March 17, 2012
Mark and Mary Parsons' Kobe will make his first start since winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby when he headlines the trials to the $184,000 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) on Sunday night at Los Alamitos. Kobe will race in the third of three heats.
Kobe ran one of the gutsiest races seen in a major race at Los Alamitos in recent years, as he recovered from a lot of a bumping at the start to pull off a nose victory in the Winter Derby. He'll now look to qualify to the prestigious El Primero, which will see the 10 fastest horses from Sunday's trials move on to its 400-yard final on Sunday, April 8. The Parsons have been living on Cloud Nine since the Winter Derby and are now looking forward to seeing the return of the outstanding Kobe.
"The Winter Derby is still something that I still can't believe," said Mary Parsons. "I still can't believe that it was our horse that won the derby. For years we've watched everyone else's horses win big races so it's been incredible to experience that kind of a feeling with our horse. I feel so good about him. He always looks me in the eye. He has this look that I used to see in other horses that I admired, but now it's a look that I see in our horse. He's also a character. He's funny and is always playing around. He's like a human to me.
"We named him after Kobe Bryant because when the going gets tough he gets tougher just like Kobe," she added. "He doesn't back down from anything. We've seen the Winter Derby many times and each time I have a greater admiration for this horse. We see how he got slammed and yet he came back from it. It's been fun. It's been so enjoyable."
Ed Allred’s talented Once Over, Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes runner-up One Famous Ferragamo, multiple Grade 1 finalist Long Gone, Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) third-place finisher Oceanik and Maiden Stakes fastest qualifier New Look will also race in the trials.
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