Heza Dasha Fire to Make Season Debut on California Breeders' Champions Night

The 2015 world champion is the morning-line choice in Saturday's Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship.

Q-Racing Journal

Heza Dasha Fire, the sport's 2015 world champion, will make his 5-year-old season debut in Saturday's $100,000 Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Heza Dasha Fire, a homebred 5-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding and the sport's 2015 world champion, will make his season debut in Saturday's 400-yard, $100,000 Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship Handicap (RG1) at Los Alamitos.

Heza Dasha Fire is trained by Jose Flores for Don and Kathy Meneely's S-Quarter K LLC of Kennewick, Washington. An earner of $1,918,737 from 17 starts -- all at Los Alamitos -- the gelding will be making his first start since December 10, when he ran second, a head behind winner Zoomin For Spuds, in the 440-yard, $600,000 Champion of Champions (G1), American Quarter Horse racing's richest and most prestigious race for older horses.

"Heza Dasha Fire returning to the races brings up the entire barn,” Flores said. “My whole team loves it when he’s in training and getting ready for a race. He’s healthy and we hope he’ll have a good start. Our main concern is to keep him healthy all season long.

"(After) the Champion of Champions, we found that he had an eye infection and a kidney issue," Flores added. "Dr. Rick Overly and his team did a great job getting him healthy and back on track. He should have a good campaign if things go like we think they will go.”

Flores believes that Heza Dasha Fire will run like he worked on July 4, when the gelding drilled 350 yards from the gate in :17.40, the fastest of eight works at the distance that day

“We got some company for the work to build his heart," Flores said. "He started fast in the work and Cruz hand-rode most of the way. I get scared when I see him work so fast, but that’s just him. He’s a fast horse and that’s what he does. We didn’t push him, and he’ll come into the race fresh. He should come back and run a nice race.

“If he comes back sound and pulls up good, we’ll point him to the Grade 1 Go Man Go (on September 3) and from there maybe the (Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 15)," the trainer added. "To have him back in the Champion of Champions is our ultimate goal.” 

Los Alamitos morning-line maker Ed Burgart has made Heza Dasha Fire the early 1-5 favorite. The gelding drew post 4 and will be ridden by Cruz Mendez.

The Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship is one of 10 official stakes scheduled for Los Alamitos' 12-race program, which gets underway at 7:03 p.m. (PDT). All patrons attending the races on Saturday will receive a western belt buckle made by Montana Silversmiths.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey and weight assignments and morning-line odds:
Stel Easy (Rodrigo Aceves, 122), 8-1
Sepertist Dash (Cesar Franco, 119), 20-1
El Remalcable (Jose Nicasio, 122), 8-1
Heza Dasha Fire (Cruz Mendez, 126), 1-5
He Looks Hot (Carlos Huerta, 123), 5-1

Governor's Cup Futurity (RG2)
Ten California-bred 2-year-olds have been entered back in the night's richest race, the 350-yard, $390,000 Governor's Cup Futurity (RG2).

Abigail K. Kawananakoa's Chance To Fire, a gelded son of Walk Thru Fire trained by Chris O'Dell and the fastest qualifier, drew post 3 and will be ridden by Cody Jensen. Chance To Fire has won three of four starts, including the fifth of six trials on July 8, and he has earned $123,450. His resume includes a third-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind winner Kvn Corona, in the 350-yard, $1-million Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) on June 18.

"We're in the catbird seat, but that's where the pressure is," said O'Dell. "We ran (Chance To Fire) back pretty quick to get here today, but he's sound and happy and we thought we better give it a chance.

"He had post 10 for the Ed Burke, and I think he got a little lost being out there by himself," he added. "We weren't going to beat Kvn Corona on that night, but my horse broke out and looked lost."

J Fire Up, the fifth-fastest qualifier, won his trial by three-quarters of a length as the 3-10 favorite. A sorrel daughter of Kiddy Up owned by Darling Farm, Ernesto Solis, and trainer Jaime Gomez, J Fire Up ran second, a neck behind Kvn Corona, in the Ed Burke Million Futurity.

J Fire Up has banked $168,825 from four outs. The filly drew the rail post and will be ridden by Jose Nicasio.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
J Fire Up (Jose Nicasio), 5-1
Ditto Head (Rodrigo Aceves), 20-1
Chance To Fire (Cody Jensen), 2-1
Casino Baccarat (Jesus Ayala), 20-1
One Sweet Barbie (Ramon Sanchez), 20-1
Effortless Effort (Rodolfo Arvizu), 3-1
Yanque (Cruz Mendez), 6-1
Knockout Jess (Martin Arriaga), 30-1
The Revenant (Cesar DeAlba), 4-1
Magnifisant Seven (Roberto Hernandez), 30-1

Governor's Cup Derby (RG3)
Fastest qualifier One Sweet Runner is one of 10 state-bred sophomores entered back in Saturday's 400-yard, $203,000 Governor's Cup Derby (RG3).

Trained by Lindolfo Diaz for owner J. Francisco Diaz, One Sweet Runner scored a wire-to-wire, half-length win in the second of three trials on July 9. The homebred daughter of One Sweet Jess has won four of eight outs and has earned $22,463.

One Sweet Runner drew post 6 and will be ridden by Jesus Ayala. The filly's nine opponents include Kiddy Up Cowgirl, a graded stakes placed Kiddy Up filly trained by James Glenn Jr. for owner Robin MacPherson Living Trust. Kiddy Up Cowgirl has banked $32,263 from four starts this year, and her season resume includes a third-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind winner Imaqtpie, in the 400-yard, $225,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) on February 11.

Kiddy Up Cowgirl drew post 2 and will be ridden by Eulices Gomez.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Myfavoritestreaker (Tony Guymon), 8-1
Kiddy Up Cowgirl (Eulices Gomez), 8-1
A Bit Quirky (G. Jairo Rangel), 20-1
Katella Deli (Rodrigo Aceves), 9-2
Evil Genius (Oscar Peinado), 10-1
One Sweet Runner (Jesus Ayala), 3-1
Renewed (Eduardo Nicasio), 5-2
AJS Anna Smoke (Cesar DeAlba), 8-1
American Force (Ramon Sanchez), 20-1
Western Coast (Roberto Hernandez), 30-1

California Breeders' Matron Stakes (RG3)
Thermonuclear Energy is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 400-yard, $40,000 California Breeders' Matron Stakes (RG3) for fillies and mares.

Trained by Chris O'Dell for the Parsons Family Limited Partnership, Thermonuclear Energy is a homebred 4-year-old daughter of Walk Thru Fire. The mare will be making her first start since January 8, when she ran 10th, 2 3/4 lengths behind winner Jess Good Reason, in the 400-yard, $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap (G1).

Thermonuclear Energy finished second in last year's 400-yard, $200,000 Governor's Cup Derby. The mare drew post 4 and will be ridden by Jesus Ayala.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Maggie Durant (Eduardo Nicasio), 20-1
Strawfinders Jesse (Tony Guymon), 10-1
Zendaya (Cesar DeAlba), 7-2
Thermonuclear Energy (Jesus Ayala), 5-2
I Wont Give Up (Cruz Mendez), 20-1
Nymph (Carlos Huerta), 10-1
Favorite Kiss (Ramon Sanchez), 10-1
Bemused (Eulices Gomez), 9-2
You Can Fly (Cody Jensen), 7-2

The six other official stakes on Saturday's program are the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Freshman Fillies Stakes (R) for 2-year-old fillies; the 400-yard, $25,000 Jens L. List Memorial California Breeders' Stakes (R) for 3-year-olds, which features the return of El Primero del Ano Derby (G3) winner Stelfast; the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Debutante Stakes (R) for 3-year-old fillies; the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Freshman Stakes (R) for 2-year-olds; the 550-yard, $20,000 California Breeders' 550 Sophomore Stakes (R) for 3-year-olds; and the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Sprint Stakes (R), headed by 2016 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) runner-up Rite Regal.

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