Robert Boniface Invitational
World Champion returns at Los Alamitos.
October 6, 2016
The connections of AQHA World Champion Heza Dasha Fire would love to see the gelding’s second career start at 440 yards end up similarly to his first ever performance at the classic Quarter Horse racing distance.
In his quarter of a mile debut, Heza Dasha Fire ran the race of his life, as he defeated a tremendous field that include champion Moonist to win the $600,000 Champion of Champions by 1 1/4 lengths on December 12, 2015. His second outing at 440 yards will occur this Sunday night when the Jose Flores-trained runner will headline a talented seven-horse field in the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship. The winner will earn a guaranteed berth to this year’s Champion of Champions.
“We’ve always felt that Heza Dasha Fire is a true 440-yard horse,” Flores said. “It’s not an easy distance for many runners, but we believe that this horse loves and thrives at this distance. We were excited to see him run in the Champion of Champions and he ran a great race. I’m excited to see him run in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on Sunday.”
A winner of 12 of 15 career starts and $1,761,487 in earnings, Heza Dasha Fire has enjoyed a sparkling racing career. He won the Ed Burke Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity as a 2-year-old and the Champion of Champions, Los Alamitos Super Derby and Golden State Derby during his sophomore year in 2015. The Washington homebred by Walk Thru Fire ran second to the late Moonist in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship earlier this year then had knee surgery before returning with a super victory two length victory in the Grade 1 Go Man Go. Cruz Mendez will ride Heza Dasha Fire from post number two.
The field from the rail out is as follows: He Looks Hot, the winner of the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity; World Champion Heza Dasha Fire; Texas Classic Derby and Vessels Maturity runner-up Dutcher; 2015 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap runner-up Jess Cuz; First Down Dash Handicap winner Stevie B First Cash; Bank of America California Championship winner BH Lisas Boy; and the Grade 1 stakes placed Viento Negro.
While it’s highly likely that Heza Dasha Fire will be part of this year’s Champion of Champions thanks to his victory in the Go Man Go, Ed Allred’s He Look Hot knows for sure that he’s earned a starting spot in the sport’s most prestigious race for older horses thanks to his victory in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on July 3.
He Looks Hot also holds the distinction to be the only living horse to be winner of a race against Heza Dasha Fire having beaten that rival in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in 2014. He Looks Hot has not raced since his Vessels Maturity win. He was expected to compete in the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap on July 30, but he was a scratched out of the race due to an illness. The Walk Thru Fire gelding has since posted a nice 350-yard gate drill in :18 flat on September 17 for trainer Scott Willoughby. Carlos Huerta will be aboard the winner of $959,985. This will be He Looks Hot’s first ever start at 440 yards.
Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy is a true quarter mile runner. The gelding by Mighty Invictus has started four times at that distance since August of 2015 and has won three of those starts. His 3/4 length win in the Bank of America California Championship held here on August 14 came at 440 yards and he was second to Heza Dasha Fire in last month’s Go Man Go.
Two Feather Series, LLC’s Stevie B First Cash is one to watch based on his recent success in New Mexico. The colt by First Down Dash was third in the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby at 440 yards and posted a runaway length victory in the First Down Dash also at 440. Double Bar S Ranch’s Jess Cuz is the only mare in the field. Her connections would love to see her upset the boys in a big way, but earning an invitation to the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials, which serves to complete the Champion of Champions field, would be a great prize as well. The second and third place finishers in this race will earn an invite to next month’s Z. Wayne Griffin.
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