Heza Dasha Fire Romps in Go Man Go

The reigning world champ returns with two-length victory at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Making his first start since Valentine's Day, reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire rolled to a two-length win in Sunday's $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Making his first start in nearly seven months, reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire sprinted to a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez from post 9, Heza Dasha Fire covered 400 yards in :19.364 while earning a 102 speed index. Jose Flores prepped the homebred 4-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding for the Meneely family's S-Quarter K LLC of Kennewick, Washington.

Heza Dasha Fire had surgery on both of his knees after his second-place finish to two-time champion Moonist in the February 14, 400-yard Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1). The gelding prepped for the Go Man Go with three solid works over the track, which impressed Flores and gave the trainer confidence coming into the race.

"It (also) makes things so much easier when a horse keeps his weight," Flores added. "He looks so good right now. I think it's the best he's ever looked. I am so happy with how he's returned from surgery. They did such a great job with him."

Heza Dasha Fire's surgery was performed by Dr. Wayne McIlwraith in late February. After the surgery, the gelding moved to Rick and Melinda Overly's Lazy Creek Ranch in Murrieta, California, where he recovered until he returned to Los Alamitos in June.

"Dr. McIlwraith did the surgery, and he is great," said Kathy Meneely. "Jose's (crew) took special care of him right off the bat. Everyone treats this horse like he's a little prima donna, and he takes it like he's due. It's a great team of people around him. Dr. Overly does the prep work before his races. It just takes a whole team."

"You're always nervous when you have a first race off a long layoff," Don Meneely added. "You look at his record and you think you shouldn't be, but you start running as a 4-year-old, and every horse in there deserves to be in there.

"They're all good horses," he said. "You make a false step here or there and don't do something right, and you'll get beat. Tonight, he put it all together and he looked like the 'Dash' of old. I guess he's back."

Heza Dasha Fire has won 12 of his 15 starts, and the $47,000 winner's share of the Go Man Go purse increased his bankroll to $1,761,487. His win also will likely earn him a berth in the December 10, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1), Quarter Horse racing's richest and most prestgious race for older horses, a race he won last year..

"The icing on the cake is that he appears to have qualified for the Champion of Champions," Don Meneely said. "You look at the calendar, and there's not that many qualifying races left. With his surgery and rehab, it prevented him from running in some of those, but tonight he put it all together and made it a special night for us."

Meneely added that Heza Dasha Fire would be pointed to the October 9 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1).

"We'll talk to Jose about it, but that's on our schedule at this point in time," he said.

Bh Lisas Boy finished second and was followed by Viento Negro, Forget It, Walk The Catwalk, Fiery Kimbo, Closing Time, Dutcher, and Dr Jess.

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