Q-Racing Blog: Yes, He's a 440 Horse

Daytona B goes the distance.

Q-Racing Journal

Daytona B has proven himself at the classic 440.

"I didn’t think he was a real 440 (yard) horse,” trainer Rolando Almanza said of Daytona B.

Daytona B is a 440-yard runner of the highest order. Rolando, you can rest assured.

Gregorio Garza’s Daytona B, an $80,000 TQHA Yearling Sale purchase back in 2012, absolutely destroyed his competition in the $353,500 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), the premier event during the Bank of America Challenge Championships on November 7 at Lone Star Park.

Starting from the outside post position, Daytona B got an alert start and then kept finding another gear throughout the quarter-mile test under jockey Esgar Ramirez, who was pretty much along for the ride. Daytona B had a daylight lead by the halfway mark and then rolled under the wire one-and-three-quarter length the best of a field comprised of older horses from across the country.

The win boosted Daytona B to the fifth position in the weekly AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com National Poll for the older horses.

“He just an honest horse,” Almanza said. “He always tries 100 percent. I thought he might go to the lead and they might catch him or he might win by a neck.”

No horse in the field was catching him.

Daytona B won the 2014, $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) by one length at Prairie Meadows and has had an eventful 2015.

Almanza took Daytona B to Florida for the Hialeah Park season. During a training session at Palm Meadows preparing for the trials to the Hialeah Maturity, he hit a rail that was sticking out. “He had a cut about 20 inches long and it was 35 days until the trials. We had to keep him in a stall for 20 days and the vet said it was all right to run him.”

Smart move.

Daytona B, who now sports the resulting scar on his right hindquarter, won his trial by 1 1/2 lengths and his time of :21.517 was the fastest time from four trials. He returned to finish a neck behind Jessies First Down for second as the 17-10 favorite in the $204,715 finals.

After a one-length allowance win, Daytona B held on to win the $100,000 Sam Abbey Invitational over 440 yards as the even-money choice.

Almanza then hauled Daytona B to Sam Houston Race Park where he finished a close second in his trial to the $105,840 Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge (G2), a nose behind Pyro. Daytona B came through in the finals as the 17-10 choice to win a head-bobbing finish in a track-record time of :21.276.

While Daytona B won, he was showing signs of stress. It had been tough campaign. He was not eating as he should and Almanza decided it was time for a rest.

“We a just turned him out for a month. He was stressed out, lost a lot of weight and there had been a lot of travel,” Almanza said.

The Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge win earned him a berth in the Bank of America Challenge Championship, which was nearly seven months after the Bank of America Sam Houston Challenge.

Daytona B returned rested and Almanza had a decision. Would he give Daytona B a prep race before the Bank of America Challenge Championship of would he go into the 440-yard test off works? The trainer opted for the latter.

“We through about possibly running in the Refrigerator Handicap (G1), but breezed him instead,” Almanza said.

The win in the Bank of America Challenge Championship earned Daytona B a berth in the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos, but it looks like the gelded son of First Down Dash will be heading to New Mexico.

“We’re thinking about the ($350,000) The Championship at Sunland Park (G1). He came out of the (Bank of America Challenge Championship) super,” Almanza said.

The Championship at Sunland Park is at 400 yards, however at this point distance is not a factor for Daytona B.


*A note from Wrangler Ace Martha Claussen:

 Cindi Keeton

Cindi Keeton Hopes to Wrap Meet on a High Note: Lone Star Park will host the richest race in Texas, the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) on Saturday, November 14. Trainer Cindi Keeton will saddle the second-fastest qualifier, Prissy Sin Tacha and has high regard for her filly.  Bred and owned by Bob and Jerry Gaston, the daughter of Tempting Dash out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Miss Sin Tacha, won her trial in :19.519. It was her second win in six starts, and Keeton thinks she might be peaking at just the right time.

"We have always liked this filly," said Keeton. "She's on fire and drew well for the final."

Keeton and her husband, Toby, have enjoyed tremendous success in Texas and Ruidoso Downs, where they made a national impact with champion 2-year-old colt Kiss My Hocks. Both are exceptionally good with their horses, but have there is one major difference in their personalities. Toby is the outgoing guy, never at a loss for words, while Cindi prefers to tend to her horses, not the dialog.

"I have a hard time bragging on myself," she admits.

Currently second in the Lone Star Park trainer standings behind Trey Wood, Keeton will saddle seven runners this weekend, including two in the $93,387 Texas Classic Juvenile. Should she win the Texas Classic Futurity, she will have many supporters as she takes her well-deserved turn in the spotlight!

 Jess A Rogue. PHOTO: Dustin Orona

Great Weekend for Triple M Farms LLC: Triple M Farms, LLC had quite a bit to celebrate last weekend as two-half sisters bred by the Broussard, Louisiana operation won significant races.  On Friday night, Jet Black Rogue posted the fastest qualifying time (:19.923) in 14 trials for the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity (RG1) at Evangeline Downs.  The next night it was Jess A Rogue surging to a half-length score in the $75,000 Markel Invitational Bonus Challenge Stakes at Lone Star Park.

It's a family affair for Triple M Farms with brothers Ronald and Ken Menard operating as a team.  Ronald and his wife, Jeanell, reside in Louisiana while Ken and his wife, Cameron live in Dallas.  They were all present in the winner's circle Saturday night to accept the trophy for Jess A Rogue's thrilling victory.

"Our goal is to breed good horses, and our mare, Miss Jet Rogue has produced some nice runners," said Ronald.  "But I have to say that there is nothing more exciting than watching the ones we have bred and raised!"

Jet Black Rogue, sired by Jet Black Patriot, is owned and trained by Michael Taylor and has now won four of her six lifetime starts.  The Menards own Jess A Rogue, with Trey Ellis handling her in Louisiana and Steven Kearl  prepping her at Hialeah Park Lone Star Park. She has won five career starts and bankrolled  $128,173.

Ronald Menard points out that breeding and owning Quarter Horses has been great for his family.

"My brother and I talk every day," he said. "And I guess it's no surprise that most of our conversations are about horses!"

 Ace Martha Claussen and Rick Lee.

Wrangler Racing Aces Return to Lone Star Park: Martha Claussen will be heading to Lone Star Park on Saturday, November 14, on behalf of the Wrangler Racing Aces.

This Saturday will be closing night for the 2015 Fall Meeting of Champions with the final of the $1.1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) as well as the $415,690 Texas Classic Derby (G1).  Claussen will join Lone Star Park's handicapper Rick Lee for a televised pre-race show and will write a tip sheet for the card.

Claussen and her fellow Aces send a heartfelt thank you to Lone Star Park. The Grand Prairie racetrack hosted the Bank of America Challenge Championship last weekend and did a tremendous job in all areas. Racing, dining, hospitality were all first-class and the entire team and Lone Star Park was wonderfully accommodating!

Visit the Q-Racing Aces page on Facebook or follow them @HorseRacingAces on Twitter to learn more about future live appearances and social media on Quarter Horse racing across North America.

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