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Montana owners win Masterpiece Futurity at Los Alamitos


December 21, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

She’s Really Special in Masterpiece Victory
How sweet it must have been for owner Mitch Palmer to be in the winner’s circle after his prized filly Really Special had held off Double Bar S Ranch’s One Last Hero by a nose in the $120,100 Masterpiece Futurity Saturday at Los Alamitos. After all, Palmer had stood in that very same spot back on July 8 after Really Special daylighted the field in the California Paint Horse Futurity only to see her be disqualified from first and placed third for bothering a rival in the race.

“That was so very disappointing,” said Palmer of Billings, Montana. “To win this race makes up for that setback in a big way. I’m so happy right now. I couldn’t feel any better than I do right now.”

And why wouldn’t he feel great, considering the filly sired by 2000 Masterpiece Futurity winner Real Easy Cash had just earned $50,422 for her :17.79 seconds of work in the 350-yard race. The runner-up in the Graham Paint Futurity earlier this year, Really Special will finish the year with three wins from seven starts and earnings of $93,580.

“This filly never got the recognition she should’ve had the whole year. She was dq’d from that race here and she was moved up from second to first in her trial for the Graham Futurity,” Palmer explained. “You put those two things together and she just didn’t get her due. Hopefully, a few more people will notice her now.”

Ridden by Alex Bautista for trainer Charles Treece, Really Special never led by more than neck during the entire race. First she battled Double Dose Of Cash before having to contend with Meadow Man and eventually with One Last Hero, who was eighth at the start before making an incredible late run to finish second. And to think that Really Special came very close to missing the futurity trials.

“When she got here after running the Graham final, she had a 105 degree temperature when she stepped out of the trailer,” Treece said. “We had to nurse her to the trials. Eddie Garcia rode her in the trials and he did a great job taking care of her and qualifying for this race. Alex rode her great tonight but Eddie earned his 5 percent because of the way he took care of her in the trials.

“This filly has always done great for me but I have to give credit to Tooter Jordan, who trained her while she was at Lone Star Park for the Graham,” Treece continued. “She had an abscess when she went to Lone Star and Tooter did a great job to get her through that. She ended up finishing second in the Graham and she really matured a lot while she was there.”

“She got a clean break and ran wonderful from there,” Bautista said. “I could see One Last Hero coming hard at the end but the filly stayed strong and got to the wire first.”

“I just feel very fortunate to own her,” Palmer added. “I bought her for about $8,900 here at the old Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Yearling & Mixed Stock Sale and I’ve always loved her. Her dam, Elans Special, won the All American Futurity, so the potential has always been there. Her breeder (Ed Allred) deserves all the credit for this filly. I’m looking forward to seeing her become a good broodmare. She’s tall, beautiful and tri-colored. She’s a great looking filly.”

Palmer was smiling from ear to ear on this night, a far different sight than when he shook his head in disappointment after watching his filly get taken down from the top spot in the California Futurity.

“I had just broken my neck from accident at my farm, so I was going through a lot of emotions on that night,” he said. “I should probably be wearing my neckbrace right now.”

In addition to his main residence in Billings, the owner also has a place in Chandler, Oklahoma.

“I bought that place two weeks before I broke my neck so I really haven’t had a chance to enjoy it. I will enjoy it in the future, you can be sure of that. Hopefully, that’s where we’ll set up our breeding operation. The weather is a little bit warmer there than it is in Montana.”

And you can be sure that Palmer will be around this sport for a long time.

“I love the Paint business. I love the challenges it provides. I want to contribute to this breed as much as I can and I certainly want Really Special to be a part of that.”

Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Lin Melton, One Last Hero earned $20,417 for his second place finish. The Connie Hall-trainee Credit For Cash, who was moved up to first in the California Paint Horse Futurity, finished third. Meadow Man, Easy Twelve, Heros Strawbaby, Double Dose Of Cash, Judy Janise, Marys Super Hero and Special Summer completed the field.

Calista Corona wins Masterpiece Derby
Three-year-old moves closer to all-time record
Charles Trochta’s Calista Corona will have his sights set on three-time World Champion Izzy Legal’s all-time earnings mark for a Paint Horse in 2006 after the gelding by Corona Cartel boosted his earnings over the $150,000 mark with a runaway victory in Saturday’s $38,100 Masterpiece Derby at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Connie Hall, who was saddling her second Masterpiece Derby winner, Calista Corona earned $16,296 for his Masterpiece Derby effort, leaving him $12,000 shy of Izzy Legal’s career mark of $171,000 and change. For the record, Calista Corona, who is one of only five Paint Horses ever to win over $100,000 in their 2-year-old campaign, has now bankrolled $159,238 in his career.

Ridden, as always, by Larry Payne, Calista Corona was always in control of the Masterpiece Derby, as he flew out of post three to take the neck lead. Bred by Sammy and Nadine Hester, Calista Corona extended his lead from there, going on to an impressive 1-½ length victory in a time of :17.58. Guy Weimer’s Beatyou finished second, while Laural J Ranch’s Acquire The Fire finished third.

The night belonged to Calista Corona, as the sprinter out of the Treasured mare Little Sara improved his record to 10 wins from 15 career starts. He has been outstanding this year, as he’s won five of seven starts, including the Pioneer Derby here earlier this year. He entered this race after having campaigned at Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he won a $25,000 stakes and finished third in a $40,000 event.

“I’ve had Calista Corona for about a month now,” said Hall, who won the second running of the Masterpiece with Real Easy Cash in 2001. “I had him here last year as well. We’ve had a lot of fun with him.”

He finished second to Linda La Jolla in last year’s $131,900 Masterpiece Futurity and he was the winner of the $191,233 Graham Paint Futurity at Sam Houston Race Park in 2005.
He Dreams, Crow Sovereign, Summer Leader, Miami Secret, Texas Swoosh, Rarin To Run and Make Mine Solid Cash competed the field.

*Four Montana owners had horses compete in the Masterpiece Derby. Guy Weimer of Billings had second-place finisher Beatyou; Miami Secret, owned by Ray and Wendy Norgaard, Jr. of Montana finished seventh; in eighth was Texas Swoosh owned by Bill Nooney of Missoula; and Make Mine Solid Cash, owned by Mitch and Toby Palmer of Billings, was tenth.