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Eight Fill Deep Directors' Trial

Eight top runners enter the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors' Trial

November 21, 2012

Johnny Trotter’s Hez Our Secret and Salvador Veliz’s Creston Goer meet the Double Bar S Ranch’s champion Jess You And I among the eight horses trying to fill the final spots in the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) when they start in the single $15,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Directors’ Trial on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Los Alamitos racing secretary Ronnie Church predicts three horses from the Directors will reach the 400-yard Champion of Champions on December 15. Under that scenario, the top-three finishers earn a Champion of Champions opportunity.

Hez Our Secret (First Down Dash-Secret Separation by Separatist) has just missed in the two richest derbies run in 2012. He was second behind Ochoa in the $2,235,000 All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs and then second by a neck in the $948,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) in his latest start. His two wins from six starts this year came in the trials to those two prestigious derbies and he has banked $569,502 this year to go with $172,943 earned as a juvenile.

The Trey Wood-trained Hez Our Secret also had success at Ruidoso Downs and Los Alamitos last year. He qualified for the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and then missed the finals because of colic surgery. Wood was able to bring him back late in the year at Los Alamitos and he finished fourth in the $2,152,300 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1).

Creston Goer (TR Dasher-Secret Goer by Raise A Secret) has also settled for the runner-up position in a pair of important stakes. The 4-year-old gelding won the Kaweah Bar Handicap (G3) and then was second as the 6-5 favorite in the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship (RG1) and one-half length behind defending world champion Cold Cash 123 in the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1).

The Double Bar S Ranch’s venerable champion Jess You And I (Feature Mr Jess-Gold Daze by Tolltac) is still garnering support and competing at the highest level as an 8-year-old. The earner of $1,822,864 returned from an eight-month layoff to finish second in an allowance race in his prep for the Directors Trials. If he qualifies, he would be competing in his fifth consecutive Champion of Champions.

The Paul Jones-trained gelding was on the top shelf a year ago when he won the $150,000 Robert L Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) and then finished fourth in the Champion of Champions as the 5-2 favorite.

Brad Lohr and Daniel Reynoso’s Senor Toby (Mighty Invictus-Micheles Alibi by Sir Alibi) has also been “right there” in major stakes at Los Alamitos. The Jaime Gomez-trained gelding was second in the $226,000 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and the $200,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) to go with a third-place run in the Go Man Go.

Rounding out the very deep field are 2011 Governor’s Cup Derby winner Hot Hitter (Walk Thru Fire-Chickasis by Chicks Beduino), Mildred Vessels Invitational Handicap (G1) runner-up Thisfeatureisspecial (Feature Mr Jess-This Girl Is Special by Special Effort), Bank of America Los Alamitos Challenge winner Shining First Dash (First Down Dash-Keep On Shining by Keep On Turning) and last year’s Champion of Champions runner-up Sparky E Boy (Hawkinson-YR Lucy Brown by Lanes Leinster).