Champions to Match Strides in Winter Championship

Heza Dasha Fire, Moonist renew rivalry Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Moonist (pictured) will attempt to turn the tables on reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire in Sunday's 400-yard Los Alamitos Winter Championship. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Reigning world champion Heza Dasha Fire and two-time champion Moonist are among the 10 aged sprinters entered back in Sunday's 400-yard, $139,700 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

"It's going to be a great race," said Jose Flores, who trains Heza Dasha Fire for S Quarter-K LLC of Kennewick, Washington. "Moonist is a true champion, and Heza Dasha Fire is just an amazing horse. They're the types of horses that if you line them up to face each other 20 times, they would probably win 10 races each.

"When my horse is going against Moonist, I know he is facing a great horse," he added. "Plus, his connections (trainer John Cooper and owners Ron and Jeryl Hartley) are just great people. I love to have fun with Cooper about this matchup. It's just a lot of fun to be part of it."

Heza Dasha Fire clinched his world championship title with his 1 1/4-length victory over runner-up Moonist in the December 12, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1), a race which marked the first time the two rivals had ever faced each other. To make Sunday's matchup even more intriguing, Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire drew adjacent post positions, 5 and 6, respectively.

Heza Dasha Fire has won 11 of 13 outs and has earned $1,690,738. Cruz Mendez will ride the 4-year-old gelded son of Walk Thru Fire on Sunday.

Moonist enters Sunday's race with 21 wins in 31 starts and a bankroll of $805,494. The 5-year-old gelding by champion Separatist will be ridden by Cesar DeAlba.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Walk The Catwalk (Ruben Lozano), 50-1
Wilmas Alright Now (Oscar Peinado), 50-1
French Fury (Rodrigo Aceves), 30-1
Sugardaddy B (Rodolfo Arvizu), 50-1
Moonist (Cesar DeAlba), 6-5
Heza Dasha Fire (Cruz Mendez), 3-5
Fiery Kimbo (Carlos W. Marquez), 50-1
Dr Jess (Jesus Ayala), 12-1
Jake Gold Br (Ramon Sanchez), 8-1
Jiffy James (Gary Boag), 50-1

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