion connected Kawananakoa to CSU and inspired her to promote research and teaching in equine musculoskeletal health.

For about 15 years, the princess has generously supported the CSU Orthopaedic Research Center, which investigates musculoskeletal problems and medical therapies for equine athletes, including racehorses. Because of similarities in the joints of horses and humans, the center’s discoveries often translate into advancements in human orthopaedic care.

“Abigail has been a tremendous friend to the Orthopaedic Research Center, and I have personally appreciated our shared interest in the health of the horse. With her support over many years, we have been able to accomplish a great deal,” said McIlwraith, an international pioneer of arthroscopic surgery and joint disease research in horses. “As our friendship has grown, I have been continually astounded by Abigail’s influence on the many cultural and civic projects she embarks upon. She is an incredible individual.”

She owns Lakeview Quarter Horse Farm in Nuevo, Calif., as well as ranches in Hawaii and Washington. The acclaimed horsewoman is best known as owner of A Classic Dash, winner of the 1993 All American Futurity, the world’s richest Quarter Horse race. In 1995, her horse Evening Snow won the inaugural Los Alamitos Million Futurity.

McIlwraith operated on both racehorses, using arthroscopic surgery to remove bone fragments from their joints. A Classic Dash then retired to stud. But Evening Snow returned to the track after knee surgery, and in 1996 the racing world was agog when he became the first horse of any breed to sprint the quarter-mile from a standing start in less than 21 seconds.