That Rico Wins Grade 2, $259,900 Golden State Derby

The California-bred gelding gets his second graded stakes win on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Jesus Rios Ayala rode That Rico to a half-length win in Sunday's $259,900 Golden State Derby. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

That Rico, a gelded son of champion Carters Cartel owned by Thompson Racing LLC and trainer Paul Jones, kept his winning streak intact with a half-length victory in Sunday's $259,900 Golden State Derby (G2) at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, the meet's leading Quarter Horse jockey, That Rico went 400 yards in :19.710 while earning a 93 speed index and his third consecutive win. The $109,158 winner's share of the Golden State Derby purse, the stakes' richest since 2010, boosted the gelding's bankroll to $188,805, of which $170,880 has been pocketed this year.

That Rico was bred by the List family's Double Bar S Ranch LLC at Moreno Valley, California. His current win streak inlcudes a nose victory in the 300-yard, $25,000 Independence Day Handicap (G3) on July 1. 

“This horse has gotten good,” Jones said. “When a horse starts winning, their confidence builds up. We bought the horse (privately) from Double Bar S. I used to train his mother, Jess Like That, and she was a cool mare. This is her first baby. When Double Bar S gave us an opportunity to buy him (as a yearling), I just jumped on it. It’s worked out.

“It took him until his 3-year-old year to come alive, but sometimes you have to be patient," the trainer added. "With him, it was more mental, just him being a colt. Sometimes it just takes them a while to come into their own, mature and learn how to run. As long as they show you that the talent is there, sometimes it takes a while to get it out of them.

"The good thing about (That Rico) is that he’s really sound. He can bounce back in the two weeks. After the (Golden State) trials, the next day he was bucking and playing in the hot walker. He’s just such a good, sound, sturdy horse. Some horses will run their guts out in the trials, come back a little sore, and not come back as strong in the final. He’s able to come back strong after trials.”

Raced exclusively in California, That Rico has won seven of his 13 outs. The gelding's season resume includes a second-place finish in the April 2, 400-yard El Primero del Ano Derby (G3).

“(That Rico) has been awesome,” Terry Thompson said. “Since we gelded him, he’s been a completely different horse. He’s been a handful. Paul calls him the clown of the barn. He’s a character and just a fun horse to be around. He’s just been lights out. He just explodes out of the gate and we know that here, that’s three-quarters of a battle. If you get out of the gate like he does, you have a chance to win every time.”

Trippys Royal Jess, Look At Her, Kissed By An Eagle, Chazaq, Cartel Sixes, Thats A Good Reason, Lotta Blues Man, Seared, and Designs By Dynasty completed the order of finish.

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