Old Habits Handicap Preview
Top sophomores contest Los Alamitos stakes.
September 21, 2017
Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s That Rico, the hero of Grade 2 Golden State Derby, takes on Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity winner Chazaq in a battle of major stakes winners in the $15,000 Old Habits Handicap Saturday at Los Alamitos. The two stars are both preparing for the trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby to be held here on October 21. The Super Derby offers its winner a berth to the Grade 1 $750,000 Champion of Champions.
Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, That Rico continued his terrific sophomore campaign by easily winning the Golden State. The Carters Cartel gelding has won his last three starts, which include the Independence Day Handicap. He was also the El Primero Del Ano Derby runner-up and third in the Dillingham Handicap. Dutch Masters III’s Chazaq was outstanding in his sophomore debut, winning an allowance event by two lengths. He then won his Golden State Derby trial by a length, but he never got going in the derby final when running fifth. To be ridden by Rodrigo Aceves, the Corona Cartel gelding will look to return to top form in the Old Habits at 350 yards.
The Old Habits will also feature three other horses with Los Alamitos Super Derby aspirations in the form of Governor’s Cup Derby runner-up Katella Deli, Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Mr Apollitical Dash, and All American Derby trial winner Apollitical Spirit. Grade 1 finalist Jouet With Fire will complete the field.
Los Alamitos Race Course will host the running of the Old Habits Handicap named in honor of the 1999 champion and Grade 1 All American Derby winner.
The gelding raced for "The Girls," a well-known group of 10 women who always dressed in red when he competed. “The Girls” all had some sort of tie to Los Alamitos Race Course. Old Habits, who carried “The Girls” white and red silks with big, smooching, red lips on the back, was one of the most popular horses of his time. Purchased for $18,500, the Danny Cardoza-trained son of the Thoroughbred Apollo won the 1998 Governor’s Cup Futurity and then posted the fastest qualifying time to the All American Futurity. In the final, he ran into a bit of a traffic jam, but still found a way to finish second by a neck.
He was sensational as a 3-year-old, winning the All American Derby before running third in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Invitational Championship against older horses. He finished his championship winning campaign with a victory in the Los Alamitos Derby and a third place finish to Tailor Fit in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions. Old Habits was bred by the late Frank "Scoop" Vessels III's Vessels Stallion Farm at Bonsall, California. Old Habits earned $680,491 and won nine of 22 races in his career.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.