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Los Alamitos Winter Derby set for February 24


February 21, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE, CYPRESS, CA.... Trainer Paul Jones will aim for his fourth win in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby when he saddles half of the 10 horses that will compete in the 400-yard $210,550 finale on Friday night.
Jones, who won the four derby trials three weeks ago, will send out fastest qualifier Strawkins, Golden State Million Futurity runner-up Wave Carver, the talented Volcom, Separate Encounter and Mia Jones. The AQHA Champion trainer won this race with Whosleavingwho in 2001, Lock To Load in '03 and One More Habit in '05. Jones is looking to win back-to-back runnings of the Winter Derby for the first time in his career.
Strawkins appears to be the trainer's best chance to win the Winter Derby following two impressive winning performances over this racing strip. The Oregon-bred gelding by Hawkinson was a powerful length winner of qualifiers Wanta Dubloon and He Storms while covering the distance in :19.46. In his previous start, Strawkins dead-heated for the win with Marina Del Rey Handicap winner Gottobes Cat in the Holiday Handicap.
Racing for Vessels Stallion Farm, Lucas Racing, Muller Racing and Vaughn Cook, Wave Carver has won each of his last two starts in impressive fashion, including his derby trial over qualifier Startlet Hawk by a half-length.
"Wave Carver has matured a lot," Cook said of the younger brother of three-time champion Ocean Runaway. "I think he will have a nice 3-year-old year. He's starting to really put it all together. He made just every dance last year. He ran green in the Million trials and missed qualifying but then he came to win the Juvenile. He's been blessed with soundness the whole time and hopefully he'll stay sound the entire year."
J. Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley's Value The Man will be one of the favorite in the Winter Derby after second place finish to Volcom in the trials plus his upset win over champion Higher Fire in the Grade 1 $1.5 million Los Alamitos Million Futurity on February 3. In what has become his trademark, Value The Man rallied from fourth to second in his derby trial.
"That's his style," said Yearsley, referring to Value The Man's potent late kick. "He ran a similar race in the Million."
Ed Allred's He Storms and Spencer Childers' Wanta Dubloon, a pair of Los Alamitos Million finalist, are hoping to surprise in the final. He Storms is out of Mega Storm, the winner of the Grade 1 Ed Burke Memorial Futurity in 1995. Childers won the Winter Derby with World Champion Be A Bono in 2004.
The field from the rail is as follows; Value The Man, Marshals Law, He Storms, Strawkins, Mia Jones, Wanta Dubloon, Volcom, Separate Encounter, Startlet Hawk and Wave Carver.