Nov. 14-16 Weekend Stakes Recap

A review of the non-graded stakes from this weekend.

Following is a recap of all official American Quarter Horse stakes for the weekend of November 14-16, listed by track. For recaps of graded stakes and Bank of America Racing Challenge events, see the individual race recap stories posted in the Previews and Recaps section. This recap page will be updated throughout the weekend.

Evangeline Downs
On Saturday night at Evangeline Downs, 1-2 favorite Fast Talkin Henry earned his fifth consecutive victory with a half-length score in the $50,000 Opelousas Stakes (R) for Louisiana-breds. Owned by Eric Johnson and ridden by John Hamilton, the 4-year-old gelding by Heza Fast Dash sprinted 400 yards in :19.892. His last four victories have all come against stakes foes, and his earnings now stand at $400,824 with a record of 17-10-1-3. He was bred by Russell Mowad out of the Streakin La Jolla mare Streakin Cindy.

Jethro Almitey outran his 16-1 odds to take second, and Dashin Gage closed to finish third. JLS Mr Bigtime finished fourth, just missing out on becoming a millionaire with his earnings now at $999,947.

Los Alamitos
Abigail Kawananakoa’s A Goddess Thru Fire, who posted a gritty second-place finish in the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) on October 4, is now a stakes winner after posting an easy three-quarter-length victory in the $25,000 Corona Chick Handicap on Friday at Los Alamitos. The daughter of Walk Thru Fire also continued her terrific racing form, as she’s now won three of her last four outings with her only blemish during that span coming in the Breeders’ Futurity.

“She got a clean break tonight and she ran a great race from there,” said trainer Paul Jones.

Jones was confident about A Goddess Thru Fire’s chances going into the Corona Chick. The trainer had seen the young filly win an allowance race by 1 ½ lengths in mid-August before posting a half-length victory in a trial to the Breeders’ Futurity on September 14. In the $375,000 Breeders’ Futurity final, A Goddess Thru Fire was third at the start, but she quickly accelerated to take lead at the midway point of the race. It took a monster effort from BF Farm Boss to keep A Goddess Thru Fire out of the winner’s circle in the Breeders’ Futurity.

“She ran a super race in the Breeders’ Futurity,” Jones added. “I don’t think she could have done anything different. I liked how she was closing at the end. I was really pleased. She’s not paid in the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. This (was) a good spot and a good opportunity to run her in a stakes.”

Ridden by Ramon Sanchez, A Goddess Thru Fire covered the 400 yards in a time of :20.02. She earned $13,750 for the win to take her career earnings to $88,245.

Juan Humberto Moya’s Amber Bock earned $5,625 after finishing second in this race. Oscar Peinado piloted her for trainer Mario Loza. Amber Bock finished fourth in the Autumn Handicap in her previous start. She was second to BF Farm Boss in a trial to the Breeders’ Futurity three races back.

Jorge Navarro’s One Prompt JJ was third, followed by Wild West Futurity winner Cartels Fire, who finished fourth. Dunk Two Politicians, Who Is Sylvia, and Scuba Doo completed the field. First Down Tiny Man was scratched from the race.

Seperate Interest made Lila Kessinger’s California trip a perfect one, as the gray stallion posted a hard fought victory over a strong field in the $35,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Invitational on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

The 400-yard Griffin has been revamped because the Champion of Champion has been cancelled. In previous years, the race was held as the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials with the horses receiving the fastest times filling any available berths in the Champion of Champions. This year it is a stand-alone stakes.

Kessinger, who lives in Colorado, makes the journey out West whenever Seperate Interest has a race, but in this race the 4-year-old son of Separatist was the second longest shot on the board at odds of 18-1.

“I thought about staying home, but then I woke in the morning and it was six degrees and snowing and I thought that maybe I should go to California,” Kessinger said. I’m at Los Alamitos for most of his races and the horse has been very good to me for a long time. He ran a great race and I’m happy that I was here to see it.”

Leaving the gate from post number three, Seperate Interest made Kessinger’s trip worthwhile. He led from start to finish while covering the 400 yards in a time of :19.882 on a night in which the temperature was in the mid-60s throughout the evening. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Seperate Interest crossed the wire a neck ahead of both Dynasty Red and Once Over, which ended up dead-heating for second place. The top three finishers had previously met in the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1), a race in which Once Over and Dynasty Red ran fourth and fifth, respectively, while Seperate Interest settled for seventh-place.

In the Z. Wayne Griffin, it was Seperate Interest’s turn to shine, as he never relinquished the advantage despite strong finishes from both Once Over and Dynasty Red.

“Seperate Interest had a clean break tonight and he’s not had that sometimes,” said trainer Mike Casselman. “Eduardo said that the horse responded when he was asked.”

Seperate Interest earned $19,250 while picking up his sixth win in 19 lifetime starts. A career winner of $406,870, the horse bred by Eaves Horses Family Ltd. Partnership won the Kaweah Bar Handicap (G3) in May and the Town Policy Handicap last year. He was also second in the Golden State Million Futurity (G1) in 2012. He could make his next start in the First Down Dash Handicap (G3) on December 20.

Ed Allred’s Once Over and Julio Encinas’ Dynasty Red each earned $6,125 for finishing in a dead-heat for second-place. Jess Being Valiant, who also ran in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, was fourth. Matabari, the champion 3-year-old filly last year, was fifth and was followed by The August Heat and Look Of A Dasher.

Zia Park
Executive Trust overcame a six-wide trip to win Sunday’s $55,170 King Rick Rack Stakes at Zia Park. The Texas-bred gelding by Executive Menace prevailed by a length with an 870-yard clocking in :45.694. Ry Eikleberry rode for trainer Guadalupe Munoz Jr. and owner Sherree Meridyth. This marked the fifth win of the year and first stakes victory for Executive Trust, who improved his bankroll to $86,955. The 3-year-old was bred by Scarlett Hill Farm Inc. out of the Relagate mare Entrust.

Coronas Boy, winner of the New Mexico Classic Cup 870 Championship (R) last time out, finished a game second. CJs Rocksolid dueled for the early lead and held third.

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