Q-Racing Blog: The First Five

Let's start preparing for the Champion of Champions.

Let's start preparing for the Champion of Champions.

The first five qualifiers to this year’s $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) are set after they earned a start in the 440-yard classic by winning a designated Grade 1 stakes. The rest of the field will be determined by qualifying through the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors trials on Sunday, November 19. We’ll discuss the second five from the Directors trials next week.

The connections of the first five qualifiers do not need to be concerned about the Directors trials. They’re in.

The Bill Hoburg-bred, -owned and -trained BH Lisas Boy won the $150,900 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) in February for his first Grade 1 win and then added his second in the $150,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) in July. Five days after his Vessels Maturity win, he had knee surgery to remove chips, but he’s back. He has not started since the Vessels Maturity, however he is training forwardly for the Champion of Champions. He may start in a Directors trial as a prep for the Champion of Champions.

Trained by John Cooper up until his Vessels Maturity trial, BH Lisas Boy won the Winter Championship by one-half length as the 3-10 favorite and then the $25,000 Kaweah Bar Handicap (G3) by three quarters of a length at 9-10 odds.

The 5-year-old gelding by Mighty Invictus closed well to get the Vessels Maturity win by a nose before his surgery.

Dutch Masters III’s Chazaq has raced in tough company at Los Alamitos in each of his 13 starts. He has seven wins and five second-place runs with his only off-the-board performance a fifth-place finish in last summer’s $200,000 Golden State Derby (G2).

A well-bred gelding by Corona Cartel and out of All About Ease, Chazaq qualified for the Champion of Champions by winning the $956,500 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) in his latest start on November 12. That win over 400 yards should have him in peak form for trainer Jaime Gomez in the Champion of Champions.

A year ago, Chazaq won the $1 million Ed Burke Memorial Futurity (G1) and was second in the $428,400 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity (G3) as the favorite.

S-Quarter K LLC’s homebred Heza Dasha Fire, the 2015 world champion, could be the favorite in the Champion of Champions, and a win would bolster his chances for a second world championship. He won the 2015 Champion of Champions and was second by a head behind Zoomin For Spuds in last year’s running.

The Walk Thru Fire-sired Heza Dasha Fire is on a roll with Grade 1 wins in his latest two starts. The earner of $2,047,987 won the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) and then the $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1). Each of those races carries an invitation to the Champion of Champions. His only defeat this year came in his 2017 debut, when he was second by a head at 1-9 odds in the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship (RG1).

Thomas Lepic’s homebred The Fiscal Cliff will be making his Los Alamitos debut in the Champion of Champions, after qualifying for the race with a win in the $345,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows, one of his favorite tracks.

The Fiscal Cliff, a son of PYC Paint Your Wagon, sped over a sloppy, sealed track at Prairie Meadows to take the Challenge Championship by one length in :21.297 for the 440 yards.

Consistency is The Fiscal Cliff’s strength. He has started 23 times with 13 wins, seven seconds and a pair of thirds with earnings of $550,335.

Spackman Racing’s Time For Jess takes on the boys in the Champion of Champions after earning her spot in the starting gate by defeating fillies and mares in the $125,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1) in September. She kicked in during the final strides of the Vessels to get up and win by a nose at 2-1 odds.

A daughter of Apollitical Jess from the Lin Melton barn, Time For Jess won the $28,260 Los Alamitos Distaff Challenge (G3) two races ago. She raced to a three-quarter-length score and was pulling away at the end of the 400-yard test.

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