Henoshersecret Shines in El Primero Trials

Field set for $205,900 final on April 7 at Los Alamitos.

March 18, 2013

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing Inc. would like nothing more than to see Henoshersecret’s third time in a stakes race be a winning charm after his impressive victory in the trials to the $205,900 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) for colts and geldings on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Sired by 2006 All American Futurity (G1) winner No Secrets Here, Henoshersecret posted the fastest qualifying time to the El Primero thanks to his 1 ½-length victory over Sugarbear Sax Man in the third of four trials at 400 yards. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, Henoshersecret covered the distance in :19.687. His winning time was 13/100ths of a second faster than the next fastest qualifier.

The El Primero on Sunday, April 7, will be Henoshersecret’s third appearance in a stake final. As a 2-year-old, the homebred runner qualified to the Governor’s Cup (RG2) and Golden State Million (G1) futurities. He also finished second in a trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) and in his previous start he ran fourth over a track labeled as good in his trial to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1).

“We have been waiting for the El Primero trials,” said owner Terry Thompson. “Our horse lost both of his shoes in the mud during the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby so we did have a little bit of an excuse for that (fourth-place finish). He just couldn’t get a hold of the track on that night so it was a race to throw out. Paul gave him a nice and easy turn and work before this race. Paul felt really good about the horse and thought he would run a good race. I’m tickled with the way he ran. It was a race similar to some of his best races from last year. I was having my doubts because I didn’t know what he was going to do, but he broke like we knew that he could. Ramon Sanchez came back with a smile on his face and he told us that the horse was back to his best. I was thrilled to hear that.”

Led by Henoshersecret plus trial winners Freedom Choice and Mr Ease Cartel, the horses with the 10 fastest times will return for the El Primero final in three weeks.

“I really like the space in between his last few races,” Thompson added. “I feel that we have a very fresh horse and the three weeks between starts will be very beneficial for our horse. This horse has run with the best horses out here so we know that he has talent, but the El Primero final will be very tough. Freedom Choice beat us by two lengths in the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million so we know what we are up against.”

With his trial win, Henoshersecret has now won four of 10 career starts.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for Gustavo and Jose De La Torre, Freedom Choice posted the second-fastest qualifying time of :19.812 following his half-length victory over John Deere Los Alamitos Derby Challenge winner Tell Of The Past. The son of A Regal Choice was making his first start since running third in the Los Alamitos Two Million (G1) on December 16. He went into the Two Million as the 2-1 favorite after recording the fastest qualifying time with his aforementioned 2 ¼-length trial win.

“We knew that he was training well,” said Jose De La Torre. “This race sets him up nicely for the El Primero final. We gave him some time off after he finished with some very good races last year. We gave him some light training just to get him fit enough for these races. We feel that he’s headed for some good things this year.”

Freedom Choice improved his record to three wins in five starts.

Racing for Abraham, Balgo Racing Team, D. & R. Hinkins, Hubbard and Smith, Mr Ease Cartel posted the third-fastest qualifying time of :19.823 after winning the first trial by a half-length over Patron Platinum. Mr Ease Cartel handled his first start at 400 yards nicely, as he added this victory to his previous wins at the 300, 330 and 350-yard distances. He has won his last three starts and four of six in his career. Cruz Mendez piloted the son of Corona Cartel for trainer Jose Flores.

“He veered in at the start and that cost him a little bit,” said Mike Abraham. “Cruz Mendez did a good job taking care of him from there, which is what we wanted him to do. All in all it was a nice race. It looked like they were catching him a little bit towards the end of the race, but I think that was because Cruz was not pushing him at all. I think this is the perfect set up for the final.”

Racing for the Estate of Kim Kessinger and trainer Joe Bassett, Tell Of The Past finished with the fourth-fastest time of :19.870. The Teller Cartel gelding was also making his first start since the Two Million trials. The complete list of qualifiers to the El Primero Del Ano Derby final is as follows: Henoshersecret (:19.687), Freedom Choice (:19.812), Mr Ease Cartel (:19.823), Tell Of The Past (:19.870), Patron Platinum (:19.892), Perrys Affair (:19.909), Tiny Flying Corona (:19.918), Tres Primeros (:19.920), Sugarbear Sax Man (:19.937) and Votemout (:19.996).