Sophomores Ready in Adequan Derby Challenge

Touch Of Paso favored in competitive Adquan Derby Challenge Championship.

October 26, 2011

Touch Of Paso

Touch Of Paso

The $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) drew a field of ten and several of the 3-year-olds are seeking their first graded stakes win. Touch Of Paso, bred in California by her owner, Larry D. Konecne, was installed as the 5-2 choice in the 400-yard stakes. Trained by James Hanson, the brown filly will break from post position 3 under rider Cody Jensen.

“We were lucky to get into the final,” said Ryan Hanson, who assists his father. “She won two in a row out here and then bled a little. But now, she’s happy and healthy and ready to go.”

Second choice on the morning line is Feature Honor, who has faced tough company in his 3-year-old season. Owned by Tremor Enterprises, the son of Feature Mr Jess has won two of his three starts in 2011 and posted a respectable fourth-place finish in trials for the American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

Trainer Bret Vickery, who won the 2005 edition of the race with LDS Dash For Dylan, will saddle Lajolla Famosa for owners Gary and Jeralyn Messenger. The Idaho-bred son of Streakin La Jolla has won 7 of his 15 lifetime starts and qualified for the Adequan Derby with a second-place finish to Classic Blush at Sandy Downs on June 25.

“He ran second in Idaho Falls, in a tight photo,” said Vickery. “We wanted to get him acclimated at Los Alamitos, but he had a tough trip in the $40,000 Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap (on, September 30).”

Rockin, owned by Jaime Dominguez and SM Cattle Co., represents Colorado, qualifying in the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge at Arapahoe Park. Trained by Roberto Sanchez, the bay gelding will be saddled by Rafael Orozco on Saturday night.

“This is his first time running at Los Alamitos,” said trainer Rafael Orozco. “We shipped him in last Saturday and he’s been doing well.”
Orozco was hoping to draw anywhere from post 3 out. He got his wish, as the Texas-bred son of Feature Mr Jess will break from the eight hole, with regular rider, Alonso Rivera in the irons.

Breaking from the far outside post will be Aquafina, a daughter of First Down Dash, owned and bred by Lucas Racing Inc. She began her 2011 campaign at Hialeah Park, winning a Derby at odd of 14-1, and did not see action again until August.

“She had two months off after Hialeah when we pulled an embryo and bred her to Stel Corona,” said Dan Lucas. “We tried to get her in a prep race, but there were no trials, so in her first race back, she won the Derby. We were very proud of that effort.”
The gray filly was 14-1 in the $37,710 Adequan Los Alamitos Derby Challenge, out finishing Touch Of Paso, who she will face again on Saturday.

Maryland-bred Aquafina, who is trained by James Lackey, is a sister to world champion Wave Carver and champion Ocean Runaway.
The draw for the 3-year-olds took place on Wednesday’s draw and brunch at Los Alamitos. The Derby Challenge Championship starters, in post position order with their jockeys and morning-line odds, are:

Classic Blush, Jesse Chavis, 10-1
Differently, G.R. Carter, 30-1
Touch Of Paso, Cody Jensen, 5-2
T Gold J, Ramon Sanchez, 8-1
Throwin Fits, Alfonso Lujan, 20-1
Feature Honor, Ramon Sanchez, 3-1
Thirds Blue Legend, Alejandro Luna, 30-1
Rockin, Alonso Rivera, 8-1
Lajolla Famosa, Francisco Rubio, 8-1
Aquafina, Antonio Alberto, 9-2

The Derby Challenge Championship is sponsored by Adequan, the official equine joint therapy manufacturer of AQHA. Los Alamitos will run 12 races on Saturday evening, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Adequan Derby Challenge has been set as the 9th race on the card with an approximate post time of10:07 p.m. Pacific time.

This is the ninth time that Los Alamitos Race Course has hosted the Bank of America Racing Challenge Championships. The event will be televised on TVG, or racing fans may watch it live, free of charge, on Q-Racing Video at Check for the latest news and information. BY MARTHA CLAUSSEN