Heza Dasha Fire is Best in Los Alamitos Invitational
The reigning world champion earns berth in Champion of Champions.
October 9, 2016
Reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire stamped his ticket to this year's Champion of Champions (G1) with a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's Grade 1, $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1).
A homebred 4-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding racing for Don and Kathy Meneely's S-Quarter K LLC of Kennewick, Washington, Heza Dasha Fire defeated Bh Lisas Boy by three-quarters of a length in :21.380 for 440 yards. Cruz Mendez rode Heza Dasha Fire for trainer Jose Flores.
|The connections of Heza Dasha Fire, including
(from left) jockey Cruz Mendez, owners Don and
Kathy Meneely, and trainer Jose Flores, celebrate
the gelding's victory in Sunday's Robert L.
Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.
PHOTO: Scott Martinez
“It was a great race for him,” said Don Meneely. “He didn’t break as alert as he has in the past, but boy after the first 50, 75 yards he just got into 'Dasha' like form and was out there. It’s so spectacular to watch him out there when he’s out in front. You have to give BH Lisas Boy a lot of credit. He made a nice run at him at the end. Cruz (Mendez) saw him coming and popped Dasha a little bit and he held him off. It’s a good win and sets him up well for the Champion of Champions. He’s a strong horse and he’s just exhilarating to watch.
“He has that ability to accelerate out of the gate and he just separates himself from the other horses, and sometimes he just gets out there and he kind of looks around." Meneely added. "You don’t know if he’s running as fast as he really can or if he's just cruising out there. I'd sure rather see him out there in front than see him two or three lengths behind.”
Heza Dasha Fire was coming off of a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in the 400-yard, $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) on September 4. Raced exclusively in California, the gelding has won 13 of 16 outs, and his seven stakes victories include last year's Champion of Champions.
Flores said that Heza Dasha Fire would take some time off before beginning his preparations for his Champion of Champions title defense. This year's Champion of Champions will be run on December 10.
Meanwhile, Bh Lisas Boy will try to earn a Champion of Champions berth when he next races in the 440-yard, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on October 29.
"We’re going to freshen him up a little bit and start back,” Flores said of Heza Dasha Fire. “Maybe about four or five weeks out we'll give him a strong work just to come in sharp for the Champion of Champions. The reason I ran him here was because if not I would have had to work in two to three times and with this horse like him you don’t want to be playing with him. He was due for a work too, and 440 when it’s already been over five weeks that’s not the best distance to work a horse.
“(BH Lisas Boy) is a great horse, and that’s why he’ll be the favorite in the Bank of America Championship," the trainer added. "He gave us a run for the money. He came out of nowhere in this race. With Dasha, I think we have a few details that we have to work on and he can be even better. We have about two months until the Champion of Champions, and I just hope he stays sound.
"I really think this horse runs better from the outside and might be a little bit faster than when he runs inside. He’s won out of every position probably, but I’ve seen that his biggest races have been on the outside. I love the 10 hole, but the nine, eight or seven will do.”
Stevie B First Cash ran third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Heza Dasha Fire, and was followed by Dutcher, Viento Negro, He Looks Hot, and Jess Cuz.
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