Rock You Tops List of Final Champion of Champions Qualifiers

The Grade 1-winning 4-year-old Foose gelding will make his next start in the December 12, $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Reliance Ranches' Rock You earned his fifth career stakes win in Sunday's Z. Wayne Griffin Director's Trials at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Reliance Ranches’ Rock You, a 4-year-old son of champion Foose, earned a three-quarter length victory in Sunday’s 400-yard, $15,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Director’s Stakes at Los Alamitos.

As such, Rock You will join the lineup for the December 12, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos. The others who earned berths in the sport’s richest and most prestigious race for older horses are Seperate Interest, Well And Good, and French Fury.

Ridden by Jimmy Brooks for trainer Jaime Gomez, Rock You stopped the timer in :19.655 while scoring his ninth win in 22 outs and fifth stakes score. The gelding was coming off of a fourth-place finish, one length behind winner Moonist, in the 440-yard, $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1) on October 17.

“He’s a super nice horse,” Gomez said. “Anyone can train a good horse like Rock You, believe me. We’ve tried to keep this horse happy and done some light training with him. He’s just a good horse to be around. He ran fourth to Moonist in the (Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship) in his last start, but if he would have left the gate on that night like he did tonight I think we would have been right there with Moonist. He broke like a bullet tonight.

“(Trainer) Eddie Willis sent me this horse after the end of the Ruidoso meet this past summer,” he added. “We gave him a 220-yard work and then we entered him in the Los Alamitos Championship. He drew the outside post in that race and Eddie said that the horse is not a fan of the outside post. He ran fourth in the Los Alamitos Championship, but he had no trouble with it tonight.

“Jimmy Dean said he touched him one time left handed and that was it. I’m happy to qualify this horse for Eddie and Reliance Ranches. I hope we can have this much luck in the Two Million trials next Sunday. I’ll be starting about 10 horses for them in those trials.”

Seperate Interest ran second for owner Steve Burns of Menifee, California, the breeder of Rock You. The 5-year-old Separatist gelding was ridden by Oscar Peinado for trainer Mike Casselman.

“The Champion of Champions will be his last race,” Burns said. “We’ll be retiring him to stud. Winning the Champion of Champions will be hard to do because it is a stellar field. It we can light the board in the Champion of Champions that would be great. It would be good advertisement for the stallion. He’s certainly a winner in the looks department. He’s a good looking horse.”

Burns will be part of the Champion of Champions for the second time as an owner.

“I was part of the ownership that ran Favorite Cartel in the Champion of Champions a few years,” he said.

Seperate Interest was coming off of a third-place finish in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.

“He got a little tired at the end of this one, but we have close to a month to get him ready for the Champion of Champions,” Casselman said. “We know he likes the 440-yard distance. He ran 440 yards at Ruidoso Downs when he was younger and he was third in the Los Alamitos Championship at 440 in his last start. He might be a little heavier now than he was in his younger days, but usually he finishes well. I hope he can find that next gear because he’ll need it in the Champion of Champions.”

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