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April 7, 2012
Utah-based owner Robert H. Williams enjoyed his biggest victory at Los Alamitos Race Course after the Ed Allred-bred Flame N Flash powered her way to a half-length victory over Bustardo Horse Racing’s First Prize Habit in the $214,300 La Primera Del Ano Derby (G3) for 3-year-old fillies on Friday evening.
Williams’ horses have made 139 Quarter Horse starts and won 27 races during his time at Los Alamitos, dating back to November 2006 with his previous biggest wins coming courtesy of Flame N Flash in the $35,000 Los Alamitos Juvenile Stakes (R) on December 11 and Jess So Sixy in the Anaheim Handicap on February 2011. Williams now has a major derby in his pocket, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Mr. Williams has been ill, but he’s in stable condition now and I know he was watching this race,” trainer Juan Aleman said. “I hope this race lifts his spirits and hopefully it made his night. I really hope this made him happy. His filly ran a great race at the end. She broke a little slow. She was leaning back when they opened the gate, but she was flying at the end. She has a great kick.”
Flame N Flash came into this race having posted a solid half-length victory in her trial on March 17. Prior to that effort, the half sister to champions Hawkish and Hawkinson ran fourth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby.
“She ran a good race in the Winter Derby and that was against some tough colts and geldings like Kobe and Deniro. I knew that against fillies that she would have a good shot to win this race. She overcame her slow start,” said Aleman, who was winning the La Primera for the first time in his training career.
Jockey Francisco Rubio has won two runnings of this race now after piloting Flame N Flash to their third win together. Rubio also rode her to victory in the La Primera trials and in last year’s Los Alamitos Juvenile Stakes.
“She warmed up great tonight,” Rubio said. “She’s an honest and consistent filly. She broke a little bit behind the other fillies, but she picked up speed very quickly and 150 yards into the race she started to take the lead. She’s a daughter of Walk Thru Fire so she’s a great closer.”
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, Flame N Flash earned $90,006 for the win to take her career earnings to $173,726. She covered 400 yards in :19.916. A winner of five of 11 starts, the filly will now take a break according to Aleman.
“We’re going to turn her out for about 90 days,” he said. “We’ll probably send her to a farm in Hemet, California, and let her rest. We’ll bring her back in time for the Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) later this year.”
In the meantime, Aleman will concentrate on the other five horses he trains for Robert H. Williams.
“I have four 2-year-olds and an aged mare for Mr. Williams in addition to Flame N Flash,” he added. “I have a filly that I really like for (Williams) named Watch Linda Ballet. She’s a Mr Jess Perry filly and out of Sky Chicks that he bought at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale. She looked impressive in her first work going :12.10 at 220 yards on March 20. She’s in the Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) and I really like her. I also train for him a Mr Jess Perry colt that just shipped in here. He’s in the later futurities like the Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1).”
Trained by Felipe Quintero for Bustardo Horse Racing, First Prize Habit ran the race of her young career in the La Primera and earned $36,431 for her runner-up effort. Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves, the daughter of First Prize Perry came into this having broken her maiden two races ago and with career earnings of $7,110 in seven career starts. The Vessels Stallion Farm-bred filly is now stakes-placed and certainly with a bright future. Jose and Gustavo De La Torre’s Zoomdasher earned $25,716 for running third. Ramon Sanchez piloted the filly.
Fastest qualifier This Boogie Fires was third at the start, but she never got going and finished in fifth-place. Alex Bautista rode This Boogie Fires in place of Eduardo Nicasio, who could not ride after twisting his ankle prior to the running of the fourth race. Nicasio suffered the injury when his mount in that race broke through the gate and threw him to the ground. The two-time Champion of Champions (G1) winning rider was taken to Los Alamitos Medical Center, but was released a couple of hours later after X-rays in his ankle came back negative. Natalie Dash finished fourth while A First Down Snow was sixth. Sex On Fire and Sweetest Illusion completed the field. Chickitita was scratched earlier on the night.
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