Louisiana Champions Day Recap

Open Me A Corona caps his 6-year-old campaign with a victory in Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

Q-Racing Journal

Three graded Quarter Horse stakes were contested during Fair Grounds' Louisiana Champions Day program on Saturday.

Open Me A Corona, a 6-year-old son of Coronas Leaving You raced by Charles Forbes Jr. and Tommy Hays, ended his 2016 season with a neck victory in Saturday's 440-yard, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes (RG2) at Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans.

Ridden by David Alvarez for trainer Bobby Martinez, Open Me A Corona made his quarter-mile trip in :21.978 and posted a 93 speed index while racing against a reported 10-mph head wind. The $46,392 winner's share of the purse from his 13th stakes win pushed his bankroll to $929,150.

"When he is sound, I don't think anyone -- Louisiana-bred or open -- can beat him," Martinez said of Open Me A Corona. "He did it easy today."

Open Me A Corona was bred by Dr. Natalie Montgomery. A $22,000 buy at the 2011 LQHBA Yearling Sale, the stallion has won 16 of 21 starts, and he was winning the Louisiana Champions Day Classic for the second consecutive year.

Open Me A Corona was coming off of an eighth-place finish in the November 12 Opelousas Stakes at Evangeline Downs, which marked just the third time the stallion failed to crack the trifecta.

"What an incredible horse," said Hays. "We were disappointed in his last race. He has such a big heart, and the way he came back today is amazing."

Heza Louisiana Dash ran second and was followed by Running Game Patriot, Oak Hill Streak, Heza Bell Perry, Icanonlyemagine, Scooter Prize, and Jls Dashn And Zoomin.

Louisiana Champions Day Derby (RG2)
Sent to post at odds of 27-1 in the 11-horse field, Gene Cox's First Corona Down responded with a head victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Derby (RG2).

First Corona Down went 400 yards in :20.062 against a reported 7-mph head wind while scoring her first career stakes win. Alfonso Lujan rode the bay daughter of Coronas Leaving You for trainer Trey Ellis.

First Corona Down returned a 56.80 win mutuel and teamed with runner-up Jet Black Zoomer, an 11-1 longshot, for a $668.40 ($2) exacta. The filly was coming off of a sixth-place finish in the 400-yard LQHBA Breeders' Derby at Evangeline Downs on November 19.

"She's been a sleeper, but she always jumps up and pulls through in the big money races," said Ellis.

First Corona Down was bred by Ben Benham. Her dam, Bammies Jewel, is a winning 13-year-old daughter of the First Down Dash stallion First Down Jewel.

An earner of $202,032 from 15 outs, First Corona Down has won four races. Her resume includes a third-place run in last year's 400-yard, $1-million LQHBA Futurity (RG1) at Evangeline Downs, the state's richest race for any breed.

"We are very proud of her," said Cox. "She went out with a bang, and will go on to the breeding shed here in Louisiana."

Toastin With Coronas, Zoominforgrady, My Favorite Blue, Cute Mic Jagger, Telarosa, Gone Cartel, 17-10 favorite Jessa Louisiana Zoom, Ricky Rockstar, and Jetz A Streakin completed the order of finish.

Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile (RG2)
Richard Mendoza's Hez Kwik, a gray Heza Fast Dash gelding trained by Eliseo Celestino, rallied to win the 350-yard, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes (RG2) for state-bred 2-year-olds.

Ridden by Ricardo Hernandez Jr. against a 10-mph head wind, Hez Kwik defeated Lil Bro Big Streak by a neck in :18.022. The gelding was sent to post at odds of 12-1 and returned a $27 win mutuel while scoring his third win in six starts and first stakes victory.

Hez Kwik was bred by Donald G. Kelly and is out of the multiple stakes winning Bag (TB) mare Kwik Kash (TB). The gelding was acquired by Mendoza, a resident of Laredo, Texas, for $15,500 at last year's LQHBA Yearling Sale.

The $45,000 winner's share of the purse boosted Hez Kwik's earnings to $60,990.

"This horse has a lot of heart, and he learns quickly," said Celestino.

Fired Up Perry ran third and was followed by Shatto Stoli, Watergirl B, Tellem Im Pumped, Jess A Big Deal, Blue Eyed Cartel, Jrs Coronas Shadow, 2-1 choice One Hot Flame,Tf Ms Perrys Runaway, and San Lorenzo Corona.

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