Owned and bred by Celina Molina, Viento Negro flew like the wind to easily win the first stakes race of the new season of racing at Los Alamitos Race Course, the $20,000 Holiday Handicap for 3-year-olds on Sunday night.
Named after a 1964 Mexican drama film (Black Wind), Viento Negro was outstanding in the Holiday, as he took the lead right away in the 350-yard dash before opening up a length advantage at the midway point of the race. With Santiago Mendez aboard, Viento Negro continued his impressive dash while crossing the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of the runner-up One More Card. A brown colt by First Moonflash out of the Corona Cartel mare Coup Of Corona, the Arizona-bred sprinter covered the distance in :17.669. This was Viento Negro’s second start since finishing 10th in the Kindergarten Futurity on May 18. In his comeback start, Viento Negro finished third in a trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on November 23.
“He needed the race,” Molina said. “He had surgery after the Kindergarten and we too wait on him to recover. We also gelded him (after the Kindergarten). He looked great tonight. What a blessing to see him run like this again.”
Viento Negro began his racing career with back-to-back victories for trainer Juan Aleman. He broke his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths in his career debut on April 13 and then finished in a dead-heat for first in his successful trial to the Grade 2 Kindergaten. Sent off at 7-1 odds in the Kindergarten, Viento Negro was bumped repeatedly during the race on the way to finishing out of the money to eventual winner Old Girl. Having to undergo surgery after the Kindergarten was just another challenge for Viento Negro to overcome.
“Ever since he was a baby, he’s needed to be a fighter,” Molina said. “We almost lost him when he was a baby. He had to have surgery to save his life. He’s a fighter and one of the toughest horses I’ve ever seen. My dad had always wanted to name a horse after one of his favorite movies from the 1960s. When he saw this horse he told me, ‘This is the horse that I want to name Viento Negro.’ ”
Viento Negro earned $11,000 for the win to nearly double his career earnings to $22,069. He also improved his record to three wins in five starts. Up next for Viento Negro is a busy derby campaign in 2015. His schedule is expected to include a pair of derby trials in Oklahoma and a trip to Ruidoso Downs highlighted by the All American Derby trials.
“I’m really excited to see him run next year,” Molina said.
He’ll likely return to Los Alamitos later next year she added.
Howard Nichols’ One More Card was fifth at the start, but made a nice late run to beat Old Six Six by a nose for second place. The filly by Carters Cartel earned $4,500 for finishing second. Ronald Skeen and Fawn Knight’s Old Six Six earned $2,500 for finishing third. Wild West Futurity winner Cartels Fire was fourth. First Down Tiny Man, Hrh Walkonfire, No Arizona, and The Perfect Love completed the field.