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Road to Champion of Champions kicks off with Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Friday night


February 13, 2017     E-mail this page to a friend!

BH Lisas Boy sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.944—from two trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Championship
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Update: The Los Alamitos Winter Championship has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 19. Go to http://www.theracingjournal.com/news/news-2420.html for the full story.



The first of 10 automatic berths to the prestigious $600,000 Champion of Champions is up for grabs, as the winner of the Grade 1, $150,900 Los Alamitos Winter Championship here on Friday night, February 17, earns a ticket to race in the Champion of Champions on Saturday, December 16.

Ten horses are scheduled to race in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, headed by the reigning Champion of Champions winner Zoomin For Spuds and fastest qualifier BH Lisas Boy.


(Note: go to http://www.theracingjournal.com/news/news-2410.html for the complete trials report.)

Trained by Monty Arrossa for owner Jim Walker, Zoomin For Spuds posted the third-fastest qualifying to the Winter Championship and now looms as one of the favorites to earn the first berth to the 2017 Champion of Champions. Making the Champion of Champions field is tough enough—winning back-to-back runnings of the 440-yard classic is the stuff of legends. In fact, world champions Dash For Cash, Refrigerator and SLM Big Daddy are the only runners to successfully defend their Champion of Champions title.

However, don’t sell Zoomin For Spuds short. The gelding by Zoomin For Bux absolutely loves Los Alamitos Race Course and has already won seven stakes races here during his career, including six stakes victories last year. Zoomin For Spuds was named the PCQHRA Horse of the Year and the PCQHRA and AQHA champion 3-year-old gelding.

“This one is for 84-years-young Jim Walker, who has spent over 40 years breeding Quarter Horses,” said Arrossa on the night that Zoomin for Spuds was named PCQHRA Horse of the Year. “Jim is Mr. Positive and the reason that all this has happened. I came up with the crazy idea of paying him into the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials and Jim said ‘Let’s do it.’ He is always ready to try a challenge and it paid off with Zoomin For Spuds. This shows that small breeders can still achieve great things in this sport.”

Winning in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials earned Zoomin For Spuds his berth to last year’s Champion of Champions and a date with 2015 World Champion Heza Dasha Fire. The two hooked up in the final, but it was the sophomore star Zoomin for Spuds that came out on top. Now a strapping 4-year-old, Zoomin For Spuds needs to be at the top of his game to earn a trip back to defend his Champion of Champions title. To be ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, he’ll be facing a salty field in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, one headed by Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy and S-Quarter K LLC’s Ima Fearless Hero, the younger brother of Heza Dasha Fire.

Ridden by Cesar De Alba and saddled for the first time by trainer John Cooper, BH Lisas Boy looked razor sharp in the trials to the Winter Championship. The homebred Idaho gelding by Mighty Invictus cruised to a 1½-length wire-to-wire win after covering the 400 yards in :19.944 facing headwind of 28 miles per hour. Cooper and De Alba look to partner for a second straight win in the Winter Championship after winning last year’s running with the outstanding late AQHA champion Moonist. BH Lisas Boy won the Bank of America California Regional Challenge here and also finished second in three Grade 1 races in 2016.

“There’s no telling how good this horse really is,” said Cooper of BH Lisas Boy.

His second place finishes came in the Grade 1 Bank of America Challenge Championship, Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap and the Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.

Ima Fearless Hero held off Zoomin For Spuds by a neck in their Winter Derby trial while posting the second fastest qualifying time of :20.101 (also facing the 28 mile-per-hour headwind). The trial victory marked Ima Fearless Hero’s first since September 10. The gelding by Valiant Hero has enjoyed some great victories at Cypress track led by the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. Ima Fearless Hero comes into this race having won $1,055,292 in his racing career.

“To run a race like (his trial win), that was fabulous,” said Kathy Meneely of S-Quarter K. “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. We were really pleased with how he did in the trials.”

Ima Fearless Hero goes after his ninth win in 16 career starts.

Ed Allred’s He Looks Hot, a two-time Grade 1 winner in his career, is another top contender after posting the fourth fastest qualifying time. Trained by Scott Willoughby, He Looks Hot is less than $10,000 away from becoming the first millionaire that Allred has raced. He Looks Hot could also join Fawna Knight’s Worth Doing as millionaires bred by Allred, who is Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading breeder.

Stevie B First Cash, Mr PYC To You, Jess A Pollitician, Timely Delivery, We Like Corona and Megatron Harry complete the field.