Challenge Spotlight on California This Weekend

Los Alamitos will present a pair of regional Challenge finals on Friday and Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Mark and Peggy Brown will be represented by Timely Delivery in Friday's Adequan Calfiornia Derby Challenge. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Little Talks, a Grade 1-winning daughter of Favorite Cartel, is one of 10 sophomores entered back in Friday's 400-yard, $45,180 Adequan California Derby Challenge Stakes at Los Alamitos.

A homebred filly trained by Mike Casselman for owner Steve Burns of Menifee, California, Little Talks made her 3-year-old debut with a half-length victory in first of two trials on July 31. Little Talks has earned $465,170 from nine outs, and her five wins include a neck win in last year's 400-yard, $1,049,000 Golden State Million Futurity (G1).

"(Burns) bred her to a couple of different horses," said Casselman, referrring to Little Talks' time off at the start of the season. "She came back a little late, so we missed the last derby (the Governor's Cup) so we could do something here."

Little Talks drew the rail post and will be ridden by Cesar DeAlba.

Mark and Peggy Brown's Timely Delivery, a homebred Volcom gelding trained by Rafael Orozco of Schvaneveldt Racing Stables, outran his 31-1 odds to win the second California Derby Challenge trial and post the fastest qualifying time. Timely Delivery shipped back to California from Idaho after his fourth-place finish in a 400-yard Bitteroot Derby (R) trial at Sandy Downs on June 11.

"When he gets out of the gate, he can run with these horses," said Brenda Schvaneveldt Figueroa of Timely Delivery "I felt he was coming in at the top of his game. Mark and Peggy had him up in Idaho, and they sent him down here in top shape.

"I felt we had a real good chance although his odds were super long," she added. "We knew if he could get out of the gates that he could run."

Jesus Rios Ayala will ride Timely Delivery from post 5.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Little Talks (Cesar DeAlba), 7-2
Fames Jess Sweet (Cruz Mendez), 30-1
First Prize Luke (G. Jairo Rangel), 15-1
My Favorite Check (Tony Guymon), 8-1
Timely Delivery (Jesus Rios Ayala), 7-2
Jess Good Reason (Carlos Marquez), 3-1
Volcoms Seperator (Oscar Peinado), 30-1
Time For Jess (Carlos Huerta), 4-1
El Compa Jv (Rodrigo Aceves), 6-1
She Snows Shes Ivory (Ruben Lozano), 30-1

On Saturday, One Proud Eagle will risk his three-race win streak in the 350-yard, $44,280 John Deere California Juvenile Challenge Stakes.

A homebred One Famous Eagle gelding trained by John Cooper for owner Ron Hartley, One Proud Eagle has won three of four outs, including the 300-yard, $428,000 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity (G3) on May 15, and he has earned $185,266. One Proud Eagle drew post 6 and will be ridden by Tony Guymon.

As impressive as One Proud Eagle's record is, Los Alamitos morning-line maker Ed Burgart has made fastest qualifier Bannister the even-money choice in the field of nine. A gelded son of Maknmoves and a $6,200 buy at last year's Heritage Place Yearling Sale, Bannister is trained by Monty Arrossa for owners Denny and Sandy Weigt. Bannister began his career with a three-race win streak that included a clear 1 1/4-length victory in the 300-yard, $69,000 Beehive Futurity (R) at Weber Downs in Ogden, Utah.

Cruz Mendez will ride Bannister from post 9.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Paint A Candy Storm (Jesus Rios Ayala), 8-1
New Fangled (Rodrigo Aceves), 30-1
Kissed By An Eagle (Cesar DeAlba), 10-1
Severe Clear (Carlos Huerta), 30-1
Red Cocoperry (Jose M. Nicasio), 20-1
One Proud Eagle (Tony Guymon), 9-5
Fooseability (Oscar Peinado), 15-1
Brimmin Corona (Rodolfo Arvizu), 15-1
Bannister (Cruz Mendez), 1-1

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