Bh Lisas Boy Tops Winter Championship Qualifiers

The 5-year-old gelding won the second of two 400-yard trials on Friday.

Q-Racing Journal

Bill C. Hoburg's BH Lisas Boy won the second of two Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials on Friday. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Bill C. Hoburg's Bh Lisas Boy, a homebred 5-year-old son of Mighty Invictus trained by John Cooper, is the fastest qualifier to the February 17, $150,900 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1).

Ridden by Cesar DeAlba in the second of two 400-yard trials on Friday, Bh Lisas Boy defeated fourth-fastest qualifier He Looks Hot by 1 1/2 lengths in :19.944. The gelding was making his first start since October 29, when he ran second in the 440-yard, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Bh Lisas Boy has been in California since October.

"Bill did not want to haul him home (to the northwest)," Cooper said. "There's a lot of snow up there right now. We turned him out at Firth Ranch for 30 days, and I got him back up. Bill wanted me to keep him here until he comes with the babies because he had to break them.

"I really appreciate him for having confidence in me to do that," the trainer added. "Bill loves this horse, and he's really a nice horse. There's no telling how good this horse really is. We added probably about 100 pounds to him that he didn't have, and that's helped him a bit. I was interested to see how he would do because some horses might race differently when they have the added weight. He broke extremely well this evening."

Bh Lisas Boy has won 11 of 21 starts, including last year's Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3), and he has earned $256,878.

Ima Fearless Hero, the second-fastest qualifier and the sport's champion 2-year-old gelding in 2015, won the first heat by a neck from champion Zoomin For Spuds, the winner of last year's Champion of Champions (G1). Cruz Mendez rode the homebred 4-year-old Valiant Hero gelding for owner S-Quarter K LLC and trainer Jose Flores.

Ima Fearless Hero's win over Zoomin For Spuds was a surprise to his owner, Kathy Meneely.

"He slept all day long and was flat-footed in the paddock," she said. "I was just hoping for him to qualify. It worries you a little when he's sleeping all day on a race day, but maybe he's maturing like his older brother (2015 world champion Heza Dasha Fire).

"He never ran at 100 percent last year because he got an infection in July, and then he had a thyroid issue two or three races later," she added. "He just wasn't 100 percent. We were really pleased with how he did tonight, and watching this race I guess he's close to 100 percent. When you win a race, things look better."

Ima Fearless Hero was coming off of a fifth-place finish in the December 18, 400-yard Southern California Derby (G2). Raced exclusively at Los Alamitos, the sorrel gelding has won eight of 15 starts and has earned $1,058,592.

The winner of the Los Alamitos Winter Championship will earn a berth in this year's Champion of Champions.

Click here for a complete list of qualifiers.

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