Champion Zoomin For Spuds Wins Vessels Maturity

The homebred gelding lands a spot in this year's Champion of Champions.

Q-Racing Journal

Zoomin For Spuds wins the Vessels Maturity. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Jim Walker's Zoomin For Spuds, a homebred 5-year-old son of the Shazoom stallion Zoomin For Bux, earned a spot in this year's Champion of Champions (G1) with a narrow victory in Sunday's $170,500 Vessels Maturity (G1) at Los Alamitos.

The 2016 champion 3-year-old gelding won the race by the narrowest whisker over BH Lisas Boy. He was ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Monty Arrossa. The win earns him a berth to the Champion of Champions (G1), a race he won the year of his championship. Last year he was third in the race.

“Three years in a row, that’s pretty incredible,” Arrossa said. “He’s an incredible animal. He lays it on the line every time. He has a big heart. He had a lot of trouble in the (Vessels Maturity) trials, but he bounced back. I have to give a lot of credit to his groom, Filaberto Alvarado. He’s done a great job. They cut him up a little big in the trials in the hind legs and (Alvarado) was on top of it, taking extra good care of him. The horse responded very well.” 

Zoomin For Spuds completed the 400 yards in :19.628.

Tarzanito was third, with Katies Easy Moves fourth. They were followed by Jess Hawk, Branquino, Rite Regal, Billionaire Boy, Flash N Bling and Seared.

“(BH Lisas Boy) didn’t break as well tonight and I was able to take the lead,” Rios Ayala said. “He was coming strong after me, but he couldn’t get me. Two more jumps and he catches me. It was a close race. I was expecting a lot of those horses to come after. I was waiting for Tarzanito and Bill Hoburg’s horse (BH Lisas Boy) to come at me. Fortunately, my horse finished well tonight.”

“Jesus Rios Ayala, it doesn’t get better than him,” Arrossa said. “That kid is a worker. He is here every day and he loves the horse. They do well together. I didn’t know when they came across the finish line. I thought we were close. The people that were sitting behind me were congratulating me. I wasn’t sure. I walked down the tunnel and I heard a cheer and I looked at the board and it still wasn’t known. I just didn’t know. When I saw his number go up, I was sure glad. He’s proven that he can go 440 so I’m looking forward to running him in the Champion of Champions.” 

“We’ll rest him,” Arrossa continued. “We’ll give him a little bit of a break. We’ll work towards the Champion of Champions, but backwards. We’ll give him a little bit of a rest now. (Owner) Jim Walker, you know, we have a 2-year-old of his in Idaho today. She won and broke her maiden first out at Rupert Downs. He was pretty excited. He told me he was going to hustle home and watch this race. Once I talked to him, I’m talking about Zoomin For Spuds for a little bit and then he just says, ‘Hey how about my filly that won today!’ That’s Jim. He just lets me manage the horse and is very patient. He’s always looking forward.”

Zoomin For Spuds has won 11 of 31 starts, and has earned $650,441.

The gelding was sired by Zoomin For Bux and is out of the Corona Cocktail mare A Perfect Cocktail.

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