Ryan Hanson saddled a pair of trial winners to the $141,800 Wild West Futurity on Sunday night at Los Alamitos. The trial wins were the beginning of what will be a memorable 24 hours for the trainer. He’ll be back in the barn at around 3 a.m. on Monday morning to see off several horses from his stable that will be traveling to compete in the October 18 Bank of America Challenge Championship Night at Prairie Meadows in Iowa. Hanson will then drive up to the California Coast to San Luis Obispo where at 3 p.m. on Monday he’ll marry racing analyst Michelle Yu, a popular host on HRTV and also the host of the satellite broadcast show during the Thoroughbred meets at Los Alamitos Race Course.
“I’ve been told that I better not be late,” said Hanson with a smile. “I’ll be back in the barn on Tuesday. We both have to get back to work. We’ll enjoy a honeymoon later, but right now we’re both busy with the horses. I have the Challenge horses to prepare.”
Hanson now has a couple of Wild West finalists to fine tune as well after trial winners Steinway Ivory (above) and CR Proud Prince qualified to the October 26 finale. Owned by Rob Evans and Hanson Racing LLC, Steinway Ivory won the opening 350-yard trial by a neck while covering the distance in the fastest qualifying time of :17.779. Ridden by Guillermo Suarez, the victory was the Ivory James gelding’s fourth in eight career starts. Blaine Bateman bred the bay runner out of the major futurity finalist Christie Jo Dash.
“He has ability and is a solid horse,” Hanson said. “He’s been good to us. Rob Evans and I have been friends for a while now and it’s nice to have this horse make the final. This horse has drawn the outside a couple of times and he doesn’t want to run when he’s on the outside. He ran a nice race tonight (from post five). Guillermo has helped us since the Spring. He’s worked hard for us and he tries hard on race nights. “
Hanson had the bookends in the list of finalists to the Wild West, as he also saddled the 10th fastest qualifier of the night in Layne Sprouse’s CR Proud Prince.
“Layne is from Utah and we’ve had horses from his before,” Hanson continued. “We’ve been partners on some Thoroughbreds in the past and he also sent us a few that we’ve had with some success. This horse was previously trained by Chancey Spencer. He sent us a good horse that was ready to run. We didn’t have to do too much. The horse was ready.”
CR Proud Prince won the second trial by a head in a time of :17.938.
Reed Pierson’s Cartels Fire won the third trial by a half-length in a time of :17.835. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Paul Jones, Cartels Fire was picking up his second win in seven starts.
“We bought this horse at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale for $5,500 last year,” Pierson said. “He’s out of a First Down Dash mare and that never hurts a horse. We’ve now made the finals of four futurities with him. He’s been a fun horse to own. You can’t beat this weekend. Los Alamitos is a great place to come for a sale and you have a chance to run your horse.”
Pierson campaigned the standout Sparky E Boy, the runner-up in the 2011 Champion of Champions.
“I have a few yearlings who are brothers of Sparky E Boy,” he said. “We’ll be back with them next year to run them in the Wild West trials.”
Mimi Wells’ Koolist won the fourth and final trial by a neck in a qualifying time of :17.850. The Separatist gelding was ridden by Oscar Peinado and saddled by Paul Jones. It was first win ever in seven career starts.
The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Steinway Ivory (:17.779), Gunnin For Doe (:17.817), Cartels Fire (:17.835), Koolist (:17.850), Five Bar Sassy (:17.876), Azhecansee (:17.909), Juicy Walk (:17.921), Cybil (17.928), As Needed (:17.937), and CR Proud Prince (:17.938).