LARC NEWS Posted: 11/17/2014 1:29:03 AM

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     Seperate Interest made Lila Kessinger’s California trip a perfect one, as the gray stallion posted a hard fought victory over a strong field in the $35,000 Z. Wayne Griffin Invitational on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Kessinger, who lives in Colorado, makes the journey out West whenever Seperate Interest has a race, but in this race the 4-year-old son of Separatist was the second longest shot on the board at odds of 18-1.

“I thought about staying home, but then I woke in the morning and it was 6 degrees and snowing and I thought that maybe I should go to California. I’m at Los Alamitos for most of his races and the horse has been very good to me for a long time. He ran a great race and I’m happy that I was here to see it.”

Leaving the gate from post number three, Seperate Interest made Kessinger’s trip worthwhile. He led from start to finish while covering the 400 yards in a time of :19.882 on a night in which the temperature was in the mid 60s throughout the evening. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Seperate Interest crossed the wire a neck ahead of both Dynasty Red and Once Over, which ended up dead-heating for second place. The top three finishers had previously met in the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, a race in which Once Over and Dynasty Red ran fourth and fifth, respectively, while Seperate Interest settled for seven place.

In the Z. Wayne Griffin, it was Seperate Interest’s turn to shine, as he never relinquished the advantage despite strong finishes from both Once Over and Dynasty Red.

“Seperate Interest had a clean break tonight and he’s not had that sometimes,” said trainer Mike Casselman. “Eduardo said that the horse responded when he was asked.”

Seperate Interest earned $19,250 while picking up his sixth win in 19 lifetime starts. A career winner of $406,870, the horse bred by Eaves Horses Family Ltd. Partnership won the Kaweah Bar Handicap in May and the Town Policy Handicap last year. He was also second in the Golden State Million Futurity in 2012. He could make his next start in the First Down Dash Handicap on December 20.

Ed Allred’s Once Over and Julio Encinas’ Dynasty Red each earned $6,125 for finishing in a dead-heat for second place. Jess Being Valiant, who also ran in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, was fourth. Matabari, the champion 3-year-old filly last year, was fifth and was followed by The August Heat and Look Of A Dasher.

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