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Viva Mi Corazon Heads Los Al Two Million Trials

Stablemates finish with top three times for Los Alamitos’ richest race.

November 25, 2013

PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) winner Viva Mi Corazon and Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner Ms First Prize Rose provided owners Johnny Trotter and Burnett Ranches LLC and trainer Trey Wood with an unforgettable night, as the graded futurity winners posted the two fastest qualifying times to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Sunday. Trotter and Wood also joined forces with the impressive and lightly raced filly Dash Through Fire, who posted the evening’s third-fastest qualifying time.

A total of 111 freshman sprinters competed in the 14 trials with the horses with the 10 fastest times moving on to the $1,989,525 final to be held on Sunday, December 15. The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Viva Mi Corazon (:19.512), Ms First Prize Rose (:19.548), Dash Through Fire (:19.607), Sis Is Hot (:19.701), Foose Cash Sr (:19.745), Five Bar Cartel (:19.745), Chalalita (:19.791), A Corona Sunset (:19.791), Collin The Shots (:19.796) and Highest Fire (:19.799).

Trotter and Burnett Ranches LLC won the Los Alamitos Two Million with the champion and now leading sire One Famous Eagle in 2007, and the partners will be strongly represented this time around with the razor sharp First Down Dash gelding Viva Mi Corazon and the outstanding filly Ms First Prize Rose. Bred by Bob and Jerry Gaston, Viva Mi Corazon posted a 1 ½-length victory to improve his Los Alamitos record to a perfect three-for-three. Cody Jensen piloted the Texas-bred to the top time of :19.512.

“This is the best that Viva Mi Corazon has ever ran,” Wood said. “He seems to be getting better and better. He left the best that I’ve ever seen him leave tonight. My dad had this horse at our ranch in Lubbock, Texas, and he always thought that he was a good horse. He had some bad luck at Ruidoso Downs, but he’s really come into his own at Los Alamitos. He’ll have to run the race of his life to win the Los Alamitos Two Million. You can’t make a mistake and expect to win a million-dollar race.”

Jensen was equally impressed with the effort by Viva Mi Corazon.

“He ran two big races in the PCQHRA Breeders’ series,” Jensen said. “He ran great in the trials, but then he ran better in the final than in the trials and he ran better tonight than he did in the PCQHRA Breeders’ final. He ran better, bigger and stronger. He is doing everything better each time.”

Viva Mi Corazon’s mother is Miss Sin Tacha, a half sister 2002 co-world champion Streakin Sin Tacha. Now a winner of five of eight career starts, Viva Mi Corazon has earned $189,560 in his career.

The Grade 1-winning filly Ms First Prize Rose, an Oklahoma-bred by Corona Cartel out of the Heritage Place Futurity (G1) and Remington Park Derby (G1) winner First Carolina, won the second trial by three-quarter lengths in a time of :19.548. Ms First Prize Rose will look to become the first Rainbow Futurity winner to win the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and by the same token Viva Mi Corazon will try to become the first PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity winner to also win the track’s richest race.

“(Ms First Prize Rose) makes no mistakes,” said winning rider Ricky Ramirez, who also piloted Dash Through Fire. “She ran great, just like we expected her to do. She had a great workout in between the races here at night so I was looking forward to riding her tonight. I asked her pretty good tonight, but you have to do that for these kind of races. When you’re racing against the time you have to do your best to help them qualify. I think she’ll do even better in the final.”

“She’s one of my favorites,” Wood added. “I couldn’t believe how well she finished tonight because she had been off since July. She just has lots and lots of class.”

Ms First Prize Rose was bred by Weetona Stanley and William Smith. Her record now reads four wins in five starts and $428,604 in career earnings.

Trotter’s Dash Through Fire, a Walk Thru Fire Filly out of Charger Bar Handicap (G1) winner Dash Back Perry, won the opening trial in a time of :19.607 to take her record to two wins in as many career starts. The homebred filly made her racing debut just over a month ago when posting a 1 ¼-length maiden win on October 13. She won this trial race by 1 ½ lengths.

“We added her to our barn right after we got here,” Wood added. “We didn’t know much about her. She’s still a little green and just like tonight, she got in front and then started running all over the place. She’s a big filly. She looks more like a big old gelding. She had some tendon problems earlier in the year so they back off from her. We got lucky (to add her to the barn). She’s getting better and better each day.”

“It’s going to be a tough decision on who I will ride,” Ramirez added.

The trio of top qualifiers gives Trey Wood an excellent chance to win the richest race in his training career. And while the money is sweet, Wood noted that it is not always the most important aspect to him about the sport.

“I love the business and the people and that comes first,” Wood said. “It’s a humbling business because you can do great one day and the next day you can’t even get close to winning a race. I try to be the same person all of the time because that’s the way that I was raised. The biggest thing is that I have great people helping me. Paul Leal does a great job. He’s in the barn right now preparing the horses before sending them here for the trials.

“It’s also tough to get as good of owners as we’ve got right now,” he added. “Johnny Trotter and the great people at Burnett Ranches, these guys are extremely loyal people to us. They back us 100% with what they do. Johnny and Dr. Blodgett at Burnett Ranches, they are cowboys. They’re self-made people and so great to work with. It makes everything a lot easier. You can’t be in these big races without the people buying you the good horses.”

Trainer Jose Flores will look to win the Two Million for the second year in row when he saddles fourth-fastest qualifier Sis Is Hot for owners Julio Encinas, Robert Parra and Paul Penuelas. Also sired by Walk Thru Fire, Sis Is Hot ran second to Ms First Prize Rose while covering the distance in :19.701. She had previously finished out of the money in her trials to the Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) and Golden State Million (G1) Futurities, but she did everything right on the way to one of the top qualifying times with jockey Cruz Mendez aboard.

“She’s been improving,” said Flores, who won last year’s Two Million with the Champion of Champions bound filly Matabari. “(Sis Is Hot) is not the biggest thing in the world, but she’s all heart. She’s a perfect example of the ups and downs in racing. She ran out of the money in the other trials, but this time she ran a great race and now she’s in the Two Million. I’m happy for the owners. She wasn’t the flashiest filly at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale, but they liked her because of her pedigree as a sister to stakes winners like Hard Hitting and Hot Hitter. Pedigree is pedigree. It doesn’t always pan out, but most of the time it does with these well-bred horses. The best thing is that pedigree is always there and you never know when it’ll shine through. She’s come along nicely.”

Bred by Anselmo Aguilar and racing for the partnership of La Presita LLC, Jose and Gustavo De La Torre and San Gregorio Racing Stable, Foose Cash Sr won the fourth qualifying trial in a time of :19.745. One of six trial winners ridden by Eduardo Nicasio and saddled by Jose De La Torre on the night, Foose Cash Sr won by a 1 ¼ lengths to record his second victory in six starts. The Foose gelding out of the Takin On The Cash mare Takin Some Gold, Foose Cash Sr raced in the Governor’s Cup Futurity (G2) earlier this year and was third in a trial to the Golden State Million in his previous start. He was one of four qualifiers to the Two Million for the connections of Nicasio and De La Torre. The jockey and trainer also qualified A Corona Sunset, Collin The Shots and Highest Fire.

“He had been a ‘trouble’ horse until now,” said De La Torre of Foose Cash Sr. “He broke good and nothing interfered with him tonight. This was his second time as a gelding and that helps a lot. He was (messing) around too much as a colt. As a gelding, he’s now more focused on racing.”

The victory was Foose Cash Sr’s second in six career starts.

San Gregorio Racing Stables’ Five Bar Cartel posted his fifth win in six career starts on the way to the sixth-fastest clocking of :19.761 after winning trial number five. Trained by Danny Montes, Five Bar Cartel has the distinction of being the only horse to qualify to all three of the track’s million-dollar futurities held this season. Bred by Esmeralda Flores, the Corona Cartel colt out of the Grade 1-winning mare Five Bar Molly won the $1,111,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity and was fifth in the $1,045,000 Golden State Million Futurity. He was ridden to this half-length trial victory by Saul Ramirez Jr.

“He ran his race and he did what he was supposed to do,” said Jorge Carmona of San Gregorio Racing Stables. “He ran confidently and did his job. He’s very professional and I’m happy that he has qualified. The Two Million final will be an important race because he’s a colt and because of the race for a championship title. The final will be extremely tough with horses like Viva Mi Corazon, who is a big, good looking horse with a lot of potential. Five Bar Cartel will need to be at his very best and hopefully luck will be with us. If we have some luck then I feel we have a good chance in the final.”

“I wish he could have gone a little faster, but that’s how the game goes,” Montes said immediately after the race. “He didn’t make any mistakes. He broke well and ran straight. We couldn’t ask for any more. Saul said that he started asking at about the middle of the race. The horse ran well.”

Golden State Million Futurity finalist A Corona Sunset and Governor’s Cup Futurity finalist Chalalita tied for the seventh-fastest time with a clocking of :19.791. Owned by Gustavo and Jose De La Torre and John Haagsma, the Corona Cartel gelding won the third trial of the night. He also won his Golden State Million trial on the way to qualifying to the November 3 final. Nicasio was aboard A Corona Sunset.

Rancho El Cabresto’s Chalalita finished second to Viva Mi Corazon in the seventh trial. Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Juan Aleman, the Walk Thru Fire filly was making her first start since running in the Governor’s Cup back on July 27. Her mother was a multiple stakes winner at Los Alamitos.

The 14th and final trial of the night went to Santos Montemayor’s Collin The Shots, who qualified to the track’s richest race a little more than a month after breaking his maiden on October 13. With Nicasio in the irons for De La Torre, the TR Dasher gelding was a solid winner from post number one in this trial. Vinewood Farms bred the brown gelding.

“He can be a bit of a nervous horse, but he broke nicely and finished strongly,” Nicasio said. “I think he’ll be tough in the final because this was his first outing at 400 yards. He can get better. I’m also happy for the owner because he’s a good friend and this is the first time he has a horse in a really big race.”

Alberto Valdes’s Highest Fire will complete the field to the Los Alamitos Two Million after finishing with the 10th-fastest time of :19.799. One of four horses by Corona Cartel to make this final, Highest Fire’s mother is the champion millionaire Higher Fire, who was the runner-up in the 2005 running of the Los Alamitos Two Million. The sorrel colt was bred by Julianna Hawn Holt.

“(Highest Fire) was bumped hard out of the gate and otherwise he probably finishes with the fourth- or fifth-fastest time,” De La Torre noted. “He was able to come back after that trouble, but he’s a horse that should have been in the top 10 list of qualifiers a lot easier. He’s just a nice horse.”

***

Corona Cartel sired four of the 10 qualifiers led by Ms First Prize Rose. The winner of the 1996 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity also sired Five Bar Cartel, A Corona Sunset and Highest Fire. He also sired Corona Kitten, the mother of finalist Collin The Shots. Walk Thru Fire sired three finalists in the form of Dash Through Fire, Sis Is Hot and Chalalita. Walk Thru Fire is also the sire of Highest Fire’s mother, Highest Fire. The great First Down Dash sired Viva Mi Corazon while TR Dasher sired the previously mentioned Collin The Shots. Foose was the only other stallion with a horse that qualify to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. He sired Foose Cash SR.

Mr Jess Perry, who was the winning sire of last year’s Two Million thanks to Matabari, did not sire a finalist this year, but his daughters Miss Sin Tacha, First Carolina and Dash Back Perry each produced one of the three fastest qualifiers. The Chicks Beduino mares Chickasis and Chalala produced finalists Sis Is Hot and Chalalita, respectively. Check Him Out, Dash Ta Fame and Takin On The Cash also saw their daughters in the breeding lines of a finalist.