By Ty Wyant
What a difference a year makes for Dr. Ed Allred’s homebred He Looks Hot.
A year ago, He Looks Hot was the fastest qualifier to the $157,250 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1). When the race was contested, the gelding was recovering from his third colic surgery.
This year, He Look Hot won the second of two trials to the $157,200 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship. There was a timer malfunction during that trial and the stewards decided to take the top-five finishers from each trial to race in the finals on February 9.
“He had the fastest time last year,” trainer Scott Willoughby said. “He drew the outside for the finals. Everything was perfect. Then, the day after entries, he colicked.”
A previous colic was caused by He Looks Hot eating the bottom half of a trailer tie. The most recent bout was connected to the previous colic. Portions of the ingested trailer tie developed as stones. There were two of them the size of baseballs.
Veterinarian Korin Portenza of San Luis Rey Equine performed the surgery. “They did a fantastic job,” Willoughby said. “She treats him as if he was her own horse. She is one of the first people to call after every one of his races.
“Right now, he is doing fantastic. But, I don’t want to say that too loud.”
When He Looks Hot is healthy, the 7-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire is at the top of his class.
He Looks Hot concluded his juvenile season with a one-half-length win in the $2,005,771 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). The gelding then lost his entire 3-year-old season due to colic.
As a 4-old-old, He Looks Hot bounced back to win the $148,960 Vessels Maturity (G1) and received a Champion of Champions berth.
He followed up as a 5-year-old with a win in the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders’ Championship (RG1) and then reached the Champion of Champions after a second-place run in his Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial.
Last fall, He Looks Hot ran a game 440 yards to narrowly win the $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) and again qualify for the Champion of Champions.
The win in his trial qualified He Looks Hot to take the AQHA Supreme Race Horse award. The award requires 10 wins (the trial score was his 10th win), two Grade 1 wins (He Looks Hot has three open Grade 1 wins) and earnings exceeding $500,000 (He has earned $1,202,419).
A win in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship would place He Looks Hot in his fourth Champion of Champions.
Willoughby quickly compliments the entire team, starting at the top.
“Doc is an amazing owner,” Willoughby said. “I’m starting my 14th year with him and have so much respect for him as a person. He’s a very matter-of-fact person and I like that.”
Juan Carlos Chavez is Willoughby’s assistant trainer. “He knows everything about He Looks Hot. He has even slept with him,” Willoughby said. “Jason Hart and Juan Andrade do a super job galloping for me.”
Vinnie Bednar has been He Looks Hot’s jockey for the past year.
“Vinnie is fantastic,” Willoughby said. “He looks like he is part of the horse. He’s very quiet. He’s riding as good or better than any other rider here. He is the best up-and-coming rider here in a long time. He’s a worker and a nice guy.”
“I have an excellent crew and they deserve a lot of credit.”
They’ve done a lot to keep the resilient He Looks Hot running.
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