The Racing Journal Logo

BH Lisas Boy and Ima Fearless Hero top Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials

January 28, 2017     E-mail this page to a friend!

Making his first start since late October, Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy looked razor sharp when posting a big daylight win in the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1 $150,900 Los Alamitos Winter Championship, while 2015 AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding Ima Fearless Hero outdueled newly crowned 2016 PCQHRA Horse of the Year Zoomin For Spuds to win the other trial on Friday night at the Orange County track.

The horses with the 10 fastest times from the two 400-yard trials move on the Winter Championship final, scheduled for Friday, February 17. The winner of the Grade 1 final earns the first automatic starting berth to this year’s $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 16.

Ridden by Cesar De Alba and saddled for the first time by trainer John Cooper, BH Lisas Boy looked like he thoroughly enjoyed his time back on the track after some time off. In his first outing since running second to Ajs High in the Grade 1 Bank of America Challenge Championship on October 29, the homebred Idaho gelding by Mighty Invictus cruised to a 1 ½ length wire-to-wire win after covering the 400 yards in :19.944 facing head wind of 28 miles per hour. In preparation for 2017 debut, BH Lisas Boy came in after posting a pair of 220-yard workouts, first on December 20 and then on January 8. It all paid off, as he delivered his 11th win 21 career starts. He was the 4-5 favorite in his trial.

Meanwhile, Cooper looks to saddle his second consecutive winner of the Winter Championship after training the late great AQHA champion Moonist to victory last year. Cooper has a good one his side, as BH Lisas Boy won the Bank of America California Regional Challenge and was second in three Grade 1 races last year.

“Bill did not want to haul him home (in the Northwest part of the United States),” Cooper said. “There’s a lot of snow up there right now. We turned him out at Firth Ranch for 30 days and I got him up. Bill wanted me to keep him here until he comes with the babies because he had to break them. I really appreciate him for having confidence in me to do that. It’s like he said to me, ‘I’ll probably be the worst owner that you’ve ever had,’ ” Cooper added with a laugh.

“Bill loves that horse and he really is a nice horse,” he continued. “There’s no telling how good this horse really is. We probably got about 100 pounds in him that he didn’t have and that’s helped him a little bit. I was interested to see how he would do because some horses might race differently when they have the added weight. He broke extremely well this evening.”

In addition to his runner-up effort in the Bank of America Championship, the 5-year-old gelding also ran second to 2015 World Champion Heza Dasha Fire in both the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap and the Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.

Ed Allred’s He Looks Hot, a two-time Grade 1 winner in his career, finished second in this trial while posting the fourth fastest qualifying time of :20.186. Trained by Scott Willoughby, the son of Walk Thru Fire is now less than $10,000 away from becoming a millionaire. His second place finish in this trial earned him $1,350 to take his career bankroll to $990,835.

S-Quarter K LLC’s Ima Fearless Hero held off Jim Walker’s Zoomin For Spuds by a neck to win the opening trial of the night. Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Ima Fearless Hero posted the second fastest qualifying time of :20.101 while also racing into a 28 mile per hour head wind. Zoomin For Spuds, making his first start since winning the Champion of Champions on December 10, finished with the third fastest clocking of :20.141.

Sent off at 7-1 odds, Ima Fearless Hero was picking up his first win since a nose victory in his trial to the PCQHRA Breeders Derby on September 10. A Grade 1 winner of $1,055,292 in his career, Ima Fearless Hero had a quiet year in which he posted just one win from six starts in 2016. Sired by Valiant Hero, Ima Fearless Hero’s victory over Zoomin For Spuds was a delightful surprise for S-Quarter K’s Kathy Meneely.

“He slept all day long and was flat footed in the saddling paddock and I was just hoping for him to qualify,” Meneely said. “It (worries) you a little when on race day he’s sleeping all day, but maybe he’s maturing like his older brother (2015 World Champion Heza Dasha Fire).

“To run a race like that, that was fabulous. He never ran 100 percent last year because he got an infection in July and then he had thyroid issue two or three races later. He just (wasn’t) 100 percent. We were really pleased with how he did tonight and watching that race I guess he’s feeling close to 100 percent. I’m tickled pink with how he did. When you win a race things look better.”

Ima Fearless Hero picked up his eighth win in 15 career starts.

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Monty Arrossa, Zoomin For Spuds trailed throughout, but still posted a solid race. The 4-year-old gelding by Zoomin For Bux won six stakes races at Los Alamitos in 2016, a great year that netted him a total of three PCQHRA awards (Horse of the Year, top 3-year-old gelding and Intermountain Horse of the Year in California) plus the AQHA title for top 3-year-old gelding. The loss did snap Zoomin For Spuds’ four-race win streak.

The complete list of qualifiers to the February 17 Grade 1, Los Alamitos Winter Championship is as follows: BH Lisas Boy (:19.944), Ima Fearless Hero (:20.101), Zoomin For Spuds (:20.141), He Looks Hot (:20.186), Stevie B First Cash (:20.213), Mr PYC To You (:20.345), Jess A Pollitician (:20.366), Timely Delivery (:20.369), We Like Corona (:20.443) and Megatron Harry (:20.446).