Moonist, Heza Dasha Fire Square Off in Champion of Champions

The two champions are the early favorites for the Grade 1, 440-yard stakes at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Heza Dasha Fire is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Champions Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire will meet for the first time in Saturday's 440-yard, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire are currently ranked first and second, respectively, in the AQHA Racing/HorseplayerNow.com 3-year-old and older poll. Los Alamitos morning-line maker Ed Burgart has installed Heza Dasha Fire as the early 7-5 favorite in the full field of 10. A homebred son of Walk Thru Fire, the gelding is trained by Jose Flores for owner Don and Kathy Meneely's S-Quarter K LLC.

Heza Dasha Fire will be ridden by Cruz Mendez from post 10 on Saturday.

"I like the outside post for Heza Dasha Fire," said Flores.

Last year's champion 2-year-old gelding, Heza Dasha Fire has won 10 of 11 starts and has earned $1,389,388 while racing exclusively in California. The gelding has won four stakes, and he brings a four-race win streak into the Champion of Champions that includes the October 31, $866,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1), and the August 23, $180,000 Golden State Derby (G2).

Moonist races for Ron Hartley from the barn of trainer John Cooper. A $21,500 buy at the 2012 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, the 4-year-old son of champion Separatist has banked $706,194 from 29 outs, and his 20 wins include 11 stakes. Moonist brings in a three-race win streak, all against graded stakes company.

Moonist drew post 7 and will be ridden by Cesar DeAlba.

"I look at all the winner's circle photos Moonist, and I think he's won from every single post," said Hartley. "I am happy with whatever post he ends up with in the Champion of Champions. He's ready."

Click here to watch video interviews with horsemen preparing for Champion of Champions weekend at Los Alamitos.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds--
Well And Good (Eulices Gomez), 20-1
Seperate Interest (Oscar Peinado), 20-1
Quirky (Carlos Huerta), 10-1
Solid Connection (Jesus Ayala), 30-1
Rock You (Jimmy D. Brooks), 10-1
Far Niente (Eduardo Nicasio), 8-1
Moonist (Cesar DeAlba), 8-5
Dashin Brown Streak (G.R. Carter Jr.), 12-1
French Fury (Rodolfo Arvizu), 30-1
Heza Dasha Fire (Cruz Mendez), 7-5

AQHA Racing and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.