Q-Racing Blog: Christmas in July

It's going to be like Christmas morning for some state breds around the country.

It's going to be like Christmas morning for some state breds around the country.

The final weekend of July is known as the weekend that has more stakes races than any other weekend. Why? Simply because Los Alamitos hosts the California Breeders Champions Night on July 29 and the Zia Festival is held at Ruidoso Downs on July 30. Those two tracks will have 17 important races on their cards.

All of those two stakes-dominated programs are for state-breds. You get the top Cal-breds racing at Los Alamitos and New Mexico-breds have been pointing to the Zia Festival since the start of the meet.

We don’t know who will be running in the late-closing stakes, however we do know the horses that will be running for the largest purses on each program. At Los Alamitos, the $390,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) pays out the most money; at Ruidoso Downs, the $370,820 Zia Futurity (RG1) holds the honor of the day’s largest purse.

Trainer Chris O’Dell is in an envious positon with the top two qualifiers to the Governor’s Cup Futurity, Chance To Fire and Effortless Effort.

Abigail Kawnanakoa’s Chance To Fire boasts the stakes credentials along with three wins from four starts. The gelding’s only loss was a third-place run in the $1 million Ed Burke Memorial Futurity (G1).

Chance To Fire showed potential throughout his career. He won his maiden at first asking by one-half length and returned to win his Ed Burke trial by a head after a difficult start. After his third-place finish in the Ed Burke Futurity, beaten by three quarters of a length, the son of Walk Thru Fire responded with a late charge in his Governor’s Cup Futurity trial to win by 1 length in his first race against Cal-bred rivals. His time of :17.706 for 350 yards topped the six trials.

Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Effortless Effort is undefeated from three starts and faces his strongest competition Governor’s Cup Futurity. He impressed with a bullet workout in April and came through with 11/4-length maiden win in his debut over 300 yards. He won his Ed Burke trial as the 3-10 favorite. However, his time was not quick enough to reach the finals.

A gelding by Favorite Cartel, Effortless Effort responded in his Governor’s Cup Futurity trial with a 1-length win and the second-fastest time of :17.713.

Cody Jensen qualified each of the O’Dell-trained top-two qualifiers so it will be interesting to see which horse he chooses in the finals.

At Ruidoso Downs, RC Racing LLC’s A Passion For Flashn was a stunning winner of his Zia Futurity trial. The 3-5 favorite lived up to those expectations with a 31/2-length demolition of his trial rivals. He covered the 400 yards in :19.953 to win the seventh of 10 trials. He was the only horse to break 20 seconds in the trials.

The Martin Orona Sr.-trained A Passion For Flashn, a son of First Moonflash, showed he fit against New Mexico-bred futurity horses two starts ago when he was fourth in the $392,255 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) at Ruidoso Downs. He was the third-fastest qualifier to the Mountain Top Futurity when he won his trial by 1 length in :17.812 for the 350 yards.

Jose Espinosa and Jill Giles’ Tempting Star Gazer was third in the $362,965 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) and sixth in the Mountain Top Futurity.

A gelding by First Moonflash, Tempting Star Gazer drifted out during his trial, however was still able to win by three-quarters of a length with a :20.041. The member of the Wes Giles barn had the second-fastest time.

The real Christmas may not be until December 25, however a bunch of people will be celebrating during the final weekend of July.

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