Champions Headline Winter Championship Trials

Moonist and Jake Gold BR among 20 competing for a spot in the final at Los Alamitos.

News Release

Newly crowned champions Moonist and Jake Gold BR are among the 20 older horses that will compete in the trials to the Grade 1, $169,800 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday night at the California track. First post time is 5 p.m. with the 400-yard trials scheduled as races six, seven and eight. The 10 horses with the fastest times will return to compete in the final on Sunday, February 15.

Trained by John Cooper for owner Ron Hartley, Moonist was named the champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, January 21. Moonist was rewarded for a tremendous season that included nine wins from 10 starts and earnings of $357,358. Moonist also became the first horse in Los Alamitos history to win four derbies in a single season. Moonist won the El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3), Governor’s Cup Derby (RG3), Golden State Derby (G1) and PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby. His only loss of the year was a fourth-place finish in last year’s Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1).

Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, the Separatist gelding will be making his first start since taking time off after a minor foot ailment forced him to miss the trials to the Southern California Derby (G1) in early December. Moonist has since posted a nice turn and work at 350 yards of :18.40 on January 7. To be ridden by Cesar De Alba, Moonist will start from post number four in the third and final trial of the night. Moonist will be facing strong competition that will include three-time champion Rylees Boy, Grade 1 Vessels Maturity winner Far Niente and multiple stakes winner Seperate Interest. Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy has not raced since finishing third in last year’s Winter Championship. The 10-year-old gelding has earned $1,562,939 in a career that includes 22 wins from 51 starts. He won the Champion of Champions (G1) in 2012 and ran third in the Champion of Champions in 2013. Atwood Ranches Inc. and Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Far Niente has won nine of 16 career starts, while Seperate Interest’s record include wins in the Kaweah Bar Handicap (G3) and Z. Wayne Griffin Stakes.

Clodoaldo De Oliveria Miranda’s Jake Gold BR was named the South American champion after winning the Bank of America South America Championship Challenge in Brazil and the Christmas Invitational at Los Alamitos. The Brazilian-bred will headline the first trial that will also feature Ed Allred’s Spencer Childers California Breeders’ Championship Handicap (RG1) winner Once Over and Southern California Derby runner-up Tres Pescado. The other trial will be headed by Balgo Racing Team Inc. and Marlyn Gonzalez’s 2013 champion 3-year-old filly Matabari, a lifetime earner of $1,337,805 and winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) and Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1). Martha Wells’ New Look, winner of the 2014 Bank of America Los Alamitos Championship Challenge (G3), Grade 1 winner Vodka With Ice and A Ransom Handicap winner Wagon Tales are among the top runners racing in this event.

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