Rite Regal Returns in $215,250 Los Alamitos Winter Derby
The fastest qualifier draws post 7 for Saturday's Grade 1, 400-yard stakes.
February 10, 2016
Fastest qualifier Rite Regal and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalists Dynasty Energy, Jess A Pollitician, and Senor Gianni are among the sophomores that will compete in the first derby of the 2016 season here, the Grade 1, $215,250 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, on Saturday night. First post is 6 p.m.
Owned by Urschel 3-D Ranch LLC, Rite Regal has won four of five starts since breaking his maiden in his first local start at Los Alamitos on September 25, an outing that also saw him race as a gelding for the first time. Rite Regal won that maiden race by 1 1/4 lengths and an allowance and a futurity trial win followed shortly after. After running fifth in the $30,000 Los Alamitos Invitational Stakes, Rite Regal bounced back to post a neck win in the fastest qualifying time to the Winter Derby.
“He’s something special,” said Jose Flores, who trains Rite Regal. “It’s an honor to train this horse for a great owner like Jolene Urschel. Her 3-D Ranch sent me this outstanding individual. When I worked him for the first time, I knew that he was something special. He’s done well for us. He missed qualifying to the Two Million, which was a little disappointing because we thought he could get into the race. This is a tough derby. There are a lot of futurity finalists from some big races in this field. In his (Two Million trial), Rite Regal drifted in so we made some changes in his equipment.”
Rite Regal will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez, the 2015 AQHA Jockey of the Year. Ramirez led the nation in money earned ($3.6 million) and stakes wins (16) last year. Members of the Texas Racing Hall of Fame, Dan and Jolene Urschel campaigned 1981 World Champion Special Effort, the only horse to ever to sweep the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American futurities. Dan Urschel passed away in September of 2014.
Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Dynasty Energy finished third to AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding Ima Fearless Hero in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity at odds of 35-1. He came back with a gutsy effort in his Winter Derby trial, dead-heating for the win with Oscar Andrade and Steve Burns’ Uno Corona Mas. Ridden by Tony Guymon for trainer Chris O’Dell, Dynasty Energy will come into this race with a record of four wins in eight starts and he’s finished in the top three every time. Sired by champion FDD Dynasty and out of multiple Grade 1 winning mare Terrific Energy, Dynasty Energy will start from post number six.
Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Senor Gianni showed his staying power by pulling away late to win his Winter Derby trial by 3/4 lengths. Sired by the champion Good Reason SA, Senor Gianni ran in the Two Million final as well last year. He’s won four of 10 in his career. Oscar Peinado, currently the meet’s leading Quarter Horse rider, will pilot Senor Gianni for Jones, the 2015 AQHA Champion trainer.
Janet McKinnerney’s Jess A Pollitician finished strongly to post a fifth place finish in the Los Alamitos Two Million final and then was fourth while still qualifying out of his Winter Derby trial. Also trained by Jose Flores, Jess A Pollitician had previously won three races in a row before the Two Million final. Cruz Mendez, the leading Quarter Horse jockey at Los Alamitos the past four years, will ride Jess A Pollitician from post number one.
Jones, meanwhile, will also saddle Holiday Handicap winner Jess Good Reason, the second fastest qualifier after posting a runner-up finish to Rite Regal in the trials. Owned by John and Cina Sperry, Jess Good Reason won her first three career starts, highlighted by her Holiday Handicap over a field that included Winter Derby qualifier Luv On The Run. Roberto Hernandez will pilot the Good Reason SA filly.
Jesus Nava’s Luv On The Run figures to deliver the late punch, as he always does. The colt by Favorite Cartel has won a field’s best six races in 11 starts. He’s drawn post number five, which is to the inside of Dynasty Energy and Rite Regal. Jose Nicasio will ride the Sergio Fiscal charge.
The aforementioned Uno Corona Mas will look to his connections a memorable moment in the Winter Derby.
“Uno Corona Mas is the first horse we’ve kept out of our mare (Corona Mas Fina),” said breeder Elena Andrade. “That’s why this means more. To breed a Grade 1 finalist has been our dream from the time we first (bred) Corona Mas Fina. That’s been our vision all along. It’s not been easy, but we knew that it was possible. It took a lot of patience, but what a great thrill to have it happen.”
Rancho El Alacran Inc’s El Compa JV, third in the Los Alamitos Invitational Stakes, Martha Wells’ Chicks Fayvorite, fourth in the Golden State Invitational Stakes, and Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Fire At Will, a multiple futurity finalist, will complete the field.
AQHA News 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.