KVN Corona Returns in El Primero Trials

The Corona Cartel colt will make his season debut on Sunday.

Q-Racing Journal

Keith Nellesen's KVN Corona, pictured here winning last year's PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity, will make his season debut in Sunday's El Primero del Ano Derby trials. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Keith Nellesen's KVN Corona, last year's champion 2-year-old colt, is one of 26 3-year-old colts and geldings entered in Saturday's 400-yard El Primero del Ano Derby (G3) trials at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Paul Jones, KVN Corona is coming off of a juvenile campaign during which he won all six of his starts and earned $577,450, and his two graded stakes wins included a head victory in the 350-yard, $1-million Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) in June.

KVN Corona is named for New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and he is one of the few horses to defeat champion 2-year-old J Fire Up, as the colt defeated J Fire Up in the Ed Burke Million.

"My backup plan is that he would be a barrel horse," said Nellesen of KVN Corona. "This our (breeding operation's) third crop to go to the track. We are committed to racing at Los Alamitos. My 8-year-old daughter told me that we're partners on KVN Corona. I asked her what that meant, and she said 'It means that I get half.'" Instead, I made her a deal that she would get (some money) everytime he won. She said, 'That's even better.'"

KVN Corona will be making his first start since November 26, when he scored a nose victory as the 3-5 favorite in a 400-yard Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity (G1) trial, though he did prep for his season debut with a 350-yard work in :18.20 on February 20. The colt drew post 8 and will be ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala in the second of three trials.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the March 31, $235,200 El Primero del Ano Derby final.

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