Zoomin For Spuds Wins Los Alamitos Winter Championship

The homebred gelding earns the season's first Champion of Champions berth

Q-Racing Journal

Jim Walker's Zoomin For Spuds broke sharply from his rail post and scored a wire-to-wire victory in Sunday's Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Jim Walker's Zoomin For Spuds, a homebred 6-year-old son of Zoomin For Bux, earned the season's first Champion of Champions (G1) berth with a wire-to-wire victory from his rail post in Sunday's Grade 1, $157,200 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

 
Trainer Monty Arrossa and jockey
Jesus Ayala return to the winner's
circle after Zoomin For Spuds' victory
in Sunday's Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos
Winter Championship. PHOTO: Los
Alamitos Racecourse

Ridden by Jesus Ayala for trainer Monty Arrossa and racing on a track labeled wet-fast, Zoomin For Spuds covered 400 yards in :19.500, and his margin of victory was a head from Eyes The Favorite. The Idaho-bred chestnut gelding earned a 99 speed index, as well as the $66,024 winner's share of the purse from his 14th win in 37 outs.

"He liked the post position number one,” Ayala said. “It was a bit slippery down there, but the horse ran his race. He’s always fast at the break, but in the final yards I started feeling that the horses on the outside were getting closer.

"But my horse never stopped, never lost his rhythm," the rider added. "I didn’t see the other horses. Not until the end did I see the horses from the outside. He came back great. He galloped back nicely. He ran a great race.” 

Zoomin For Spuds joined five-time Champion of Champion finalists Refrigerator and Jess You And I, and four-time finalists Whosleavingwho and Heza Dasha Fire as the only horses to have qualified four or more times to the Champion of Champions. All five of these horses have won the Champion of Champions at least once, with Zoomin For Spuds winning the 2016 edition during his 3-year-old campaign.

Zoomin For Spuds ended his 5-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish, a neck behind winner and 2018 world champion Bodacious Eagle, in last year's Champion of Champions.

“I was proud to run fourth (in last year’s Champion of Champions)," Arrossa said. “That was a horse race. Those were the best older horses in the country and (Zoomin For Spuds) got outrun a head bob. We could have easily been first or sixth in that race.

"I was proud of his effort," the trainer added. "He bounced back super. He ran big in the trials and came back and ran huge tonight. I’ve had plan up to February 10. I don’t have a plan for this horse past tonight. We’re going to enjoy this one.”

Zoomin For Spuds has earned $779,990, of which $770,975 has been banked from 29 starts at Los Alamitos. The gelding has won 11 stakes at Los Alamitos, making him the tenth Quarter Horses ever to reach that figure at the southern California track.

“Jim’s goal with this horse is that he wants to see him win a million dollars,” Arrossa said. “My goal has always been to get back in the Champion of Champions. We are there and hopefully we can make that million dollar goal next.

“Jim is turning 87 this year, but he’s as sharp as a tack and a goer,” he added. “He’s a health nut. He takes care of himself and eats very healthy. Idaho is getting pounded with snow, especially where he lives in Bellevue. The last couple of days when I’ve talked to him, he’s been out on a loader moving snow and chasing elk out of his place. He’s also getting ready to foal out his two mares."

Katies Easy Moves finished third, a neck behind runner-up Eyes The Favorite. He Looks Hot, Chance To Fire, My Favorite Check, Yanque, LD Is Back, Da One Two Special and Tarzanito completed the order of finish. 

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