California-Breds in the Spotlight at Los Alamitos

The 19th annual California Breeders' Champions night is set for Saturday.

Q-Racing Journal

Parsons Rocket, pictured here winning his trial, is one of 10 state-bred juveniles entered back in Saturday's Governor's Cup Futurity. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

California-bred Quarter Horses will be in the spotlight on Saturday, as Los Alamitos Racecourse presents its 19th California Breeders' Champions Night.

Featuring combined purses of approximately $960,000, the event is the product of joint cooperation between the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association and track management. A press release issued by Los Alamitos Racecourse on Thursday stated that the PCQHRA will pay the $300 starter fee for every horse racing at the track on Saturday.

"The PCQHRA board has approved to give the owners a $300 start fee for every single horse racing this Saturday at Los Alamitos," said PCQHRA president Dominic "Bud" Alessio. "Usually, horses that finish in sixth place or below in a stakes race would not receive the $300 start fee on California Breeders' Champions night, but this year every owner racing a horse on Saturday, whether their horse finishes first or 10th, will receive an additional $300 per horse paid by the PCQHRA.

"This is a direct benefit to racehorse owners and is in addition to the purse money available on Saturday," he added. "We appreciate the continued support of the great horsemen and horsewomen in California. On behalf of the PCQHRA, I look forward to a safe and great night of Quarter Horse racing."

Los Alamitos' stakes action on Saturday will be headed by the 350-yard, $380,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2), which will feature five 2-year-olds trained by Chris O'Dell. 

O'Dell will saddle fastest qualifier Parsons Rocket, a homebred son of Parsons Rock who scored a nose victory in the fourth of seven trials on July 14. Parsons Rocket drew post 3 and will be ridden by Jose Nicasio.

"The biggest thing with Parsons Rocket is getting him to relax; he can get a little hot,” O’Dell said. “(In the trials), he behaved perfectly. He didn’t even break a sweat. He was pretty cool the entire time and ended up running a great race.

"We haven’t galloped him as much and instead we’ve been ponying him, and he’s been thriving with that plan," the trainer added.  "He had the outside post 8 in the trials, but he still had to run a big race and win. He’s really come around nicely.”

Other Governor's Cup Futurity contenders include Striver, a a daughter of champion Foose trained by Scott Willoughby for owner Juan Carlos Chavez. The filly has earned $80,461 from six outs, and her race record includes a second-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind winner Wicked Affair, in the 300-yard, $322,000 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity (G2) in May.

Striver drew post 4 and will be ridden by Carlos Huerta.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
You Caught My Eye (Ramon Sanchez, 20-1
Hot Little Kiddy (Eulices Gomez), 8-1
Parsons Rocket (Jose Nicasio), 4-1
Striver (Carlos Huerta), 12-1
Provodnikov (Jesus Ayala), 8-1
Tac Me Up (Cruz Mendez), 12-1
Jess Bein Me (Cesar Franco), 20-1
Powerful Favorite (Eduardo Nicasio), 2-1
Favorite Wise Lady (Cody Jensen), 3-1
Anas Image (Rodrigo Aceves), 20-1

Champion J Fire Up heads a field of 10 sophomores entered back in Saturday's 400-yard, $203,000 Governor’s Cup Derby (RG3). A homebred daughter of Kiddy Up racing for Darling Farms, Ernesto Solis, and trainer Jaime Gomez, J Fire Up made her debut with a nose victory as the 1-5 favorite in first of two trials on July 15.

"She came out of (her trial) better than how she was doing going into the race," said Gomez of J Fire Up. "She's doing perfect. I've liked everything about her since that race. We've taken her to the gates, and she just looks so happy and comfortable. She's settled in nicely."

J Fire Up, made the early 6-5 early favorite by track morning-line maker Ed Burgart, drew post 8 and will be ridden by Jose Nicasio.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Casino Baccarat (Jesus Ayala), 8-1
My Favorite Cartel (Erasmo Gasca), 30-1
Ditto Head (Cruz Mendez), 7-2
Unblemished (Oscar Peinado), 30-1
Chance To Fire (Cody Jensen), 6-1
Dont Foose With Me (Carlos Huerta), 30-1
One More Cigarr (Eduardo Nicasio), 30-1
J Fire Up (Jose Nicasio), 6-5
Black Fryday (Eddie S. Garcia), 6-1
Yanque (Ramon Sanchez), 6-1

Heza Dasha Fire, the sport's 2015 world champion, heads a field of six in the 400-yard, $100,000 Spencer L. Childers California Breeders' Championship (RG1).

Trained by Jose Flores for Don and Kathy Meneely's S-Quarter K LLC, Heza Dasha Fire is a homebred 6-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding who has earned $2,167,987 from 21 races, all at Los Alamitos. Heza Dasha Fire will be making his first start since December 16, when he ran second, a half of a length behind upset winner Mr Pyc To You, in the 440-yard, $750,000 Champion of Champions.

"We're excited to see him back in action," said Kathy Meneely of Heza Dasha Fire. "It's been a long time from December to the end of July. We do have an aggressive schedule for him from here on out. After this race, we'll point him to the AQHA California Challenge in two weeks, and then the Go Man Go in early September.

"He only ran four times last year, so for us to run him with this sort of schedule is pretty rare," she added. "But he's stronger, bigger, and he's put on some muscle. He's also a 6-year-old, so he's a very mature horse, but he's also very fresh. Having said all that, we'll do what's right for the horse. We'll make adjustments as we need to."

Heza Dasha Fire drew post 2 and will be ridden by Cruz Mendez.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Renewed (Jonathan Roman), 20-1
Heza Dasha Fire (Cruz Mendez), 4-5
Royaltys Authority (Ruben Lozano), 8-1
Tarzanito (Eddie S. Garcia), 5-2
Katella Deli (Jose Nicasio), 8-1
LD Is Back (Eduardo Nicasio), 6-1

There will be six other official stakes contested on Saturday: the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Freshman Stakes (R) for 2-year-olds; the 400-yard, $25,000 Jens L. List Memorial California Breeders' Stakes (R) for 3-year-olds; the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Debutante Stakes (R) for 3-year-old fillies; the 550-yard, $20,000 California Breeders' 550 Stakes (R) for 3-year-olds and older; the 350-yard, $25,000 California Breeders' Sprint Stakes (R) for 3-year-olds and older; and the 400-yard, $40,000 California Breeders' Matron Stakes (RG3) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and older.

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