Q-Racing Blog: The Other Five

The Champion of Champions field is settled.

The Champion of Champions field is settled.

We knew the first five horses in the Champion of Champions via a qualifying stakes before the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on November 19 and looked at them last week. The Directors Trials set the final five horses for the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) on December 16.

There were two Directors Trials and the horses with the five fastest times advanced to the 440-yard classic.

One horse, BH Lisas Boy, won the second trial and used it as a Champion of Champions prep race. He had already qualified after winning the $150,900 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and the $162,600 Vessels Maturity (G1). The Bill Hoburg-bred, -owned and -trained gelding had knee surgery on July 8 – a few days after the Vessels Maturity – and assuming he came out of his Directors Trial in good order, he will be a prime Champion of Champions contender.

The Mighty Invictus-sired BH Lisas Boy scored in his trial by a nose over Da One Two Special.

John and Cina Sperry’s Jess Good Reason won the first trial by a decisive one-half length with her best performance since taking the $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap (G1) over fillies and mares back in January.

Jess Good Reason, a daughter of Good Reason SA, endured an infected hematoma on her hip last summer. Now healed and happy, her Directors Trial victory for six-time Champion of Champions winning trainer Paul Jones shows she is ready for the Champion of Champions and is a horse to consider.

Qualifying behind Jess Good Reason in the first trial was Dr. Ed Allred’s homebred He Looks Hot, a millionaire with a win in the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders’ Championship (RG1) in July. The Walk Thru Fire-sired gelding then raced to a third-place finish behind Heza Dasha Fire in the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) in his next start.

The horses that did earn their way into the Champion of Champions in the second trial won by BH Lisas Boy are Da One Two Special, Zoomin For Spuds and Firing Tools.

Jesus Padilla’s Da One Two Special surprised at 12-1 odds when he finished just a nose behind BH Lisas Boy in their trial. D One Two Special will be making a huge class jump in the Champion of Champions with his two wins in three starts before the Directors Trials coming in a maiden race and a non-winners-of-two allowance race.

A gelding by Two Coronas Special trained by Felix Gonzalez, Da One Two Special impressed in that non-winners-of-two allowance race – his start before the Directors Trials – when he won by 1¾ lengths over 330 yards.

Jim Walker’s homebred Zoomin For Spuds certainly fits at this level as the defending Champion of Champions winner. A year ago, he made a strong closing rush to get the head decision over Heza Dasha Fire.

Zoomin For Spuds was second in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship and had trouble in the Vessels Maturity and was never a factor. He prepared for the Directors Trials with a nose win in a conditioned allowance race at Los Alamitos.

The gelding by Zoomin For Bux, Zoomin For Spuds held the lead in his Directors Trial before settling for third place.

Michael and Beth Harper’s Firing Tools finished fourth in the second trial, however that placed him in the Champion of Champions while making just his second start at Los Alamitos. He was the close second-place runner behind Zoomin For Spuds in that conditioned allowance race.

Before coming to Los Alamitos, the Walk Thru Fire-sired Firing Tools was fourth in last summer’s $800,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1), beaten by one-half length.

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