Ed Allred, the all-time leading Quarter Horse owner and breeder, finished the year on high notes, as a pair of his homebred runners provided him with Grade 1 victories in back-to-back Sunday nights at Los Alamitos.
Allred won the meet’s richest race, the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, with He Looks Hot on Sunday, December 14. Fast forward to this Sunday night and Allred was once again picking up a major victory thanks to the talented filly Quirky in the Grade 1, $145,850 Southern California Derby on the meet’s closing night, Sunday, December 21.
Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer James Glenn Jr., Quirky dominated the running of the Southern California Derby, as the daughter of Stel Corona led from start to finish before crossing the wire by 1 ¼ lengths over Hector A. Hernandez’s Tres Pescado. Quirky left the gate from post number 10, but she was closer to the inside rail by the time she had crossed the finish line.
“She lugged in hard and I thought that she might disturb someone, but even though she did lug in she didn’t bother any of her rivals,” Glenn said.
A few seconds after Glenn made that remark, the Los Alamitos Stewards posted the objection sign against Quirky at the behest of jockey Cody Jensen, who rode the third place finisher Dynasty of Habits from post number eight. After reviewing the race, the stewards decided that there would be no change in the order of finish.
“I didn’t bother anyone,” Huerta said. “I was well ahead of the other horses in the race. She took off like a bullet and I just let her get comfortable and allowed her to find her stride. She started going inside so I grabbed the reins with my right hand and tried to get her to go straight. She went inside, but I didn’t bother anyone.”
Huerta has enjoyed the best year of his career. He finished third in the Quarter Horse jockey standings with 80 victories and second in earnings with $1,832,167. He piloted the Scott Willoughby-trained He Looks Hot to victory in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Huerta also rode Abigail Kawananakoa’s Native Tea Rose to victory in the Charger Bar Handicap at the beginning of the year.
“It’s been a phenomenal year,” said Huerta, the 2008 recipient of the Val Tonks Award presented to California’s Up-And-Coming Young Quarter Horse Rider. “Everything went great. Dr. Allred gave me a chance to ride his horses and Scott Willoughby and Jimmy Glenn had confidence in me. I couldn’t have done any of this without my agent, Dennis Christiansen. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had this great opportunity.”
Meanwhile, Quirky could become one of the top older mares in the country in 2015. In her sophomore year, she won the California Breeders Debutante Stakes for sophomore fillies and was second in the La Primera Del Ano Derby. She came into this race after running second to fastest qualifier Another Oatie.
“Dr. Allred has thought about retiring her because she’s such a well-bred mare and she is worth a lot of money as a broodmare,” Glenn added. “She’ll be a great mother one day, but she’s now a Grade 1 winner and this was her best race ever. She had a few issues when she was younger, but she’s gotten over those. I think that having the outside post is what made her lug in. I don’t think she would have done that if she had been in post number nine. She usually breaks slow and runs down horses, but tonight she broke in front and was all by herself right away.”
Glenn came into the Southern California feeling good about Quirky’s chances to win.
“This is the best she’s ever been, period. I really felt confident going into the race,” he said. “This has not been my best year. I’ve qualified a few to some stakes race, but this is not the year that I wanted. It’s nice to end it with a Grade 1 victory. Quirky’s groom, Hector Aldana, has done a great job with this filly. He camps underneath her and does a great job taking care of her. She’s a finicky filly. She has trouble keeping weight, but we trick her into eating more. We only give her a little bit of grain at first and that gets her eating going. We baby her a lot, but she’s a talented runner.”
Now a winner of three of 10 starts, Quirky earned $61,257 for winning the Southern California Derby. She’s earned $185,643 in her career.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez and trained by Jose Flores, Tres Pescado was ninth at the start, but quickly recovered to run second throughout. The Tres Seis gelding ran nicely in his stakes debut, collecting $24,794 for being the runner-up. He has hit the board in eight of 11 career starts.
Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Dynasty of Habits was making her fifth derby appearance of the year. She earned $17,502 for running third for trainer Cody Joiner. She had previously run third in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby. Jiffy James, All Guns Firing, Another Oatie, Caracortada, Zigfield Follies, La Dejona, and William Teller completed the field.