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Separate Thoughts Tops PCQHRA Derby Trials

Filly set to go for her second stakes victory of the year at Los Alamitos.

September 15, 2012

Edward and Theresa DeNike’s Separate Thoughts had her second notable win in a row after posting the fastest qualifying time to the $170,000 PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby (G3) on Friday at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Pat Visscher and ridden by Antonio Alberto, Separate Thoughts scored a narrow victory over 2011 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) winner Ima Chickie Two while taking the second of three derby trials. The Washington-bred daughter of Separatist covered the 400 yards in a time of :19.834 and in the process improved her record to four wins in eight career starts.

Separate Thoughts showed a potent late kick in this trial, as she outfinished the stakes-winning Ima Chickie Two by a head. The effort was reminiscent of her win in the $35,000 La Pacifica Handicap when she rallied from third place to score at 12-1 odds. Separate Thoughts will be back on Friday, October 5, as the headliner in the Breeders’ Derby finale. The top three qualifiers came out of this trial, as Ima Chickie Two finished with the second-fastest time of :19.847 while third-place finisher Feature Jessie Gail was the only other runner with a sub 20-second clocking when she covered the distance in :19.978.

Guillermo Morales saddled the winners of the other two derby trials. The trainer won the first heat with the 4-1 shot Sweetest Illusion and then saddled the winner of the final heat with 5-1 longshot Carne Vino.

“Sweetest Illusion had just recently come to my barn and she had just run a nice second in an allowance race,” Morales said of the Alejandro Ibarra-owned filly. “She really surprised us with this trial win. It’s going to be a wide open derby final. There will be some tough horses like Separate Thoughts and Ima Chickie Two, but I think the race is wide open.”

Sweetest Illusion picked up only her second win in 13 career starts. Balgo Racing Team’s Carne Vino was picking up his third victory in nine lifetime outings and his second from his last four trips to the track.

“He ran a good third in his last start,” Morales added. “When he won earlier this year he did it after a layoff so we gave him a month off before this race. That’s how he loves to race. He likes to race fresh. You don’t need to train this horse too hard. It helps to run him fresh.”

The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Separate Thoughts (:19.834), Ima Chickie Two (:19.847), Feature Jessie Gail (:19.978), Sweetest Illusion (:20.014), Carne Vino (:20.029), Pony Drive (:20.065), Fire Specialist (:20.088), Bar Closer (:20.094), Once Over (:20.104) and Chicks Boudro (:20.106).

Multiple stakes finalist Kindly Fellow finished fourth to Sweetest Illusion in the first trial and 1/10th of a second away from making the derby field.

“He broke slow and spotted his rivals too much distance early on,” Morales added. “He tried to make up ground at the end, but it was too late. You can’t give these type of horses that big of a head start.”