Owner Abigail Kawananakoa moved into a tie for first place in Quarter Horse stakes wins nationwide following Significant Heart’s impressive half-length victory in the Grade 3 $25,000 Las Damas Handicap for fillies and mares on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Kawananakoa has now won seven stakes races this year, a figure that ties with Ed Allred at the top of the Quarter Horse standings. Kawananakoa has won 24 races from 107 starters. She’s now tied with owner Wade Helton for fifth place nationally in the win department. Significant Heart has been a significant part of her owner’s success in 2014. Prior to winning the Grade 3 Las Damas, the 4-year-old daughter of Corona Cartel won the Grade 1 $150,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap. She won the Miss Princess Handicap earlier this campaign. As a 3-year-old, Significant Heart won the PCQHRA Breeders Derby and the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial.
“I love this mare,” said her trainer, Paul Jones. “”If I could pick one horse to own out of all the horses that I train, she would be my pick. She’s a neat mare and she gives it her all every single time.”
Ridden by red-hot pilot Cesar De Alba, Significant Heart earned $13,750 for the win to take her career earnings to $240,267. She also improved to eight wins from 19 stars.
“She’s pretty tough when she’s facing just fillies and mares. We’ll probably take a look at the Christmas Invitational (an open event scheduled on December 13) for her next start,” Jones added. “If not then we’ll just wait for the Charger Bar Handicap at the start of next year.”
Significant Heart’s victory was also an important one in the standings for Jones and De Alba. Jones, who is the perennial leading trainer in the sport, has now seen his starters win over $2.8 million this season. He’s currently second in the nation in money earned. This was also Jones’ 12th stakes win of the year, a number that ties him with Wesley Giles for first place in the national standings. His 157 wins are first in the nation.
De Alba is enjoying the best season of his career. He’s now a winner of 14 stakes races in 2014, a figure that makes him the nation’s leader in that category. His 112 Quarter Horse victories place in the top four in the national standings. De Alba is currently in a battle for the title of meet’s leading Quarter Horse rider. De Alba finished the night only five wins behind Cruz Mendez in the local leaderboard. Manuel Lorenzana’s Secretly Hot earned $5,625 for running second place, a half-length behind Significant Heart. Javier and Leonardo Olmos’ The Streakin Clean earned $3,125 for finishing third. Sweet TR, Bolt Lightly, SS Calendar Girl, champion Check N Fetch, Fiesty Flo, Nefertity, and Sadie Sis completed the field.