Q-Racing Blog: 3-Year-Olds in 2015
Let's look at the top 3-year-olds of the year.
By Ty Wyant | November 24, 2015
S-Quarter L LLC’s homebred Heza Dasha Fire won the $859,400 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) and is undefeated from four 2015 starts to put his stamp on a competitive group in the 2015 3-year-old division.
Heza Dasha Fire is expected to make his next start in the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 12 and meet older horse Moonist, winner of the $100,000 Go Man Go Invitational Handicap (G1) under 129 pounds, and the $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1). The Champion of Champions could determine the 2015 world champion.
They are currently the top-two horses among the 3-year-old and older horses in the AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com National Poll. Moonist leads the way with 105 of a possible 110 points while Heza Dasha Fire has 95 points. The 3-year-old Apollitical Blood is third with 82 points.
Other Grade 1-winning 3-year-olds in 2015 (in alphabetical order) are Bodacious Eagle, BF Farm Boss, Kiss My Hocks and Ynot Bar.
Heza Dasha Fire, winner of 10 of 11 career starts, was the 2014 champion 2-year-old gelding and is perfect this year.
The Walk Thru Fire-sired Heza Dasha Fire came off an eight-month layoff to win the his $180,200 Golden State Derby (G2) trial by 1 1/2 lengths with the fastest-qualifying mark of :19.638 for the 400 yards. He was the 1-5 prompt winner in his trial and then came back at 1-9 odds in the 400-yard derby. He easily disposed of his rivals while cruising to another daylight triumph and showing his championship juvenile form continued into his 3-year-old year.
The Jose Flores-trained Heza Dasha Fire was the fastest qualifier again in the trials to the $859,400 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) when he won his trial by 1 3/4 lengths in :19.488 for 400 yards as the 1-5 choice. The gelding confidently won the Los Alamitos Super Derby by one length at 3-10 odds to earn his Champion of Champions berth. He has not started since the Los Alamitos Super Derby on October 31.
Rancho el Cabresto Inc.’s Apollitical Blood made his statement last summer at Ruidoso Downs. The strapping colt made his 2015 debut in the Ruidoso Derby trials and finished fourth while looking like a horse that needed an out after a six-month layoff. The Apollitical Jess-sired colt stepped up in his All American Derby trial to win by 2 1/4 lengths and his time of :21.352 was the quickest mark from 12 trials.
In the $2,378,383 All American Derby (G1), offering the largest derby purse of the year, Apollitical Blood ran away to a 1 3/4-length win to easily handle his rivals in the deep field.
Apollitical Blood then easily won his Texas Classic Derby (G1) trial. In the $415,690 Texas Classic Derby, he got an excellent start, however was not able to handle his rivals in the last half of the race and salvaged sixth place as the 7-10 favorite.
Johnny Trotter’s Bodacious Eagle was the horse that had the winning late run in the 440-yard Texas Classic Derby. He charged to a one-half length win from the outside post position for trainer Trey Wood.
The Texas Classic Derby score capped a solid campaign at the highest level for Bodacious Eagle. The One Famous Eagle-sired gelding qualified for the $1,079,000 Rainbow Derby (G1) for trainer Blane Wood and then moved forward at Lone Star Park and won the $194,100 Dash For Cash Derby (G3) by 1 1/4 lengths with Gilbert Aguirre training.
Donald and Peggy Boyles’ homebred BF Farm Boss started the Ruidoso Downs season with a qualifying win in his Ruidoso Derby trial. The brother to champion Strawkins was respected as the 5-2 favorite in the $815,045 Ruidoso Derby (G1) and delivered with a game neck win over Glock. The Paul Jones-trained gelding then started in his All American Derby trial, however was pulled up and walked off the track.
Conda Maze and Tyler Graham’s Kiss My Hocks was sensational in 2014 when he was honored as champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old colt. He made each of his five 2015 starts at Ruidoso Downs and has been retired to stud at Southwest Stallion Station.
Kiss My Hocks made his first start in more than nine months in the Ruidoso Derby trials and he ran fourth in a throw-out race. He returned to win his Rainbow Derby (G1) trial by two lengths with the fourth-fastest qualifying time behind fastest-qualifier Bodacious Eagle.
The Toby Keeton-trained Kiss My Hocks took another step forward in the Rainbow Derby when the athletic colt won by one-half length.
The Tempting Dash-sired colt won his All American Derby trial and then had the worst of starts in the All American Derby and was never a factor in his final career out.
RTM Stables and George Weldon’s Ynot Walk started the year in peak form with a win in the $208,850 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) by one length as the favorite. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire then took to the road under the care of trainer James Hanson.
Ynot Walk won each of his three starts at Les Bois Park, including the $16,000 Boise Bonus Challenge and the $42,000 Adequan Les Bois Derby Challenge. That win qualified him for the $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) and he finished fifth after a troubled start.
The only Grade 1 race strictly for 3-year-olds remaining this year is the $200,000-est. Southern California Derby on December 20 at Los Alamitos.
*A note from Wrangler Ace Martha Claussen:
No Pressure for Gilbert: Veteran rider Gilbert Ortiz is just one win away from reaching the coveted milestone of 3,000 victories. Born in Pleasanton, Texas, Ortiz, 52, Ortiz has ridden more than 20,000 races, mostly in Texas and Louisiana. Despite several serious accidents since he began riding, Ortiz continues to be one of top riders on the Louisiana circuit.
He began his career in 1978 and did not win a stakes race until 1991. However that decade was very successful for Ortiz, who rode some of the top-ranked Quarter Horses in the country. He piloted legendary runners including world champion Tailor Fit, and champions Kool Kue Baby, Vals Fortune and War Colors. Ortiz surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings for the first time in 1997 and eclipsed the $2 million mark five times in his career.
Only six other Quarter Horse jockeys have surpassed the milestone of 3,000 wins: G.R. Carter Jr., Alvin “Bubba” Brossette, Danny Cardoza, Eddie Garcia and John Creager.
Ortiz is currently riding at Evangeline Downs and has five mounts on Friday evening and another five for the Saturday, November 28, card.
The countdown has been going strong, promoted by Evangeline and many of his fellow riders and horsemen on social media.
"I feel the support, for sure, but no pressure" said Ortiz. "Since I began my career, I never thought about numbers. It's always been just one win at a time."
Kenneth Roberts Sr. Loaded for Inaugural Derby: In addition to the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity (RG1), Evangeline Downs will also run the $40,000 LQHBA Breeders Juvenile and a brand new stakes, the $267,171 LQHBA Breeders Derby. Prominent Louisiana trainer Kenneth Roberts Sr. qualified four of the top 10 for the 400-yard final, including morning-line favorite, Jes A Fast Dasher. Bred and owned by Tony Doughtie, the son of leading Louisiana sire Heza Fast Dash has been on fire this year with wins in both the $217,000 Delta Downs Derby (RG3) and $50,000 Treme Derby (R) at Fair Grounds.
"He didn't leave the gates well in his trial for this," stated Roberts. "But he still came running and has been training well. I am lucky to have four nice ones."
Lucas Constantin will ride Jes A Fast Dasher, the high earner of the group with $409,272 in 11 starts. Roberts other starters are Oscar Rohne's B and G Fast Dash, who will break from post position three under Alfonso Lujan; Bobby Cox's Icanonlyemagine with Joe Badilla, Jr. in the irons and TM Ranch's Heza Louisiana Dash. Gilbert Ortiz retains the mount aboard the son of Heza Fast Dash, whose winning time of :20.136 seconds was the fastest in the three trials run on November 11.
Roberts is one of many horsemen rooting for Ortiz to win his 3,000th career race.
"Gilbert is a hard-working man with a ton of talent," said Roberts. "He has always been one of the best in telling you a lot of useful information about the horses he rides."
Wrangler Racing Aces Head to Evangeline: Martha Claussen will be heading to Evangeline Downs on Saturday, November 28 on behalf of the Wrangler Racing Aces.
The card will be highlighted by the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity (RG1) with the 10 fastest qualifiers from 14 trials contested on November 6. Claussen will join Evangeline Downs announcer Michael Chamberlain for a televised pre-race show and will write a tip sheet for the card. The first 150 fans will receive a free wagering voucher, courtesy of LQHBA.
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.