Deniro Leads Vessels Maturity Runners

Grade 1 winner leads the Vesels Maturity runners.

Q-Racing Journal
July 3, 2013

The winners of the two trials from the Jose De La Torre barn, Deniro and Last To Fire, bring the top-two qualifying times into the $167,900 Vessels Maturity (G1) on Sunday night at Los Alamitos.

Shane O’Leary’s Deniro (Desirio-Priscilla Ione by Mr Eye Opener) won the first of two trials with a :19.465 time for the 400 yards while Jesus Avila and Jesus Cueva’s Last To Fire (Walk Thru Fire-Last Shall Be First by Strawfly Special) won the second trial in :19.473.

Deniro made his first start since the Champion of Champions (G1) in December when he took his Vessels Maturity trial by a length over Bills Last as the 7-10 favorite. His fifth-place run at 7-2 odds in the Champion of Champions concluded a very successful year for him at Los Alamitos. He started the year by setting the fastest-qualifying time to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) and then finishing second, beaten by a nose, in the Winter Derby. Last fall, he won his Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) trial and responded with neck win over Hez Our Secret in the Super Derby. That win earned him a spot in the Champion of Champions.

At Los Alamitos, Deniro has four wins and a second from six starts.

Last To Fire dominated his trial when he opened up a daylight lead in the first 200 yards and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths at 3-1 odds. The gelding has been a leading member of his division in each of his three years of competition at Los Alamitos.

As a juvenile, Last To Fire was second in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) after finishing third in the Golden State Million Futurity (G1). He returned in 2012 to finish third in the Southern California Derby (G1) while qualifying for the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super and Golden State derbies.

While De La Torre-trained geldings hold the top-two qualifying spots, a pair of geldings from the Paul Jones barn – Bills Last and Jess Featureme Quick – hold down the third- and fourth-fastest positions.

Paul Blanchard’s Bills Last (Shazoom-Crystalinas by Beduino (TB)) was second to Deniro in their trial with a :19.621 time. The gelding moved to California from New Mexico this winter and finished second in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and a close third in the Kaweah Bar Handicap (G3).

At Ruidoso Downs, Bills Last qualified for the 2011 All American Futurity (G1) and returned the past summer to qualify for the Grade 1 Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American derbies.

Melissa Miller’s homebred Jess Featureme Quick (Feature Mr Jess-One Quick Cookie by Royal Quick Dash) made his Los Alamitos debut in the Vessels Maturity trials and was second to Last To Fire with a troubled trip. The gelding matured last year for Jones when he was third in the All American Derby (G1), won the Hobbs America Derby (G3), was third in the Zia Park Championship (G1) and then finished his season with a second in The Championship at Sunland Park (G1).