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Kindergarten Futurity preview

May 13, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ten of the best 2-year-olds in the country will race in next Saturday’s Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos. Here’s a quick look at three of the contenders heading into the Grade 1 $262,900 final.
     South Carolina is not a traditional Quarter Horse hotbed but that hasn’t stopped owner Tommy Bass from campaigning several top-level sprinters since 1985. Bass and his family reside in Lakeview, South Carolina, a town 30 miles east of Myrtle Beach. There, the 52-year-old bases his Quarter Horse operation that is currently 12 racehorses strong. In addition, Bass also owns a combined 22 broodmares, yearlings and weanlings.
     Over the year, Bass has owned and raced the likes of 1994 All American Derby winner I Hear A Symphony, who also ran in the Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos, as well as 1999 All American Congress Derby winner Ronas Man. His latest star is AB Whos Your Daddy, who will be in action in the $262,900 Kindergarten Futurity on Saturday, May 14. 
     “We’ve had luck with the horses over the years,” Bass said. “We’ve won a couple of futurities and AB Whos Your Daddy’s brother, Hope For Fame, won the All American Congress Futurity at Beulah Park in Ohio last year. In fact, about 15 minutes after AB Whos Your Daddy ran in in the trials, Hope For Fame won the (Grade 3 $38,442) Alabama Derby at Delta Downs. As far as the cost of racing horses, we’ve been lucky in that our horses have always made enough money to take care of themselves. Plus, I’m the type that if a horse is not performing on the track then I will find something else for him to do. If they can’t do it on the track then I’ll try them in barrel racing or some other type of activity. It’s a great thing that Quarter Horses are such versatile horses.” 
      Based on his performances, AB Whos Your Daddy figures to be at the track for a long time. The son of Royal Quick Dash will already be making his fourth outing and second stakes appearance when he takes part in the Kindergarten final.
      “AB Whos Your Daddy’s problem is that he’s a bad gate horse,” Bass admitted. “He needs to work on settling down in the gate. In his first career start he hopped out of the gate and was two lengths back right at the break. He still came back to win the race but he ended up as the 11th fastest qualifier out of 139 horses. In the futurity consolation he was bumped early but fought bck to be part of that blanket finish. That’s one thing about this horse, he does have a lot of heart.”
      AB Whos Your Daddy’s dam is Flame Of Hope, a legendary sprinter in the bush tracks of South Carolina. “She had a huge heart,” Bass said. “She won 36 of 37 starts. When Flame Of Hope ran for the last time, she was pregnant with the dam of AB Whos Your Daddy. She ran with that baby inside her and still won the race. She was something else.”
      Bass, who makes a living renting coin-operated arcade games, pool tables, juke boxes, etc, will be in town to watch AB Whos Your Daddy in the Kindergarten.
      “Two Corona Special looked very tough in the trials, but I think my horse has a chance,” he said. “AB Whos Your Daddy made a nice move in the middle of the race but he also tried to lug in. He should be a lot tougher considering that he arrived just 16 to 17 days before the trials. If he stands well in the gate and gets a good trip then anything can happen.”
     In 2001, Dutch Masters III became the first owners in more than 20 years to win back-to-back runnings of the Kindergarten Futurity with superstar fillies Secret Card and Sassy Smith. The stable will now try to add to its impressive record in the Kindergarten Futurity with the powerful entry of Gold Nugget Rd and Higher Fire.
      Gold Nugget Rd and Higher Fire have a lot in common. Jaime Gomez trains both horses, and both are offspring of freshman sire Walk Thru Fire, whom Gomez owns.  And while Higher Fire, the third-fastest qualifier for the Kindergarten Futurity, ran faster in the trials than her stablemate, Gomez said he is just as confident about the chances of Gold Nugget Rd.
     “He is one of my favorite horses,” the trainer said.  “He is really smart.  He does everything the right way.”
     Gold Nugget Rd broke his maiden on April 10 with a 2-1/4-length victory.  In the third trial for the Kindergarten Futurity, the brown gelding was runner-up to second-fastest qualifier Finding Nemo.
     “He was throwing his head up during the race,” Gomez said.  “So I expect him to run better in the final.”

     Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Eye Jess Cant Wait is likely to be a longshot in the $262,900 Kindergarten Futurity, as he is still a maiden. But trainer Jose Flores knows first hand that his horse still has as good a chance as any to do well in the rich Grade 1 final. In fact the trainer’s lone win in the Kindergarten Futurity came with an outsider in 1997 with 68-1 shot Sneaky Fast.
    “Winning with Sneaky Fast just taught me you’re never out of it,” Flores said.  “Sneaky Fast qualified ninth or tenth but came back to win the race.  So now I’m hoping to repeat that.  It’s been awhile, so it would be nice to get back in the winner’s circle in the Kindergarten Futurity.”
      Avila and Cuevas bought Eye Jess Cant Wait as a yearling at the Heritage Place Sale in Oklahoma. “I’m so grateful to Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas,” Flores said.  “They are good owners.  They did not have too much luck at first, but it’s nice to see that things have turned around.  They’re very loyal.”
     The Texas-bred sired by Feature Mr Jess began his career by running second Love My Corona on April 8. Eye Jess Cant Wait then returned with a third place finish in a highly productive Kindergarten trial that also produced finalists Higher Fire, the aforementioned Love My Corona and AB Whos Your Daddy.
     “We’re happy to be in (the finals),” Flores said.  “(Eye Jess Cant Wait) is coming along and has more talent to show.  If he gets a clean break, he might just surprise everyone.”

The field to the Kindergarten Futurity
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Grade 1 * $262,900 * 300 Yards
Post Horse Odds
1 AB Whos Your Daddy 20-1
2 Finding Nemo 5-2
3 Gold Nugget Rd (entry) 5-2
4 Eye Jess Cant Wait 20-1
5 Litedasher 30-1
6 Dash To La Jolla 20-1
7 Casique Corona 8-1
8 Love My Corona 8-1
9 Higher Fire (entry) 5-2      
10 Two Corona Special 2-1
Morning Line odds by Ed Burgart