Owners and breeders J. Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley had never had a horse in the Champion of Champions until this year. They now have two after Bon Accord joined stablemate Nellie Delaney as the first two Quarter Horses to earn berths to the prestigious 440-yard classic at Los Alamitos. Owned in partnership with Vinewood Farms, Bon Accord earned his berth following a victory in the Remington Park Championship on Saturday night at the Oklahoma City racetrack.
Kelly and Yearsley saw the talented Nellie Delaney beat the opposite sex in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship to earn her berth to the Champions of Champions. Bon Accord gave the owners a powerful one-two punch in the race. An equipment adjustment seemed to help Bon Accord in the Championship, allowing him a better start than he experienced in two prior stakes races this season.
“He’s maturing, we went back to a nose-rig and he broke super,” Kelly noted. “We now have him going to the Champion of Champions and I think that makes it all worthwhile.”
The berth to the Champion of Champions was the reason the connections and trainer Juan Aleman had this race on their calendar.
“We were pointing for this race the whole year. This is the one we wanted and we got it done,” Aleman said. “We did a little change with his equipment and it worked out for the best tonight.”
Bon Accord started well but still had work to do in the 440-yard Championship as the ultra-versatile Llano Cartel was away best and flying early. Llano Cartel had previously won the 400-yard Leo Stakes in March, followed by a specialty win in a 110-yard allowance race in April. Llano Cartel and Bon Accord barreled toward the finish in close proximity throughout with the latter getting up to win by a nose when it counted in :21.100 seconds under jockey Raul Valenzuela., who earlier this year piloted the Aleman-trained Nellie Delaney in her Winter Championship victory.
Bon Accord was overlooked at 15-1 odds in the betting and paid $33.40 to win, $12.20 to place and $7.80 to show. Bon Accord is owned by the Culver City, Calif. partnership of Kelly, Yearsley and Vinewood Farms. He won for the fifth time in a dozen starts and for the second time at Remington Park. The winner’s share of the Championship, $155,076, moves his career earnings to $741,870.