Q-Racing Blog: One Quarter Down

It's time to get down to racing.

Q-Racing Journal

It’s time to get down to racing.

The year is one quarter over and it seems that more attention has been on issues off the track than racing. There has been the question of racing in Texas and the EHV-1 outbreak at Sunland Park and several nearby training facilities.

These are important news stories and deserve their headlines.

There has been racing, even though it has been correctly relegated to status below the Texas and EHV-1 stories.

Let’s get back to the track and look at several key races that could impact the remaining three quarters of the year. They are the $139,700 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and the $54,000 Eastex Stakes (G2) at Remington Park.

The 400-yard Winter Championship on February 14 became a 2016 race to watch when the entries were taken. It was the first stakes rematch since world champion Heza Dasha Fire defeated champion Moonist in the $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) back in December.

The Winter Championship carries the year’s first invitation to this year’s Champion of Champions. Simply, the Winter Championship’s connections can spend the rest of the year pointing to the Champion of Champions.

Ronald Hartley’s Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire lined up in adjoining starting-gate stalls in the Winter Championship. Moonist got the jump on S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire and then held off the reigning world champion. That puts their budding rivalry at one win apiece in Grade 1 stakes. Moonist also defeated Heza Dasha Fire in their Winter Championship trial. They each easily qualified with the top-two times from the two trials.

Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire are geldings, so we can hope their rivalry is long and competitive. It would be a boon to the sport.

The Eastex Stakes on March 13 was a battle between AJs High and Bodacious Eagle. These are both top-tier pure racehorses and are also geldings.

Michael Teel’s homebred AJs High and Johnny Trotter’s Bodacious Eagle each got a quick start and the fight was on with AJs High on the inside and Bodacious Eagle racing on the outside of the track. After the 350 yards the photo-finish camera determined that AJs High had the win by a narrow nose. It could have gone either way.

They are two interesting horses.

AJs High just wins races when he doesn’t beat himself. He has nine wins from 14 starts and trouble at the start could have cost him a few more wins. Nonetheless, when he starts he is very dangerous. Trainer Charley Hunt said he will point to the Bank of America Remington Championship Challenge (G2).

Bodacious Eagle won the $415,685 Texas Classic Derby (G1) and $194,100 Dash For Cash Derby (G3) at Lone Star Park last fall. He was third in the 2014 Ruidoso Futurity (G1) and qualified for the Grade 1 All American Futurity, Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, Rainbow Futurity and Rainbow Derby.

As of this writing, entries have been taken for the $100,000 Leo Stakes (G1) that will run on April 2 at Remington Park. Bodacious Eagle starts from the ninth post position. The Championship at Sunland Park (G1) winner Zoomin Effortlessly leaves from the fifth post position chasing his seventh consecutive win and last year’s Remington Park Championship (G1) winner Dashin Brown Streak has the seventh post position.

The Leo Stakes could easily be another race that will impact 2016 racing.

Isn’t racing more fun than politics and quarantines? Let’s have fun.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.