Q-Racing Blog: Los Al's Big Weekend
It's going to be a regular meteor shower of stars at Los Al.
By Ty Wyant | December 1, 2016
Quarter Racing Journal
The weekend of December 10-11 at Los Alamitos is one of the most important weekends in American Quarter Horse racing. It is the weekend of the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) and the finals of the $1,950,050 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1).
The weekend featuring these two important Grade 1 stakes has been a glowing star on the national stakes calendar since the Los Alamitos Two Million began in 1995. It joined the Champion of Champions, which started in 1972.
This year, the daytime Thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos offers a pair of Grade 1 races for two-year-olds on December 10: the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and the $300,000 The Starlet Futurity for fillies.
It’s a racing feast with sleep becoming an option.
If you want to catch some rest and stay around Los Alamitos for another week you can probably see California Chrome in his final California race. He resides and trains at Los Alamitos.
In both the 440-yard Champion of Champions and the 400-yard Two Million there is a horse to beat and dangerous challengers.
The standout in the Champion of Champions is the reigning world champion and defending Champion of Champions winner Heza Dasha Fire, owned and bred by S-Quarter K LLC. The Walk Thru Fire-sired gelding is in peak form and that says a lot, considering his stellar career. He has 13 wins and a pair of second-place runs from 18 starts and has earned $1,822,737, all at Los Alamitos. The highest odds that he has ever had are 9-10 in his first start.
In addition to his 2015 $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) victory, last year he won the $180,200 Golden State Derby (G2) and the $819,400 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) by daylight margins.
Heza Dasha Fire had a lull – by his standards – early this year when he was second in his Los Alamitos Winter Championship trial and then the $139,700 Winter Championship (G1). He was defeated by the late champion Moonist in each of those starts.
The gelding then had surgery on both knees and trainer Jose Flores did a superb job bringing him back for his fall campaign. He destroyed the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) field by two lengths in September while toting 129 pounds and then showed he is in 440-yard fitness with one-half length win in the $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) over a quarter mile at 1-9 odds.
The dangerous rivals include He Looks Hot, Zoomin For Spuds and Big Lew.
Ed Allred’s homebred He Looks Hot earned his Champion of Champions invitation with a neck win in the $148,960 Vessels Maturity (G1) back in July. The Scott Willoughby-trained gelding comes into the Champion of Champions off a dominating one-and-one-half length win in the $25,000 Nutrena Stakes over 440 yards on October 29.
Jim Walker’s homebred Zoomin For Spuds rides a three-race winning streak against lesser competition for trainer Monty Arrossa. He won the $20,000 Blane Schvanevelt Handicap, the $25,000 Wrangler Stakes and then reached the Champion of Champions with a win in his $15,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial.
Reliance Ranches’ Big Lew had a trainer change and then scored a big win at Los Alamitos for trainer Mike Robbins. “We just changed a few things,” said Robbins.
Those changes worked in the $767,750 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) when he pulled away for a one-half length win and earned his spot in the Champion of Champions. He raced in the $1,068,631 Ruidoso Derby (G1) and the $1,224,488 Rainbow Derby (G1) last summer at Ruidoso Downs.
Lucky Seven Ranch’s homebred Lotta Blues Man, trained by Mike Casselman, leads the way into the Two Million.
The winner of five of six starts, Lotta Blues Man raced to a one-and-one-quarter-length trial win with the fastest time from 14 trials, :19.713.
A gelding by Favorite Cartel and out of All American Futurity fourth-place runner Lotta Love For Robyn, Lotta Blues Man is after his fourth consecutive win. He won the $982,250 Golden State Million Futurity (G1) by one-half length during this streak. The winning streak started after a third-place finish in the $1,070,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1).
Mark and Peggy Brown’s homebred Kissed By An Eagle impressed in his trial when he won by one-half length and his time of :19.726 was just off of Lotta Blues Man’s time. The Rafael Orozco-trained One Famous Eagle-sired gelding won the $45,000 John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge and finished fourth in the $151,250 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) two starts ago.
Fawna Knight’s Worth Doing, a Walk Thru Fire gelding, has yet to win a Grade 1 futurity, however he has finished on the board in three Grade 1 futurities for trainer Mark Skeen. He was second in the Ed Burke Million Futurity and the $382,500 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) while picking up a third in the Golden State Million two starts ago.
Worth Doing earned his spot in the Two Million with a close head win over Cartel Sixes in their trial. Worth Doing is the fifth-fastest qualifier with a :19.845 time.
The prelude to the Champion of Champions and the Los Alamitos Two Million is the draw at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time. It will be televised on TVG.
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