Q-Racing Blog: A Long Road

Looking at the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Championship.

Looking at the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Championship.

It’s been a long and sometimes difficult road to the $157,250 Brad McKinzie Winter Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos for Dr. Ed Allred’s homebred He Looks Hot.

This is the first year that the Winter Championship carries Brad McKinzie’s name. He died last summer at 62 after dedicating his life to racing, especially Los Alamitos. This race’s name change is well deserved.

The 400-yard McKinzie runs on February 11 with the horses getting a three-week break between the trials and the finals.

He Looks Hot was on the top level of the Quarter Horse racing 2-year-old world back in 2014. He wrapped up the year with a one-half-length win in the $2 million Los Alamitos Two Million (G1).

“We thought he could win everything as a 3-year-old,” said trainer Scott Willoughby.

Then, while being hauled, he decided to eat four feet of his lead shank. He suffered a bout of colic and surgery. He survived, only to sustain another case of colic and a second surgery.

“He’s a very lucky horse to be alive,” said Willoughby. “He is an amazing horse. He’s all heart.”

At least He Looks Hot was alive, but his once-promising 3-year-old season evaporated. He was fortunate to come back to racing as a 4-year-old.

He Looks Hot’s 4-year-old season was limited by a hoof abscess and he spiked a temperature of 104 degrees at one point. He has dealt with foot issues since that high temperature.

The gelding by Walk Thru Fire quickly reached the top of his game during the sound periods of his 4-year-old campaign in 2016. He won the $148,960 Vessels Maturity (G1) and competed in his first Champion of Champions, finishing eighth after a trouble-laden start.

Last year, while dealing with foot issues, he won the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship (RG1) and earned a spot in his second Champion of Champions with a second-place run in his Z. Wayne Griffin Directors’ Trial. He drew the inside post position in the Champion of Champions and went in at the start. He was in contention, however ended up in seventh place.

He Looks Hot made his next start in his McKinzie trial and impressed. The gelding easily handled his rivals by 1 1/2 lengths. His time of :19.650 for 400 yards led the qualifiers from the two trials.

“He came back bucking and playing in the test barn,” said Willoughby.

It looks like he is back on top of his game.

“He’s a big, pretty gelding, about 16 hands and 1,100 pounds,” said Willoughby. “He’s a great horse to be around and has a personality that won’t quit.”

He Looks Hot sounds like the kind of horse that Brad McKinzie would appreciate.

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