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Field set for $260K Golden State Derby

August 19, 2017     E-mail this page to a friend!

Kissed By An Eagle sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.542—from four trials to the Golden State Derby
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Figueroa sends out fastest-qualifier Kissed By An Eagle

Story by Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos Race Course

Kissed By An Eagle, That Rico, and Chazaq head the Grade 2 $259,900 Golden State Derby on Sunday, August 20 at Los Alamitos after each posted impressive daylight victories in their respective trial heats.

This year’s Derby is the richest running of the race since 2010, after the 31 runners that participated in four derby heats on August 6 was the largest number of participants in these trials in more than 25 years.

Owned by Mark and Peggy Brown, Kissed By An Eagle was brilliant in his 400-yard trial victory, as he flew from the outside post number eight to score a 1½-length win in what was easily the fastest qualifying time of the night, at :19.542. His winning time was 22/100ths of a second faster (about a 1¼ lengths) than Lotta Blues Man, who was the next-fastest qualifier.

Ridden by Cesar De Alba, Kissed By An Eagle’s victory was also the first ever as a trainer for his new conditioner, Roman Figueroa. “Fig” won 913 Quarter Horse races during his riding career at Los Alamitos with several of his top wins coming aboard horses trained by his father-in-law, the legendary Blane Schvaneveldt. For Blane, Figueroa piloted C.R. Pott’s My Debut to victory in the 1995 Champion of Champions and Jay and Polly Parson’s champion First Sovereign to a win in the 1998 Ed Burke Million Futurity. Figueroa also piloted Spencer Childers’ champion Uncas in his Los Alamitos Derby win in 1997 for trainer Bob Gilbert and was aboard Finely Tuned during her three consecutive wins in the Miss Princess Handicap (1985-87) for trainer Wayne Thompson. He also piloted the Schvaneveldt-trained runners Dashing Val, Cash Perks, and Templetonian to major stakes wins at the Orange County oval.

“It feels really good because I guarantee you that training is a lot of work,” Figueroa said. “It’s not like getting on and riding them through there. (Kissed By An Eagle) is pretty much a natural. He’s a very easy horse to work with. I wanted to thank Mark and Peggy Brown for letting us have this horse to train. He’s going to be heard from some more because he’s really a nice horse.”

One Famous Eagle sired the Idaho-bred gelding, who came into this race after winning the Vandy’s Flash Handicap on June 25.

Grade 1 winners Lotta Blues Man and Chazaq also impressed on trial night. Owned by Lucky Seven Ranch, the AQHA champion owners in 2016, Lotta Blues Man won the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity last year and was a top three finisher in both the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Making his third start of the year, the son of Favorite Cartel picked up his first victory of the season after covering the distance in :19.743. With Cody Jensen aboard for trainer Mike Casselman, Lotta Blues Man finished a neck ahead of runner-up Trippys Royal Jess. Cartel Sixes, who ran in all three of the million dollar futurities held here last year, broke through the gate before the start, but was reloaded and finished a game third. Trippys Royal Jess and Cartel Sixes both qualified to the derby final.

“We have been standing the horse quite a bit because he got himself left a couple of outings ago,” Casselman said of Lotta Blues Man. “We’ve stood him enough and then they had that big delay (in his trial). He handle all that really well and never moved a muscle, but when they kicked it he kind of got left and then got hit by the five horse. Cody (Jensen) said he tried real hard until he got ahead of everybody and then he kind of just looked around.”

Owned by Dutch Masters III and trainer by Cody Jensen, Chazaq bumped leaving the gate before cruising to a length victory in the fifth fastest time of :19.777. The son of Corona Cartel has won both of his 2017 starts by daylight.

“I have my two big horses in the final so I’m pleased,” said Gomez referring to Chazaq and Cartel Sixes. “Chazaq ran a good race. He kind of got hit a little bit leaving the gate, but thankfully the other horses went out and he was able to get rolling. He ran his race. He got a little tired. He ran 300 yards in his last starts. He’ll be good for the final. We have a couple of weeks to get him ready. Cartel Sixes, he broke through the gate and then got hit on his backside leaving there, but he ran a very good race from that point on. I can’t ask for anything better. The barn had a good night getting both of these horses in the final.”

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s That Rico has won his last two outings with his trial victory being by 1 ¼ lengths. He had previously posted a nose win in the Independence Day Handicap and before that he was third in the Dillingham Handicap and third in the El Primero Del Ano Derby. The Carters Cartel gelding has won three of six starts this year.

“He really ran a good race,” Jones said. “(Jockey) Jesus Rios Ayala is getting along really great with him. This horse is a quick breaker and he finishes strong. We’re really proud of him and made no mistakes. He’s going to be in the final and that’s what matters.”

The full field for the Golden State Derby
Post                 Jockey      Odds
1 Seared Gomez 30-to-1
2 Cartel Sixes Nicasio 20-to-1
3 Kissed by an Eagle DeAlba 8-to-5
4 Trippys Royal Jess Nicasio 5-to-1
5 Chazaq Aceves 3-to-1
6 Thats a Good Reason Peinado 30-to-1
7 Lotta Blues Man Jensen 7-to-2
8 Designs by Dynasty Arvizu 50-to-1
9 Look At Her Sanchez 30-to-1
10 That Rico Ayala 5-to-1