Champion Moonist Shines in Los Alamitos Invitational Championship

The 4-year-old Separatist gelding scores a wire-to-wire victory on Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Jockey Cesar DeAlba and Moonist return to the winner's circle after the 4-year-old gelding's victory in Saturday's Los Alamitos Invitational Championship. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Ron Hartley’s Moonist, last year’s champion 3-year-old, added another Grade 1 win to his resume in Saturday’s 440-yard, $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1).

Ridden by Cesar DeAlba for trainer John Cooper, Moonist made his quarter-mile trip in :21.504 while earning his 20th win in 29 starts, and his winning margin was a half of a length from Grade 1 winner Far Niente. The 4-year-old Separatist gelding is now one of only nine Quarter Horses with at least 11 stakes wins at Los Alamitos. Charger Bar and Kaweah Bar are the track’s all-time leading stakes winners with 18 each.

Moonist was bred in California by Vessels Stallion Farm. The gelding has earned $706,194, of which $246,276 has been banked this season.

Sent to post as the 1-2 favorite in the full field of 10, Moonist returned a $3 win mutuel and teamed with runner-up Far Niente, the 4-1 second choice, for a $8.80 ($2) exacta. Separate Interest finished third, one length behind the winner, to complete a $1 trifecta payoff of $21.10.

Far Niente was making his first start since July 5, when the 5-year-old FDD Dynasty gelding scored a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1, 400-yard Vessels Maturity. Far Niente is trained by Jose Hernandez Jr. for owners Tom Atwood and John Wells.

Rock You, French Fury, Well And Good, Remarkableyesapoweer, Fiery Kimbo, Joe Legacy, and All Out Arrogant completed the order of finish.

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