Q-Racing Blog: A Warming Winter
Q-Racing Blog: A Warming Winter
By Ty Wyant
We deal with the depth of winter, however there are blossoms in American Quarter Horse racing indicating that racing activity is awakening and spring is almost upon us.
Two signs are Grade 1 races contested at Los Alamitos and the training races that indicate the freshman season is about to start.
At Los Alamitos, the $159,601 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and the $190,600 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) were taken by upset winners.
The Winter Championship was won by Gary Hoovestal and Yvonne Hoovestal’s BOS Time Machine at 12-1 odds, while the Winter Derby was won by Mimi Wells’ Tell Cartel at 17-1 odds.
The Winter Championship victory gave BOS Time Machine the first provisional berth in this December’s $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1). Trainer Paul Jones indicated that BOS Time Machine will be rested, since his Champion of Champions invitation is secured.
BOS Time Machine hopped at the start and then landed racing with the leaders. He went to the front of the 400-yard dash and held on for the head win over past South American Champion Corona Jumpim MRL.
A $25,000 claimer last June, BOS Time Machine showed success in minor stakes before hitting the elite Grade 1 level with his Winter Championship win. He followed his claiming race win with victories in the Catchmeinyourdreams Handicap and the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap.
Tell Cartel ran an impressive race and showed that he could be a Grade 1 derby force throughout the year. He was mid-pack during the first part of the 400-yard dash before surging in the last half of the race for the one-half-length win.
Trained by Matt Fales, Tell Cartel was second in last year’s $355,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (G2).
Confession: I was not a fan of training races when they first started to appear at tracks. The late trainer Carl Draper told me several times that he preferred to stage his own training races as part of normal morning workouts. He would usually work three 2-year-olds together in his own simulated races. He liked being in control, especially deciding which horse would start from which starting gate stall.
Then, about a decade ago, I changed my mind. Why? Owners love them. They can go to the track during the training races and see their horses and the competition. Plus, training races give the track an opportunity to promote the upcoming season.
Two of the horses I watched in Ruidoso Downs’ training races were champions Flash And Roll and Ochoa. Obviously, they met and exceeded expectations. Recently retired Flash And Roll earned $1.7 million while Ochoa sits atop the money earnings list at $2.7 million.
If they had not held training races, I probably would not have seen their required workouts.
Louisiana kicks off the 2-year-old season every year, which last year netted us champion Trump My Record. They held schooling races at Louisiana Downs for the grandfathered Mardi Gras Futurity, which will run February 22, and last week ran schooling races for the March 1 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3) trials.
The Remington Park training races are being held now before their season starts on March 6. The following day, Oklahoma Futurity trials fill the program.
Remington Park’s stakes schedule is well planned and the races are always filled with quality horses. To see the stakes lineup, go to www.remingtonpark.com/quarter-horse-stakes.
The season’s culmination comes on May 30 with a stakes-filled card that includes the Heritage Place Futurity (G1), the superbly named Debbie Schauf Invitational Championship (G1) (formerly the Remington Park Championship), the Junos Request (G1), the Heritage Place Derby (G2) and the Remington Park Distance Championship (G2).
It’s winter with signs of spring’s blossoms.
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