Heza Dasha Fire Impresses in Ed Burke Trials
Washington-bred posts top time at Los Alamitos.
June 9, 2014
S-Quarter K LLC’s Washington homebred Heza Dasha Fire enjoyed a remarkable trial victory while posting the runaway fastest time to the Grade 1, $1 million Ed Burke Million Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos. Ten trials were contested at “The Track of the Sunsets and Stars” with the 10 horses with the fastest times advancing to the Ed Burke Million final to be held on Sunday, June 22. The winner of the Ed Burke Million final will become eligible to win the track’s version of the Triple Crown – the $1 million Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza. The Cash Bonanza awards the connections of any horse that sweeps the Ed Burke, Golden State Million on November 2 and the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on December 14 with $1 million.
All eyes will be on the Walk Thru Fire gelding Heza Dasha Fire in the Ed Burke following his scintillating trial victory on Sunday. Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Heza Dasha Fire enjoyed a 1 ¼-length victory in a terrific time of :17.405 for 350 yards over second-fastest qualifier Luv Supreme. Owned by San Gregorio Racing Stable Inc., the Mr Jess Perry filly covered the distance in a time of :17.6111. As for Heza Dasha Fire, the sorrel gelding improved his record to a perfect two-for-two. His maiden effort was a 2 ¾-length victory back on April 27.
“I was so nervous today,” said Kathy Meneely, who along with her husband, Don, and their son, Shawn, make up S-Quarter K LLC. “I think I was more nervous because of the high expectations we had about this horse. You can get so excited about a race and then things don’t work out. A lot of things can go wrong. To see Heza Dasha Fire perform in this way was fabulous. He has these big long strides and his mother, Dasha Freda, did the same thing. She would take these long strides way past her nose.”
The Meneelys considered selling Heza Dasha Fire as a yearling, but now they are pleased to have kept the precocious gelding.
“This horse was born and raised in Kennewick, Washington,” she added. “He was always an impressive looking colt. Every one that saw him really liked him. We decided to keep him because our son loves to run our horses. Shawn and Don really enjoying talking about sports and running our horses is another thing that really bonds them. We have a yearling that is a half brother to Heza Dasha Fire sired by Valiant Hero. I’m not sure if we’ll sell him, but we’ll think about it. We might run them both.”
Heza Dasha Fire’s first two performances can only help to boost the interest in his younger brother and they’ve certainly caught the attention of his trainer.
“He’s something else,” Flores said. “He’s a lot of fun to train and I think we really have a shot to win the Ed Burke Million. I’ve never won the Ed Burke Million. This horse is all talent. He’s such a professional. He does everything well and I’m thankful that the Meneelys gave me this opportunity.”
San Gregorio Racing Stable Inc. will look to win the Ed Burke Million for the third year in a row after being part owners of 2012 Ed Burke winner One Dashing Eagle, that year’s world champion, and campaigning last year’s winner Five Bar Cartel, the champion 2-year-old colt. San Gregorio Racing Stable Inc. will be represented by the Juliana Hawn Holt-bred filly Luv Supreme.
“I’m hoping we can take it three years in a row, but it’ll be tough,” owner Jorge Carmona said. “It’s a good field of horses, but that horse that Jose Flores has looks like the one to beat. I’m very happy that our filly qualified to the final. She’s a well-bred filly and we really like her. We just want her to stay sound and that’ll give us a shot in the Ed Burke final, but if (Heza Dasha Fire) has a good start, he’ll be tough to beat.”
“We got beat by a really good horse,” said jockey Saul Ramirez, who piloted Luv Supreme. “She ran a nice race. She got a good break and she’s going to get better.”
Trained by Danny Montes, Luv Supreme began her career with a neck victory on May 9. That’s her only other start prior to these trials.
Dutch Masters III’s Forget It finished with the third-fastest clocking of the night of :17.637 while winning his second of three starts. The Foose gelding is a full-brother to 2013 Ed Burke Million finalist She Forgives, who also finished second in last year’s Kindergarten Futurity (G2). Forget It competed in the trials to the Kindergarten, but he missed the final after running second to the eventual Kindergarten winner Old Girl in the trials.
“The good thing is that we’re going into the Ed Burke with a fresh horse,” said James Streelman of Dutch Masters III. “We know that he’s a good horse and figured that if he broke nicely that he could qualify. I’m very pleased with his performance and I’m happy for my trainer Jaime Gomez. We looked at this horse because of She Forgives. We like her a lot. Foose is turning out to be a very good stallion.”
Don and Peggy Boyle’s BF Farm Boss won the second trial of the night while posting the fourth-fastest qualifying time of :17.648. Bred in Oregon, the Hawkinson colt is from a long list of outstanding stakes finalists produced by the mare Shirleys Strawfly. The list includes champion and major Grade 1 winner Strawkins, 2005 MBNA John Deere Canada Distaff Challenge Stakes winner Raining Fresh Daisys and Grade 1 finalist BF Farm Boy. Ramon Sanchez piloted BF Farm Boss to a half-length victory for trainer Paul Jones.
Owned by Rancho El Cabresto and trained by Juan Aleman, Apollitical Blood went wire-to-wire in the fourth trial while also recording the fifth-fastest clocking. Eduardo Nicasio piloted the colt by 2010 world champion Apollitical Jess.
“Apollitical Blood reminds me a lot of his dad, Apollitical Jess,” Nicasio said. “He is very talented, but he’s still maturing. He broke a little slow, but then he took off. He finished strong. He’s a little tough to ride. If you try to correct him to one side, he’ll start fighting you. He’ll try to go inside. He’s going to mature and he’ll get better.”
“He’s still a little green” Aleman added. “He had a lot of trouble in his last race. He’s still looking at everything when he’s racing, but he has not reached his full potential. We’ll need him to get better for the final.”
Bruce and Jill Thompson bred Apollitical Blood.
Rancho El Cabresto and Aleman will have another runner in the final in the form of the One Famous Eagle filly Oneapolliticalflight. The homebred filly finished the evening as the 10th-fastest qualifier with a time of :17.732.
“This filly is really improving,” Aleman said. “The first time she didn’t break. We opted to run her one more time before the trials and she showed that she could really close. This time she did great. She was veering inside because she had no company. When she saw company she went after them and finished nicely.”
In addition to the fastest qualifier, Walk Thru Fire also sired the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-fastest qualifier in the form of Wrap You Up, Hot Shot and Down To Boogie. Wrap You Up and Hot Shot were big long shots in this event, but they will be part of the Ed Burke dance come June 22. Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing’s Wrap You Up crossed the wire second behind Forget It at odds of 22-1, while Kolleen Ledgerwood’s Hot Shot won the ninth trial at 21-1 odds. Ridden by Guillermo Suarez for trainer Roberto Dominguez, Hot Shot is out of the multiple derby winner Girl Secrets. Hot Shot finished with the seventh-fastest time of :17.689. Piloted by Eulices Gomez for trainer James Glenn Jr., Wrap You Up was the sixth-fastest qualifier with a time of :17.667.
Down To Boogie, who is owned, bred and trained by Jaime Gomez, ran second to Apollitical Blood in the fourth trial. She came into this race after running second to the aforementioned Luv Supreme in their debut outing. Carlos Huerta rode Down To Boogie to a clocking of :17.702.
Jose Rios’ Phenomenal Jess finished second behind Hot Shot while qualifying with the ninth-fastest time for jockey Raul Valenzuela and trainer Cody Joiner. Bred by John Andreini, Phenomenal Jess is the son of the young stallion Fantastic Corona Jr., who qualified to many Grade 1 events during his Los Alamitos career. Phenomenal Jess arrived at the Orange County track after running in the West Texas Futurity (G2) at Sunland Park on April 13.
Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the Ed Burke Million Futurity: Heza Dasha Fire (:17.405), Luv Supreme (:17.611), Forget It (:17.637), Bf Farm Boss (:17.648), Apollitical Blood (:17.651), Wrap You Up (:17.667), Hot Shot (:17.689), Down To Boogie (17.702), Phenomenal Jess (:17.727), and Oneapolliticalflight (:17.732).
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