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Recaps for Claiming stakes on California Champions Night

June 20, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

From: Orlando Gutirrez


 Veteran 11-year-old gelding Ganster closed out California Breeders Champions night with a big win in the 400-yard $5,000 Senior Claiming Stakes. Ganster earned $9,185 of the $16,700 purse.         

Ganster, making his 84th career start, flew late to edge 9-2 third choice Ryans Ridge by a nose in the closest of the 13-races contested on California Breeders Champions Night. Big Mouth was back in third place.

“I had no doubt he won the race,” trainer Jose Flores said. “I know him, and he is such a class horse. You can tell when he turns it on and gets competitive at the end.”

Ganster picked up his 23rd career victory after being sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of nine. His final time for the 400 yards was 20.20 seconds. Ganster big win was a bittersweet for owner Guillermo Morales and trainer Jose Antonio Flores because the horse was claimed out of the race by trainer Paul Jones. Ganster had been in Jones’s stable prior to being claimed two years ago by Morales and Flores.

“I’ve had the horse for two years now, and I’m going to miss him,” Morales said. “He might be ready to retire, but he is still running tough.”


Favorite Ahme Gone stalked the pace and rallied around the far turn to pull away and win the 870-yard Senior Distance Claiming Stakes by two lengths.

Keats got out to an early lead and was pressured through the first quarter mile by Bac to Streak. At the quarter pole, jockey Alex Bautista swung Ahme Gone to the outside, and the four-year-old bay gelding pulled away to win in a time of 46.48 seconds. Keats finished second, and Azure Classic Dash ran on late for third place.

Ahme Gone’s victory was his first in eight starts in 2004.

“I knew we were the class of the race,” owner Rod MacPherson said. “Once I saw that we were laying close to the pace, I felt pretty comfortable. It was tough going against a horse that has won five in a row [Keats], but we had been facing better horses, and I thought we should beat these.”

“I really thought [Ahme Gone] would make the lead, but the other horse [Keats] beat him to it,” trainer John Cooper added. “[Ahme Gone] finished strong.”

The late, great owner/breeder Jay Parsons bred Ahme Gone, who is a bay gelding by Chicks Beduino and out of the stakes winning mare Miga Ja. Ahme Gone earned $10,326 for his win.


Favorite Scoopemup Willie outlasted second-choice Mistival in a photo finish to win the 350-yard $19,100 Sophomore Claiming Stakes and capture his third victory in five starts.

Scoopemup Willie broke with the leaders and stayed on strongly under jockey Alejandro Luna to win by a head in a time of 17.77 seconds. Veriable finished third.

“He broke super,” trainer Paul Jones said of Scoopempu Willie. “He lugged in a little bit, but Alejandro Luna said he let the horse drift in to hook the horse to his inside. I felt confident during the race, and Alejandro kept a good hold of him.”

Shannon Demler owns Scoopemup Willie, who is a gelding by Willie Wanta Dash and out of the broodmare Miss Easter Scoop. Jon and Marlys Torkelson bred Scoopemup Willie, who earned $10,505 for the win.


 Even-money favorite Whats Your Game broke on top and pulled away to win the 400-yard $18,925 Senior Claiming Stakes by three quarters of a length in a time of 19.99 seconds.

Whats Your Game and jockey Rodrigo Aceves beat out Manhood, and it was one length back to the thirdplace finisher Nora GVL. The victory by Whats Your Game was his third win in a row, and he has progressively stepped up in class in each of his recent victories.

After the race, Whats Your Game was claimed for $10,000 by trainer Francisco Mercado for Guadalupe Villalobos. Hall of Fame owner/breeder Spencer Childers bred Whats Your Game, who is a bay colt by Jazzing Hi and out of Games Are Fun. Whats Your Game earned $10,408 for his fourth win in 21 starts.

Twenty-four-year-old owner Hemerio Hernandez, who had claimed Whats Your Game two starts ago, was happy after his horse’s win but also said he regretted that he would be losing his horse to new connections.

“He ran his race. I guess I will see him in another barn because he got claimed, but that’s part of the game,” he said.

Hernandez has been coming to Los Alamitos since he was six-years-old. Hernandez works at a software company but he is truly interest in following a career in racing.

“I am looking into the racing program at Arizona University,” he said. “Horses are what I really love.”