Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Paternal bonds set the tone for Sunday's Ed Burke Million.

Paternal bonds set the tone for Sunday's Ed Burke Million.

Big Night in the Works for Trainer Paul Jones
By Martha Claussen

Trainer Paul Jones will saddle yet another rising star in Sunday’s Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course. 

Keith W. Nellesen’s KVN Corona, a Utah-bred colt by Corona Cartel, won his June 4 trial in :17.657, setting the second-fastest qualifying time. Ramon Sanchez will ride the striking gray juvenile, who will be seeking his third consecutive victory on Sunday evening.

“He’s a really nice colt; very professional,” stated Jones. “Keith is a relatively new owner for me, but he has bred a lot of quality horses.”

Jones is looking for his third win in the prestigious race. His first was in 2008 with Foose and he also celebrated a victory with Separate Fire three years later. Both were honored as champions, and evoke fond memories from the 51-year-old conditioner.

“Foose was a cool horse who could really finish well,” recalled Jones. “Separate Fire was a very nice filly; she had won the Kindergarten Futurity as well as the Ed Burke.”

Jones just returned to his Southern California base after spending last weekend at Ruidoso Downs. His stature in American Quarter Horse racing is unsurpassed. In his 30-year career, he has saddled over 22,000 runners, winning over $82 million in purses and capturing titles in pretty much every major graded stakes, including three victories in the All American Futurity (G1).  The late Blane Schvaneveldt was honored as AQHA champion from 1985-1996. Jones won his first champion title in 2002 and followed that with 13 more. Last year, the honor went to Judd Kearl, who topped the nation in both wins and money earned. Jones took a minute to reflect on his 14 years and the top and seeing another name at the apex for the first time in 15 years.

“To be honest, it’s different and kind of nice to not have the pressure of repeating year after year,” he said.  “The title means a lot, but what’s most important to me is having loyal owners by your side. Maybe the monkey is off my back, but it’s fine.  We have a lot of good horses and big races still to come this year.”

And in celebration of Father’s Day, a win in the Ed Burke Million would mean a great deal to Jones, but pale in comparison to his cherished role as father.  He and wife, Marin, are proud parents of Mia, an accomplished equestrian, and Allie, a budding swimming star.

Here’s to a great edition of the Ed Burke Million Futurity and a wonderful Father’s Day to all the   dads, both human and equine, who make Quarter Horse racing so special!

Father’s Day Memories in Ed Burke Million
By Jonathan Horowitz

Equine and human relationships between father and son will be at the forefront of the Father’s Day futurity feature at Los Alamitos Race Course, the Ed Burke Million (G1) over 350 yards.

Trainer Terry Knight, who will saddle fastest qualifier Platki, will try to channel the success of his father, C.R. “Chay” Knight, in the prestigious Southern California futurity almost five decades earlier.

Owner Steve Mickaelian will be represented by his first Grade 1 finalist, Apollitical Stone, a culmination of two decades in the sport first begun through his father.

And the two fastest qualifiers — Platki and KVN Corona — share the same father, sire Corona Cartel, who also sired 2016 Ed Burke champion Chazaq.

AQHA Hall of Fame member Kaweah Bar won the Ed Burke for Chay Knight in 1968, and Platki will attempt to do the same for Terry Knight in 2017 in the race that now carries a purse that is about $970,000 more.

Platki, a full-brother to 2010 champion 2-year-old filly and Ed Burke Million runner-up Flying Fig, is unbeaten in two races. The bay colt bred and owned by Pete and Evelyn Parrella’s Legacy Ranch clocked :17.647 in winning the seventh of 12 350-yard trial races on June 4 under jockey Jesus Ayala against fellow finalist Remember To Dash.

Platki’s sire, Corona Cartel, will also be represented in the Ed Burke finals by KVN Corona and SC Vapor Trail.  KVN Corona was just 1/100 off Platki’s qualifying time in winning the sixth trial for jockey Ramon Sanchez and trainer Paul Jones, despite being bumped at the start and having to make up more than a length through the stretch. SC Vapor Trail, who is out of 2010 and 2011 AQHA champion aged mare Spit Curl Diva, qualified ninth-fastest in a second-place finish in the 11th trial to Apollitical Stone.

Apollitical Stone’s third-fastest qualifying time of :17.705 for jockey Cruz Mendez and trainer Jose Flores vaults owner Mickaelian to Quarter Horse racing’s highest level two decades after taking over the family’s racing operations when, he said, his father became ill.

Sumokinintheboysroom qualified fourth-fastest in :17.713 with the trials’ biggest margin of victory, 1 1/4 lengths.  Chance To Fire could also contend after overcoming trouble in her trial win.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top Four Selections:

KVN Corona
Chance To Fire

Wrangler Racing Aces in June
Visit the @AQHARacing page on Facebook or follow the Aces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Arapahoe Park, SunRay Park, Delta Downs and Ruidoso Downs.

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.