Heza Dasha Fire Primed for Champion of Champions Defense

The reigning world champion is the morning-line choice Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire, pictured here winning the Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship in October, is one of 10 sprinters entered in Saturday's Grade 1 Champion of Champions. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

S-Quarter K LLC's Heza Dasha Fire, the sport's reigning world champion, is the 3-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 440-yard, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1) at Los Alamitos.

Heza Dasha Fire is trained by Jose Flores. He has earned $133,349 from four outs this season, and his resume includes victories in the 400-yard, $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) on September 4, and the 440-yard, $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1) on October 9. During his world championship campaign, the homebred 4-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding won all five of his outs, including the Champion of Champions, and banked $726,432.

Heza Dasha Fire will be attempting to become only the fourth horse to score back-to-back Champion of Champions wins. The others are Dash For Cash, Refrigerator, and SLM Big Daddy, all of whom were world champions.

"He's fantastic," said Kathy Meneely of S-Quarter K. "He makes all your dreams come true. You can't sit back and think you're going to win. I still get nervous and yell for him to run fast. He's been incredible. We've had so much fun with him."

Heza Dasha Fire had surgery after his second-place finish to champion Moonist in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) in February. Meneely said the gelding came back "hard and strong."

"We're only going to run him a few more times, possibly in the Winter Championship again," she added. "We don't want to over-run him."

Heza Dasha Fire drew post 7 and will be ridden by Cruz Mendez. The gelding's nine opponents include Michael Teel's AJs High and Ed Allred's He Looks Hot. A homebred 4-year-old son of Apollitical Jess trained by Charlton Hunt, AJs High earned his berth with his head victory in the 440-yard, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) on October 29.

AJs High has won two of his three outs at the quarter-mile distance, and he won all three of his races -- all against graded stakes company -- during the Remington Park spring meet. The gelding drew post 9 and will be ridden by Stormy Smith.

A homebred 4-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding trained by Scott Willoughby, He Looks Hot earned his Champion of Champions berth with a neck win in the 400-yard, $100,000 Vessels Maturity (G1) on July 3. He Looks Hot will be ridden by Carlos Huerta from post 8.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Rite Regal (Ramon Sanchez), 20-1
Big Lew (Jimmy Dean Brooks), 15-1
Militarist (Cesar DeAlba), 15-1
Zoomin For Spuds (Jesus Rios Ayala), 12-1
Heat Warning (J. Martin Bourdieu), 30-1
Forget It (G. Jairo Rangel), 30-1
Heza Dasha Fire (Cruz Mendez), 3-5
He Looks Hot (Carlos Huerta), 6-1
AJs High (Stormy Smith), 4-1
Sass Me Blue (Cody Jensen), 20-1

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