Ochoa to Make Los Al Debut

All-time leading money earner Ochoa to race in Los Alamitos Championship.

October 11, 2013

All-time leading money earner Ochoa makes his Los Alamitos debut and tries for a Champion of Champions berth when he starts in the $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) on Sunday night.

The Los Alamitos Championship winner receives an invitation to the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 14 at Los Alamitos.

Owned by Johnny T.L. Jones’ J Bar 7 Ranch, Monty and Katsy Cluck and Doug Benson, Ochoa (Tres Seis-Stolis Fortune by Stoli) will be racing over his favorite distance of 440 yards. He has earned $2,687,615 with $2,665,415 of the record total coming at a quarter mile. His 440-yard wins include the 2011 $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1), 2012 $900,000 Rainbow Derby (G1) and the 2012 $2.2 million All American Derby (G1). All of those races were at Ruidoso Downs.

Ochoa has only made two starts this year for trainer Sleepy Gilbreath. The powerful gelding made one of his late charges in the 440-yard Remington Park Championship (G1), however came up a neck short of Priceless Feature and finished second as the 7-5 favorite.

Gilbreath summered Ochoa at Ruidoso Downs and won the 400-yard Mr Jet Moore Handicap (G3) before shipping him to California with assistant James Lackey, a two-time winner of the Los Alamitos Championship as a jockey. Ochoa overcame a bump at the start to rally and win the Mr Jet Moore by three quarters of a length as the 2-5 favorite.

Two-time champion Ochoa is the sixth-ranked horse in the weekly AQHAracing/Horesplayernow.com national poll and he will be joined by the third-ranked Priceless Feature and the fifth-ranked Rylees Boy is also in the Los Alamitos Championship.

Like Ochoa, Ed Melzer’s Priceless Feature (Feature Mr Jess-Southern Price by Corona Cartel) is making his first start at Los Alamitos and he has a history with Ochoa. In last year’s Rainbow Derby, Priceless Feature had the lead until the final strides when he was caught by Ochoa and lost by a head. Priceless Feature claimed victory the only other time they have met, in this spring’s Remington Park Championship. This time, Priceless Feature was able to hold off Ochoa and win by a neck and earn a Champion of Champions invitation. Priceless Feature is making his first start since the Remington Park Championship on June 1.

Priceless Feature has made each of his three 2013 starts this spring at Remington Park for trainer Eddie Willis. He also won the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1) and was a close third in the Mr Jet Moore Handicap.

Lorena Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy (Heza Motor Scooter-Pipistrelle by Rocky Jones) also has a Champion of Champions berth by virtue of winning the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and he is the defending Champion of Champions winner.

Trainer Paul Jones gave Rylees Boy, the 2012 champion aged horse, a rest after the Winter Championship victory to point him at defending his Champion of Champions title. He came back six months later and was fourth in the Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3) and then overcame a bump at the start of the Go Man Go Handicap (G1) to rally and finish in a dead heat for second.

The 8-year-old Rylees Boy has been remarkable. The gelding has won 22 of 47 starts and earned $1,412,339 after spending his 2-year-old season, 3-year-old campaign and most of his 4-year-old year racing in Arizona. He even raced for a $6,250 claiming tag in 2008. He did not race in a graded stakes until he won the 2009 Bank of America West/Southwest Challenge at Turf Paradise. Since then he has won or placed in 10 Grade 1 races.

Johnny Trotter’s Hez Our Secret (First Down Dash-Secret Separation by Separatist) was named the 2012 champion 3-year-old colt after finishing second in the 2012 All American Derby behind Ochoa and the $948,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1).

From the hot Trey Wood barn, Hez Our Secret was third in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship and then rested until he was off the board in the Go Man Go.

Last Saturday night, Trotter and Wood teamed up to win the $408,925 Dash trained For Cash Futurity (G1) with Dynastys First Call and Wood trained $435,000 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) winner Viva Mi Corazon, who is co-owned by Trotter and Burnett Ranches.