LARC NEWS Posted: 9/21/2014 1:13:10 AM

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       Bon Accord is peaking at the right time according to both J. Garvan Kelly and George Lucas of Vinewood Farms, who along with Nancy Yearsley own the now two-time Grade 1 winner. The gelding by Shazoom showed that he is at top of his game, as he finished powerfully from post number nine to hold off World Champion Last To Fire by a half-length in the Grade 1 $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap Saturday at Los Alamitos.

“The first time that Bon Accord has ever been 100 percent right is tonight,” Lucas said. “He has his weight on him and he’s doing great. We can now space out his next two races and we are excited to see how he’ll do, especially at a quarter of a mile. There’s no question in my mind right now that he’s the best horse in the country.”

“There’s not a pimple on him,” Kelly added. “He’s very sound. I thought that we could win this race if he got away decent. Those were some good horses that he faced, but he’s a good one too. He had a great workout before this race after we gave him some time off. We’ll go to the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (October 18) next and then the Champion of Champions  (December 13).”

Bon Accord is starting to build an impressive portfolio in 2014. Trained by Juan Aleman, Bon Accord began the year with back-to-back fourth place finishes in stakes races Remington Park before he put it all together to win the Grade 1 $250,000 Remington Park Championship. That victory earned Bon Accord a berth to the aforementioned $750,000 Champion of Champions. Ridden by Cesar De Alba, Bon Accord returned to win the Go Man Go in a time of :19.380 – the sixth fastest time ever in the 54-year history of the Go Man Go.       

“He got bumped a little bit,” said De Alba about Bon Accord. “In a matter of seconds he found his stride. Right when he went past number 10 (Last To Fire) I thought that it was over. I knew we were gone right there. I’ve been lucky this year.”

De Alba also currently rides three-time derby winner Moonist.

Bon Accord earned $50,000 for the win to take his lifetime bankroll to $791,870. He’s won six of 13 career starts.

“We took this horse to sell as a yearling and had a $50,000 reserve at the sale. We ended up buying him back for $30,000. George had interest in the horse, we talked about being partner, and he went for it.”

“Juan Aleman had looked at him at the ranch and I was acquainted with his family because I had one of his siblings,” George continued. “I knew what kind of horses came from his family so I was excited to purchase the horse. This horse has an overdrive; he has a passing gear.

“Last year he came within a tick of the 440-yard track record at Ruidoso Downs when he won his trial to the All American Derby. He came back and ran second in the final, but I think that because he ran so hard in the trials, that maybe it hurt him in the final. This year has been a thrill. I’ve never had a horse in the Champion of Champions and this is the first time that I can ever remember being in the Go Man Go Handicap. It’s great to win it.”

With Bon Accord’s next two races clearly defined, Kelly and Yearsley will now turn their attention to the September 28 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap where they will campaign the Grade 1 winner Nellie Delaney, who has also already earned a berth to the Champion of Champions.

“If she breaks right, I think Nellie Delaney is the only one that can run with Bon Accord at 400 yards. She’ll be tough with Bon Accord at 440 yards, but I think it would be tough to beat him,” Kelly concluded.

Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire earned $17,000 for his runner-up effort from post number 10. The son of Walk Thru Fire won the Go Man Go Handicap last season and also the Vessels Maturity and Champion of Champions on the way to earning the title of AQHA World Champion. Last To Fire has finished second twice this year and was eighth in the Vessels Maturity.

“I thought he ran a good race,” said trainer Paul Jones, who was saddling the gelding for the first time. “I thought that he got out a little bit and that cost him some grounds. When he leveled off he made a big run. At 440 yards he would have been right there. I’m happy with his improvement. The Los Alamitos Invitational Championship will be next.”

Eduardo Nicasio piloted Last To Fire, who has now earned $1,111,244 in 22 career starts. He has finished in the money 16 times.

Jones also saddled Mimi Wells’ New Look, who earned $10,000 for running third. New Look came into this race after winning the Bank of America California Challenge Championship. Vessels Maturity winner Far Niente earned $7,000 for running fourth. Jess Being Valiant, Once Over, Jess Featureme Quick, Separate Interest, Feature Hero, and Snowboundbeast completed the field.

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