Moonist Returns in Vessels Maturity Trials

The champion is the 1-5 morning-line favorite in the first of two trials Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Q-Racing Journal

Moonist will make his next start in Sunday's 400-yard Vessels Maturity trials at Los Alamitos Racecourse. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Ron Hartley's Moonist, a 5-year-old gelded son of Separatist trained by John Cooper, is one of 16 aged sprinters entered in Sunday's Vessels Maturity (G1) trials at Los Alamitos.

The 10 fastest qualifiers from the two 400-yard heats will meet in the $152,000 Vessels Maturity final on July 3.

Los Alamitos racecaller and morning-line maker Ed Burgart has made Moonist the early 1-5 favorite in the first trial. An earner of $874,068 from 33 outs, the gelding has won all three of his races this season, including the 400-yard, $140,000 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) in February.

Cesar DeAlba will ride Moonist from post 5 on Sunday. Moonist's seven opponents in the first heat include Forget It, a Grade 1-winning 4-year-old son of champion Foose who will be making his first start against older horses. Trained by Jose Flores, Forget It ended his sophomore season with a neck victory in the 400-yard, $134,000 Southern California Derby (G1) on December 20.

Forget It drew the rail post and will be ridden by Cruz Mendez.

The second Vessels Maturity trial has also drawn a field of eight, topped by Dutcher. The runner-up in last year's 440-yard, $416,000 Texas Classic Derby (G1) at Lone Star Park, the 4-year-old Apollitical Jess gelding is trained by Juan Aleman for owners Jumonville Farms and Brian Ranch, and he will be ridden by Eduardo Nicasio from post 8.

Click here to watch a video preview of the Vessels Maturity trials. The winner of the Vessels Maturity final will earn a berth in this year's Grade 1, 440-yard Champion of Champions.

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