LARC NEWS Posted: 10/19/2014 3:15:46 AM

news <a href="https://twitter.com/losalracing" class="twitter-follow-button" data-show-count="false" data-size="large">Follow @losalracing</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');</script> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;It’s a sure thing that James Sills and Abelardo Flores’ A Toss Up will rise in the national Quarter Horse racing poll next week following his impressive win against a field that included 2013 World Champion Last To Fire and current top ranked sprinter Bon Accord in the Grade 1 $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on Saturday night. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Eddie Willis, A Toss Up was always in command of the Los Alamitos Invitational after breaking sharply from post number seven. The gelding by Sweet First Down kept to his task from there, as he crossed the finish line three-quarter lengths ahead of Last To Fire to post the fifth stakes win of his 24-race career. A Toss Up, winner of the <span style="mso-bidi-font-weight: bold">Remington Park Oklahoma Bred Derby, Eastex Handicap and Sooner State Stakes in 2012 and the Black Gold Futurity in 2011, earned $75,000 for his victory on Saturday while booking a berth to the prestigious $600,000 Champion of Champions. <o:p></o:p></span></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><font color="#000000">In the Champion of Champions, A Toss Up will face Bon Accord once again, as well as Los Alamitos Invitational sixth place finisher Nellie Delaney. Stimulus, who booked his berth to the Champion of Champions about 15 minutes earlier on Saturday after winning the Bank of America Challenge Championship, DM Streakin Thru Fire, &nbsp;Significant Heart, Far Niente, and Too Flash For You have also qualified to the Champion of Champions. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><font color="#000000">“They’re in trouble,” said Willis with a smile referring to A Toss Up’s rivals in the Champion of Champions. “If he runs in the Champion of Champions like he did tonight, he’ll be very tough on December 13. With a talented horse like this one, I just have leave him alone. We’ve never operated on him, I’ve never even had to x-ray him. We did give him some time off after the All American Gold Cup last year because he had bad feet. We let his feet heal and now here he is.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><font color="#000000">A Toss Up is one of the Willis’ favorite. After all, A Toss Up grew up at Willis’ farm in Caney, Oklahoma. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><font color="#000000">“This horse has never been off my place other than the racetrack,” Willis said. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><font color="#000000">“I needed a Los Al race to get him in the Invitational so we went in an allowance race (on September 26). He won the race and that help earn him a berth to this race. He’s been a good horse. He qualified to the All American Derby<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </span>in 2012, but he had abscess in his chest and we had to scratch him. He had dead-heated for first with (champion) Hez Our Secret in the All American Derby trials. It was tough that we couldn’t run him back in the All American Derby final.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><font color="#000000"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; mso-bidi-font-weight: bold'><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</span>A Toss Up’s sire, Sweet First Down, and his mother, Shake Cartel, were campaigned by Flores and Sills. They also own Shake Cartel’s mother, </span><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'>Shake N Quack. <o:p></o:p></span></font></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“I called them one day and told them that I had just bought them a mare,” Willis said. “That was Shake N Quack, while Sweet First Down was the first horse that we bought for $100,000. Sweet First Down is a full brother to Dashin Bye, who was a really good racehorse and a very nice stallion.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Flores and his wife, Olivia, traveled from their home in Texas to root on A Toss Up at Los Alamitos. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“I’m glad that we came,” said Abelardo Flores, a contractor in San Antonio. “This is a dream for me. Eddie has been training for me for 20 years. He also trained for James Sills of Cedar Hills, Texas. We met through Eddie Willis trained horses for the two of us. My dad owned horses back in Mexico so this is in my blood.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">A horse’s heart is often credited following an important victory. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">In the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, it was Abelardo Flores’ heart that became a topic of conversation. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“I’ve had three heart attacks already,” said the 57-year-old horse owner. “I’ve had open heart surgery. I have four stents right now. I have so many that I have some for sale. My dad passed away from a heart attack when he was 49. I have four brothers and we’ve all had open heart surgery. It just runs in the family. I don’t think about it. I believe that if you worry about being sick that you just make it worse. When God is ready, he’ll take me. That’s what I believe.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Abelardo’s wife believes that owning horses is the best thing for Abelardo’s health. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“The horses take his stress away,” Olivia said. “He’s happy when he’s with his horses.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“I work hard every day and even though I’ve had three heart attacks, I’m still going strong like nothing has happened,” he said. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Next for the couple is to start planning for a return trip to Los Alamitos for the Champion of Champions. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">“This was the first time I had been to Los Alamitos since I came to see (champion) Kool Kue Baby,” Flores added. “She was owned by a good friend of mine and we came to watch her run at Los Alamitos.” <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Last To Fire, the winner of the 2013 Champion of Champions, earned $25,500 for finishing second. Owned by Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas, the son of Walk Thru Fire has now earned $1,136,744. He’s hit the board in 17 of 23 career starts. Last To Fire had previously finished second to Bon Accord in the Go Man Go Handicap. Last To Fire’s last opportunity to qualify to the Champion of Champions will be the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on Sunday, November 16. Ramon Sanchez rode Last To Fire for Paul Jones. <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">Owned by J. Garvan Kelly, Nancy Yearsley and Vinewood Farms, Bon Accord earned $15,000 for running third. The Shazoom gelding broke slow, but finished strong to earn third place. Juan Aleman saddled the winner of the Remington Park Invitational Championship. Cesar De Alba was aboard. Once Over, Dynasty Red, Nellie Delaney, Seperate Interest, Jess Being Valiant, Forrest Fire and One Valiant Hero completed the field. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span> <o:p></o:p></font></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt"><span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: "arial","sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt'><font color="#000000">-30- <o:p></o:p></font></span></p>


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