BH Lisas Boy Tops Vessels Trials

Grade 1 winner makes strong statement in Vessels Maturity trials.

Press Release

BH Lisas Boy sails to a Vessels Maturity victory. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Owned, trained and bred by Bill Hoburg, BH Lisas Boy posted another spectacular victory on the way to the fastest qualifying time to the $162,600 Vessels Maturity (G1), while trainer Mike Robbins qualified all four of the horses that he saddled in the 400-yard trials on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Cesar De Alba, BH Lisas Boy is at the top of his game right now, as the gelding by Mighty Invictus pulled away from his rivals to score a half-length victory in a time of :19.523 in the second of three Vessels Maturity trials.

The 5-year-old Idaho bred is undefeated in his four starts at Los Alamitos this year with two of his previous victories coming in stakes races. BH Lisas Boy guaranteed himself a berth to this year’s $750,000 Champion of Champions by winning the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) on February 19.

He came back to post a ¾ length win in the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 7.

BH Lisas Boy now looks like the horse to beat when the horses with the 10 fastest times return for the Vessels Maturity final to be held here on Sunday, July 2. The winner will secure a berth to the Champion of Champions (G1) on Saturday, December 16.

Right now, BH Lisas Boy is as good as any Quarter Horse in the nation.

“It’s very humbling to have a horse like this,” Hoburg said. “I’ve waited forty years to have a nice horse like this. It’s one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. I got one broodmare (Apollo Snowbound by Snowbound). It’s one chance in a million to get a horse like this. Last year we campaigned the horse here and we just missed by head-bobs a couple of times to qualify (to the Champion of Champions). My plan was not to run him in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials and come back with a fresh horse this year to see if we could qualify. We were very fortunate to win the Winter Championship.”

It was trainer John Cooper that saddled BH Lisas Boy to victory in the Winter Championship and Kaweah Bar because Hoburg had to go back home to Kenewick, Washington to  care for his young horses. Hoburg returned to Los Alamitos last month and resumed the training duties on his homebred.

“John did a super job,” Hoburg began. “I’d like to say that John trains exactly like I do, but he’s had a lot more experience and a lot more horses so I would have to say that I’m fortunate to train like Mr. Cooper does. This horse fit his program and John was very gracious to let me have the horse back. The horse is happy here. In the Northwest one of our problems is that we haul horses and we race him. This is the first chance in his life that he’s got to be home. This is his home now and it’s not worrisome to leave him here and run a race. The horse is running to his potential now. Los Alamitos is home.”

BH Lisas Boy, the runner-up in last year’s Grade 1 Bank of America Challenge Championship, Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Go Man Go Handicap, improved his record to 14 wins in 24 career starts. He won the Bank of America California Challenge Championship here last year.

Mike Robbins enjoyed a perfect night in terms that all four of his trial horses advanced to the final. Michael Amburn’s Freakin Runaway led the way, as he posted a neck victory in the third and final trial in the second fastest qualifying time of :19.546. Rodrigo Aceves piloted the gelding by Ocean Runaway from the outside post seven.

“Just about every time we’ve run the horse here he’s had the inside,” Robbins said. “I was hoping he would draw the outside because I thought he had that in him. He’s that kind of horse. He’s never run a bad race.”

Freakin Runaway came into the trials after finishing third to Stel Easy in an allowance event on May 20.

“He needed that race, he got short on me in that race,” Robbins added. “Mike Amburn is a good man, a really good man. He’s let me do what I’ve wanted to do with this horse. We pick our spots with him and he shows up every time.”

Freakin Runaway ran second in the Norwalk Handicap and Nutrena Stakes and was third in one of the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials here last year. He’s now won eight starts while running in the top three in 19 of his 20 career starts. Todd Fincher and Fred Alexander bred the 5-year-old New Mexico gelding.

Robbins will also be represented in the Vessels final by Reliance Ranches LLC’s trio of Rip Tide, The Charm of Corona and Flash N Bling. The Charm of Corona came into the trials after winning an allowance at Remington Park while Flash N Bling scored a daylight allowance win at Los Alamitos on May 19. Rip Tide posted a super 220-yard gate work here in preparation for this race. These triplets will be ones to watch in the Vessels Maturity final.

EG High Desert Farms enjoyed a good night as well, as Dr Jess won the opening trial, while the super mare Jess Ravin ran second to Freakin Runaway while posting the third fastest time of :19.585. Dr Jess won his trial in :19.628 and beat a field that included the defending Champion of 
Champions winners Zoomin for Spuds.

“Dr Jess was coming off a layoff and needed this race,” trainer Valentin Zamudio said. “He responded nicely. We gave him a good work because I wanted him to sharp for this race. I’ve only had him for a few weeks and I knew that he was facing a strong field. I’m thrilled with how he performed. It’s a big honor for me to train for EG High Desert Farms.” 

Owned by Jim Walker, Zoomin For Spuds did qualify to the Vessels Maturity with the ninth fastest time.

Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity:

BH Lisas Boy (:19.523),
Freakin Runaway (:19.546),
Jess Ravin (:19.585),
Flash N Bling (:19.587),
Rip Tide (:19.603),
Dr Jess (:19.628),
Stel Easy (:19.657),
The Charm Of Corona (:19.741),
Zoomin For Spuds (:19.741) 
Time For Jess (:19.763).

A total of 22 horses competed in the Vessels Maturity trials.

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