He Looks Hot Sizzles in Vessels Maturity

The homebred 4-year-old gelding earns his second graded stakes win on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

He Looks Hot earned his second graded stakes win in Sunday's $152,000 Vessels Maturity at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Ed Allred’s He Looks Hot missed his entire 3-year-old campaign due to two colic surgeries, but the homebred 4-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire proved that he is alive and well in Sunday's 400-yard, $152,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Scott Willoughby, He Looks Hot defeated 2-1 favorite Dutcher by a neck in :19.724. In addition to earning his second career stakes win, the sorrel gelding landed a berth in the December 10, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1).

He Looks Hot had his first surgery in April 2015. The second surgery took place just four months later. Both procedures were performed at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital near Bonsall, California.

Jockey Carlos Huerta and trainer
Scott Willoughby hold the Vessels
Maturity trophy in the Los Alamitos
winner's circle. PHOTO: Scott

“What he’s been through - two colic surgeries - he’s an amazing horse,” Willoughby said. “We didn’t even know he was going to live. For him to be winning stakes races after all he’s been through, it’s just amazing.

"Anytime you go into a colic surgery it’s scary," the trainer added. "The first one was scary, and we never thought he would come back and race at this level. Then he went back a second time for colic surgery - there were some adhesions from the first surgery, no fault of anybody, they just happened. The people at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, Dr. Korin Potenza and their crew down there, did a really good job taking care of him and he’s come back great.

"He’s just getting bigger and stronger every day. He’s training like a monster. He’s just a fantastic horse. He’s got a heart as big as a truck.”

He Looks Hot has won four of 11 starts, including the 2014 Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity, and the $63,840 winner's share of the Vessels Maturity purse pushed his bankroll to $959,985.

“To be in the Champion of Champions is always a dream,” Willoughby said. “I think we’ll have a big shot in that race. When he won the Two Million we were extremely excited to come back with him as a 3-year-old. We didn’t get the opportunity. Now as a 4-year-old to come back and win his first big race (of the year) and be in the Champion of Champions in his third start, we’re thrilled.

“The plan now is to go to California-bred Champions Night and the Spencer Childers Championship Handicap (on July 30) and then the Go Man Go (September 4), the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (October 9), and the Champion of Champions (December 10)," he added. "It works out just perfect for this horse. I can breeze him in between and he should be fine.”

Forget It, He Is The Risingstar, Dr Jess, Vivid, Firey Kimbo, Walk The Catwalk, and Energy Cartel completed the order of finish.

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