Stelfast Wins El Primero del Ano Derby

The California-bred Stel Corona colt scores his first stakes win Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Eva Carrazco's Stelfast, a private purchase during the winter, scored his first stakes victory in Sunday's El Primero del Ano Derby. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Eva Carrazco's Stelfast, the second-fastest qualifier, parlayed a sharp break from post 3 into a three-quarter length victory in the $224,100 El Primero del Ano Derby (G3) at Los Alamitos on Sunday.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Valentin Zamudio, Stelfast covered 400 yards in :19.887 en route to his third win in 15 races and first stakes victory. The Stel Corona colt banked the $94,122 winner's share of the purse to bump his earnings to $164,582.

Trainer Valentin Zamudio and jockey Cruz
Mendez return to the winner's circle
after Sunday's El Primero del Ano Derby.
PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

“We qualified three good horses (for this race),” Zamudio said. “Stelfast was a horse that we purchased privately during the winter, and I thought he was a great buy. He had qualified to a couple of futurities and his mother was a stakes winner here at Los Alamitos. I was also fortunate to qualify Maximo and Jess Kan Fly, and they both ran good races in the trials. I came away from that night thinking that I had a chance to a fun night in this final.”

And fun it was for Zamudio and his wife, Irma, and their children, Angel and Katie.

“My family loves the horses,” he said. “My wife is my assistant and so is my young boy. He just loves the Quarter Horses and loves to come and see them at the track. He’s my helper, and it’s a great feeling to come to work and have a chance to bring him with me when there is an opportunity.

"You need that family support and feeling to it because the horses are our lives," Zamudio added. "It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and sacrifice. I couldn’t do it without the support of my wife and entire family.”

Stelfast has raced exclusively in California, and he was a finalist in last year's 350-yard, $388,000 Governor's Cup Futurity (RG2) for California-breds. The colt was bred by Paul Jones and Marcello Jorge, and he is out of The Goodbye Kisser, a 9-year-old daughter of all-time leading sire First Down Dash who won the 2010 PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Stelfast's juvenile resume includes a fourth-place run, one length behind winner One Proud Eagle, int he 350-yard, $151,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) in October.

“He’s just so consistent and he always tries hard,” Zamudio. “Tonight things worked out. I’m very happy because this is my first big stakes win. We have 40 horses right now and the barn is growing.”

Fastest qualifier That Rico finished second and was followed by Thats A Good Reason, Try Again, Up For Plenty, Maximo, The Natural Nine, Walk Thru Septacular, Jess Kan Fly, and 8-5 favorite Katella Deli.

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