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Ugly Duckling is Beautiful to Leon Brothers


March 26, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

(photo by courtesy Portland Meadows)
By Patrick J. Kerrison
Portland, OR – “It’s been an awesome year for us and this filly,” owner Sergio Leon said after La Kangura won Sunday afternoon’s $21,300 Portland Meadows Derby Finals for Quarter Horses.

A 10-horse field reduced to nine with the late scratch of Judge Jana, and La Kangura broke well under rider Zachary Sebreth.

Chasing early leaders CPR First Feature and Oh Perks Go, La Kangura took full advantage of post position eight and was hustled along under a hand ride by Sebreth.

“She doesn’t like the stick,” said Juan Leon, La Kangura’s other owner. “Any time Zachary would go to the whip she’d move away from it and veer out, or in, depending on which hand he’s using.”

“I told him in the paddock to hand ride her as best you can,” Leon continued. “And if she’s fallen behind and you think you need to go to it [the whip] then do it. He didn’t need to,” he said through a smile.

Midway through the 400-yard test for 3-year-old Quarter Horses, La Kangura took the lead by a head. CPR First Feature and Oh Perks Go were far from through as they continued to offer a challenge.

By the time they crossed the wire, La Kangura maintained his narrow head advantage with CPR First Feature next by a head in front of Oh Perks Go.

Time of the race was 20.49.

Trained by Gary Klinger, La Kangura is a 3-year-old brown filly by Fastnfierce out of Annie Moon Jazz by Jazzing Around. She was bred by Duane L. Dillinger.

She returned $8.40, $4.40 and $3.00.

CPR First Feature paid $8.80 and $4.00 for second. Oh Perks Go, the race favorite at 60-cents on the dollar, returned $2.60 to show.
The Leon Brothers have enjoyed a fruitful year with La Kangura as she has posted a 3-2-0 record from six starts at the meet, winning the Northwest Futurity, the Memorial and now the PM Derby.

“You know, no one wanted this filly,” Sergio Leon stated after her third stakes victory of the meeting. “The owner [breeder Duane Dillinger] couldn’t sell her to anyone. My brother Juan and I bought another horse from him once before so he said if we wanted her he’d drop the price. He dropped her to about $2,300 so we bought her.

“She was an ugly duckling. No one wanted her. No one,” he laughed. “Since then she’s done nothing but give us a lot of fun.”

La Kangura increased her career record to 4-2-1 from eight starts with earnings of $25,108.