Heza Dasha Fire Wins Los Alamitos Invitational Championship

The homebred gelding passes the $2-million mark in earnings on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Despite a less-than-perfect start, Heza Dasha Fire on Sunday successfully defended his Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship title. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire, the 2015 AQHA World Champions, surpassed the $2-million mark in earnings with his victory in Sunday's $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores and sent to post as the 2-5 favorite, Heza Dasha Fire went 440 yards in :21.451 and earned a 102 speed index. The homebred 5-year-old son of Walk Thru Fire defeated 4-1 second choice Bodacious Eagle by three-quarters of a length while winning the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship for the second straight year.

 
Kathy Meneely greets Heza Dasha Fire
after the 5-year-old gelding's victory in
Sunday's Los Alamitos Invitational
Championship. PHOTO: Los Alamitos
Racecourse
 

Heza Dasha Fire has won 15 of 20 starts and has banked $2,047,807. In addition, he became the first horse to win consecutive Los Alamitos Invitational Championships since Freaky (2009-10). The others to successfully defend their title in this race are: three-time winner Catchmeinyourdreams (2003-05), Heza Rambling Man (1997-98), Refrigerator (1992-93), and Go Josie Go (1965-66).  

“It’s a privilege to be able to win this race again,” said Don Meneely of S-Quarter K. “It was not his greatest start in the world. He didn’t break real well. He was in the middle pack, but in the last 100 yards he accelerated. He showed his class at the end of the race.

"He was really on his toes," Meneely added. "I don’t know why he didn’t break as sharp as he usually does. That’s horse racing. You are not always going to break on top. He found a way to win the race. We’re really excited and really happy.”

Flores, who has trained the Washington-bred Heza Dasha Fire from the start, had similar thoughts on the race.

“I didn’t see him get away like he usually does,” the trainer said. “He moved a little bit in the gates. They did a good job getting them out the gate. Half the way there I was a little bit nervous. Bodacious Eagle got in front of him, but (Heza Dasha Fire) prevailed. That heart of his just keeps showing up. Sometimes heart means more than anything. I was very happy that he finished the way he did.”

Heza Dasha Fire has raced exclusively at Los Alamitos, and the gelding was coming off of a 1 3/4-length victory in the September 3, 400-yard Go Man Go Handicap (G1). He likely will make his next start in the December 16, $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1), a race he won in 2015.

“He’s in great shape and he’s extremely healthy,” Meneely said. “That’s a good set-up for the Champion of Champions. It’s nice to win going into the Champion of Champions. He’ll probably have a work somewhere in there to keep him sharp. Jose has done a fantastic job. You have to train them a little different when they’re five than when they’re two or three. Jose does a great job with that. With some luck and some good health going into it, I think we have a good chance.”

“He’s getting older,” Flores said. “We’ve changed his training pattern a little, and hopefully it works out good for us. He got a little sick on us last year, but all through this year Dr. Ricky Overly and his team have done a great job working with him. They’ve kept him sound and healthy and that’s the key with him, to keep him healthy. Heza Dasha Fire will have good race if he goes into the Champion of Champions healthy.”

Big Lew finished third, one length behind Heza Dasha Fire, and was followed by Katies Easy Moves, He Looks Hot, Thermonuclear Energy, The Charm Of Corona, Stel Easy, and We Like Corona.

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