Moonist Completes Grand Slam at Los Al
Gelding makes history with his fourth derby win at Los Alamitos.
October 4, 2014
Ron and Jeryl Hartley’s Moonist became the first four-time derby winner at Los Alamitos Race Course after pulling away from seven rivals to the win the $166,000 PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby on Friday evening.
The son of Separatist added the Breeders’ Derby to his derby victories in the El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3), Governor’s Cup Derby (RG3) and Golden State Derby (G1). Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer John Cooper, Moonist extended his winning to eight straight with his only loss in 10 starts this season coming in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) on February 15. Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, Moonist was previously one of three horses to have wins in three of the nine current derbies at Los Alamitos. The other ones being his sire, the multiple champion Separatist, and the multiple champion filly Ah Sigh.
“I wanted him to win four derbies badly because Separatist had three,” said Cooper, who also trained the gray colt Separatist. “I wanted him to pass Separatist and not because to denigrate what Separatist had done, but to show what Separatist had passed on to his son. Moonist is something else.”
Out of the 2001 champion 2-year-old filly Your First Moon, Moonist broke nicely from post number five following the scratches of Le Mishka Jess and Ms First Prize Rose. Moonist got bumped slightly on his rear end, but by then he was already on the lead and his lead grew with each stride. Pulling away in the late going, Moonist went on to score a 1 ¾-length victory, matching the winning margin he posted in the Grade 1 Golden State Derby in his previous derby victory. His winning time in the Breeders’ Futurity was :19.71 for the 400-yard dash.
Cooper, who has been a mainstay at Los Alamitos for over 40 years, had his poker face before the race and a quiet smile after it.
“I wasn’t nervous before the race,” Cooper said. “But when they put them in the starting gate that’s when my heart started beating at a 100 miles per second. You never know what’s going to happen in the starting gate. You just hope that they get away cleanly. Cesar did a great job with the horse. He fits Moonist like a glove.”
“He got bumped a little bit leaving there,” De Alba said. “The other horses felt a little close to us early on, too close for comfort. I had not been using the whip in the last couple of starts, but tonight I tapped him twice. He was running comfortable and cruising out there. This feeling is a bit surreal. Sometimes you take things for granted and days come and go. Then you get on a horse like Moonist and things change. It’s an amazing feeling. He’s such a pro. He warmed up like he always does. In the gate you start to worry because he’s so quiet and calm. I start fearing that he’s going to fall asleep in there. Then the gates open and he takes off.”
Hartley has been in Quarter Horse racing since the early 1960s, first helping his father with the training of horse, then training horses on his own starting at the age of 21 at the 1961 Fresno Fair, and eventually working as a racing official and later a racing steward. Now, Hartley is a racehorse owner enjoying the time of his life with Moonist.
“Everyone is asking me if Moonist is going to run in the Champion of Champions,” Hartley said. “You know, we have been paid up to one more derby and that’s the Southern California Derby. I think sticking with your age group is not a bad idea. It’s been working so far. The Los Alamitos Winter Championship comes around quickly at the start of 2015 so that’s a nice goal. I was talking to Dr. Ed Allred earlier today and I told him that we would try with Moonist for Champion of Champions next year. He’ll be back. He’s just winning right now and I think his groom deserves a lot of credit as well.”
Cooper couldn’t agree more with everything that Hartley said in the paragraph above.
“Tubercio Argueta,” Cooper began. “That’s Moonist’s groom. I call him T-bo and let me tell you he’s at the barn working hard when everyone else in gone. He’s been with me for a while now and before that he worked for trainer Charlie Bloomquist. Tubercio is a hard worker.
“The Southern California Derby trials are where I’d like to see Moonist run in his next start,” Cooper said. “I’ll keep him here in the barn. He thrives on being here. He’s happy. When you turn out a horse you never know how they’ll come back. I remember a horse I trained named Aladuino and he won a lot of races at Los Alamitos. I sent him home and he stopped eating. He wouldn’t eat. We brought him back to the barn and when we got him out of the trailer he nickered all the way to his stall. That’s the place he called home.”
Moonist earned $65,520 for the win to take his career earnings to $449,918. He’s won 13 of 20 career starts.
Reese Farms Quarter Horses LLC’s RF One Famous Okey broke nicely from post seven and continued throughout to earn second place money of $26,520. Racing in the Intermountain region as a 2-year-old and during his 3-year-old campaign prior the Breeders’ Derby trial, RF One Famous Okey entered the Breeders’ final with career earnings of $9,375. The homebred filly by One Famous Eagle was saddled by trainer Paul Jones and ridden by Eduardo Nicasio.
Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Dynasty Of Habits posted her best finish in a derby this year when crossing the wire in third-place in this event. The FDD Dynasty filly had previously shared the starting gate in a derby final with Moonist in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby and Governor’s Cup Derby. She also competed in the La Primera Del Ano Derby. Saddled by Cody Joiner and ridden by Cruz Mendez, Dynasty of Habits earned $18,720. Volcoms Delight, The Ocean King, All Guns Firing, Look Of A Dasher and Smoothe Movin Chic completed the field.
Also on the card, Tony and Aubrey Greaves’ homebred gelding PF Flyair became a two-time winner of the $25,000 Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap after beating a strong field of runners.
With Jordan Hadley riding PF Flyair for his mother, trainer Susan Hadley, the son of Dashair led the 400-yard race from start to wire to win in a time of :19.874. PF Flyair joins Sheza Bad Habits as repeat winners of the Blane Schvaneveldt. Sheza Bad Habit won the race in 2010 and 2011.
Tony Greaves of Ogden, Utah, who works in the heating and air conditioning industry, has been involved in Quarter Horse racing his entire life.
“My dad grew up with Blane Schvaneveldt,” Greaves said. “I had the pleasure of meeting Blane and to have a horse good enough to just compete in this race is an honor. To have a horse that’s won it twice, that’s just a great feeling. PF Flyair is like our kid. We own his mother and we picked the horse to breed her to and then we hauled her to get bred. We raised this baby so he’s like our kid. We try to race him lightly and take good care of him. We want to run him next year.”
The way he’s performed in back-to-back Schvaneveldt runnings, PF Flyair would have to a strong candidate to win this event in 2015 as well.
“He looked like a million bucks in the post parade and he looked awesome in the paddock,” Greaves added. “Sherman Hadley trained for us since I was a little kid. He probably had a horse for us every year for about 30 years. After his accident, we stayed with the Hadleys and we’re happy. Jordan knows this horse extremely well.”
PF Flyair won five of seven starts in 2013 and is now two of four this season.
“I hadn’t galloped him a lot because I was working at the ranch before coming here to ride him,” Jordan Hadley explained. “He was exceptional tonight. I love him. We have a great bond.”
PF Flyair earned $13,750 to take his career earnings to $81,773.
Robert Hickman’s Margaritas N Coronas, a multiple stakes winner in the Intermountain series at Los Alamitos, finished second. TLM Dream, Wilmas Alright Now, Gallant Mystic, Josie Bassett, and JR Dynasty Mountain completed the field.
Fresh off a strong runner-up effort in the Idaho Cup Derby (R), Ruben Magallanes’ Angel Eyez, was outstanding in posting a half-length victory over Stan Young’s Hes Chillin in the $15,000 Kip Didericksen Handicap.
Angel Eyes was the first starter ever at Los Alamitos for Magallanes of Hermiston, Oregon.
“We come to the Los Alamitos Equine Sale each year, but he’s our first runner here,” said Hector Magallanes, the owner’s son and also the trainer of Angel Eyez prior to her Los Alamitos arrival.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with here,” he added. “We knew Danny Montes from his time training in the Idaho and Washington so when she came here we sent her to his barn. She was the only filly in this race and she looked tiny compared to the other horses. She proved today that size does not matter.”
Saddled by Montes and ridden by Santiago Mendez, Angel Eyez covered the 350 yards distance in :17.707. This was her seventh win in 14 career starts. She earned $8,250 in her winning California debut.
“We had a horse with trainer Bret Vickery that passed away,” Ruben Magallanes said. “Bret felt terrible that we lost the horse and told us, ‘I can’t bring the horse back, but I will help you find a good horse’ He found us this horse and we’ve been happy with her.”
Bred by Donna King, who campaigned the Vickery-trained Grade 1 winner LDS Dash For Dylan, Angel Eyez has now earned $34,468 in her career.
Hes Chillin, Joe Legacy, Balata Joe Now, A Corona Habit, McGraw, Winners Makesasplash, and Classic Blush.
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