Flame N Flash Tops Super Derby Trials

Elite group of 3-year-old set to return for rich final on November 3.

October 15, 2012

Robert Williams’ multiple stakes winner Flame N Flash had another outstanding effort, as she defeated a group that included a pair of major derby winners on the way to posting the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $1 million Los Alamitos Super Derby on Sunday night.

Trained by Juan Aleman, the Walk Thru Fire filly scored a half-length victory over Golden State Derby (G1) runner-up Do You Do Corona while covering the 400 yards in a time of :19.571. Golden State Derby winner Check My Thoughts finished third and Governor’s Cup Derby (RG2) winner Terrific Synergy ran fourth. The top four finishers out of this trial qualified to the Super Derby final that will be contested on Saturday, November 3. The Super Derby winner will earn a berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) to be held on December 15.

Flame N Flash already has a ticket to the Champion of Champions after beating older mares in the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap on September 30 and a victory in the Super Derby would make her the leading contender for the title of champion 3-year-old filly. Prior to the Millie Vessels, Flame N Flash defeated fillies in the La Primera Del Ano Derby (G3) in April and even earlier this year she was fourth in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1). Since the Winter Derby on February 18, the Ed Allred-bred filly won four straight outings.

“Everything is going as planned,” Aleman said. “This was her first time facing boys since the Winter Derby and her first start since the Millie Vessels two weeks ago. She has been great and hopefully she can come back in the final and do it again. The final will be a tough race filled with tough horses, but she’s really sharp right now. The thing that impressed me the most about this trial win is her last eighth of a mile time of :09.37. That’s an impressive time. She closed extremely fast tonight. She didn’t close that fast in the Millie. Her time was :09.44 in the Millie.

“The way she’s running right now I see little hints that remind me of Apollitical Time,” Aleman added. “She’s built like Apollitical Time and right now she’s running in a way that reminds me of her. Apollitical Time won the Super Derby and so did her son, Apollitical Jess. Flame N Flash is on the right track, especially after facing a great group in this trial.”

Owned by Jose and Gustavo De La Torre, Do You Do Corona finished with the third-fastest qualifying time of :19.667 and has now been first or second in all but one of her eight career starts. The Oklahoma-bred filly by Corona Cartel is one of three Super Derby finalists from the De La Torre barn. Jose De La Torre will also saddle second trial winner Deniro and the now three-time major derby finalist Zoomdasher in the Super Derby. Owned by Shane O’Leary, the Desirio gelding Deniro was the only horse to qualify out of his trial.

“(Jockey) Adrian Loza said that he was last at the start, but then started rolling in the race,” trainer Jose De La Torre said. “He’s usually a good breaker, but I think he was a little nervous. He went to New Mexico in the summer and he had a tough time adjusting to the altitude. The change of going from daytime racing in New Mexico to night racing here got him a little anxious.”

Deniro shook off his nerves and showed once again that he loves racing at Los Alamitos. The Gregory and Renee Hickman-bred sprinter has raced three times at Los Alamitos and he’s won twice and finished second by a nose to Kobe in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

“We gave Deniro a workout (350 yards in :18 flat on September 29) and he looked great,” De La Torre said. “After the workout, we said that if he improved off of that workout in the trials that he would have a chance to make the final. He loves this track.”

Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire, the runner-up in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million (G1), won the third trial by a half-length over Adequan Los Alamitos Derby Challenge winner Tres Of Linda. The jockey and trainer combination of Rubio and Aleman hooked up with Last To Fire for this win and his time of :19.638 was the evening’s second-fastest.

“He had surgery after the Two Million,” said Jose Avila, son of co-owner Jesus Avila. “He (was 5th in the Golden State Derby) and that was only his second race after the surgery. He was not himself in his two previous starts, but I saw a difference tonight the minute he walked into the saddling paddock. He was more relaxed and mellow. When he ran his good races last year he was looked calm. We’re happy that he’s going to get to compete against the best horses in Quarter Horse racing.”

Johnny Trotter’s All American Derby (G1) runner-up Hez Our Secret trailed Feature Miss America by a half-length early in this race before outdueling the Feature Mr Jess filly by a nose.

Hez Our Secret, a gray colt by First Down Dash and out of the Separatist filly Secret Separation, covered the distance in :19.686 while improving to four wins in 10 starts.

“He was standing perfectly in the gate,” said Ricky Rubio, who piloted Hez Our Secret. “There was a lot of noise around him and when they opened the gate he was surprised. When he took off 30 yards into the race he was gone.”

“He didn’t break that great, but once he got with the other horses Ricky said he just sat there and allowed him to run,” trainer Trey Wood added. “It was like a workout Ricky said. This horse loves it at Los Alamitos. This is a fantastic place to be and I’m happy to see him in the Super Derby.”

The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Flame N Flash (:19.571), Last To Fire (:19.638), Do You Do Corona (:19.667), Hez Our Secret (:19.686), Feature Miss America (:19.694), Deniro (:19.699), Check My Thoughts (:19.705), Tres Of Linda (:19.706), Zoomdasher (:19.826) and Terrific Synergy (:19.859).