Field Set for Grade 2 Golden State Derby

Kissed By An Eagle posts the fastest qualifying time to the $259,900 final.

Q-Racing Journal

Mark and Peggy Brown's Kissed By An Eagle won the third of four Golden State Derby trials on Sunday. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

The field has been set for the August 20, $259,900 Golden State Derby (G2) at Los Alamitos.

Mark and Peggy Brown's Kissed By An Eagle, a homebred son of One Famous Eagle trained by Roman Figueroa for the former jockey's first-ever win as a trainer, set the fastest qualifying time on Sunday. Ridden by Cesar De Alba, the gelding won the third of four 400-yard trials by 1 1/2 lengths in :19.542 for his sixth win in 11 outs and second win in as many starts this season.

Figueroa won 913 Quarter Horse races as a jockey at Los Alamitos, with several of his most memorable victories coming for his father-in-law, American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Blane Schvaneveldt.

"It feels really good because I guarantee you that training is a lot of work,” Figueroa said of his first win as a trainer. “It’s not like getting on and riding them through there. (Kissed By An Eagle) is pretty much a natural. He’s a very easy horse to work with. He’s going to be heard from some more because he’s really a nice horse.”

Other prominent Golden State Derby qualifiers include Grade 1 winners Lotta Blues Man and Chazaq. A homebred Favorite Cartel gelding ridden by Cody Jensen for owner Lucky Seven Ranch and trainer Mike Casselman, Lotta Blues Man set the second-fastest qualifying time with his neck victory in the fourth heat.

“We have been standing the horse quite a bit because he got himself left a couple of outings ago,” Casselman said, referring to Lotta Blues Man's eighth-place finish in the May 6 Dillingham Handicap. “We’ve stood him enough and then they had that big delay (in his Golden State Derby trial).

"He handled all that really well and never moved a muscle, but when they kicked it he kind of got left and then got hit by the 5 horse," the trainer added. "Cody said he tried real hard until he got ahead of everybody, and then he kind of just looked around.”

The fifth-fastest qualifier, Chazaq won the first trial for owner Dutch Masters III. Rodrigo Aceves rode the Corona Cartel gelding for trainer Jaime Gomez.

“I have my two big horses in the final so I’m pleased,” said Gomez referring to Chazaq and Cartel Sixes. “Chazaq ran a good race. He kind of got hit a little bit leaving the gate, but thankfully the other horses went out and he was able to get rolling."

Click here for a complete list of Golden State Derby finalists.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit