Ed Allred’s Quirky won her second graded stakes race at Los Alamitos in 14 days after outdueling recent stakes winner The Streakin Clean and multiple graded stakes winner Significant Heart in the Grade 2, $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer James Glenn Jr., the 4-year-old homebred mare by Stel Corona came into the Charger Bar after winning the Grade 1 Southern California Derby on Sunday, December 21. Her quick turn-around on the track only came about after her big victory in the final derby of the 2014 season at Los Alamitos.
“Dr. Allred called me after the Southern California and said that if I wanted to run her in the Charger Bar in two weeks to go ahead and do it,” the trainer said. “There was no pressure at all to run her. We pulled her out of her stall a week after the Southern California Derby and the vet and I took a look at her and she looked good. We jogged her in the morning and she did great. We both looked at each other and said, ‘okay, let’s do it.’ She’s very finicky about her feed, but she was licking the bottom of her bucket. She looked so sharp in the days coming into this race. It’s a day by day thing with her because she’s such a finicky filly. You’ve got to baby her a lot.”
Taking care of her quirks is the job of one of the barn’s long-time grooms, Hector Aldana.
“He eats, sleeps and drinks with this filly,” Glenn said. “He’s taken care of her since she was a 2-year-old. Hector has been with my barn for eight years now and always does a great job.”
Quirky is doing rather well herself. She won the Southern California by daylight despite lugging in sharply after breaking from the outside post 10, and in the Charger Bar she ran as straight as an arrow on the way to a half-length victory over Leonardo and Javier Olmos’ Hawkish Handicap winner The Streakin Clean in a time of :19.738.
“She was out there by herself in the Southern California and she just wanted to get closer to the other horses,” Glenn Jr. said. “Carlos tried to be very quiet in the first 100 to 200 yards of (the Charger Bar) before getting after her until late in the race. This filly has always had the ability.”
Quirky injured her shin during her juvenile season in 2013.
“She cracked her shin as a 2-year-old,” Glenn Jr. explained. “It was actually a minor injury.”
The crack sidelined her for the remainder of her 2-year-old campaign right after she had finished in fifth place in the Ed Burke Million Futurity. The filly came back last February to post a couple of in the money finished, highlighted by a runner-up effort in the El Primero Del Ano Derby. Her first stakes victory came in the Debutante Stakes on California Breeders Champions Night on July 26 and three races later she was a Grade 1 winner thanks to her performance in the Southern California.
“With her, it’s mostly the mental things,” the trainer continued. “It’s about getting her to eat and getting her to carry her weight. She would act up in the paddock or throw a fit in the gate. Physically she’s always been pretty good. She’s 100 percent right now.”
Allred thought about retiring the well-bred filly prior to the Southern California Derby. A Grade 1 and a Grade 2 win later and a run at a championship campaign could be part of a new plan.
“We may have to make some adjustments to the schedule,” Glenn Jr. added with a smile. “All of the sudden she’s gotten pretty good. It was Dr. Allred’s idea to run her in the Charger Bar and it turned out to be a very good idea.”
Quirky earned $50,000 for the win to take her career earnings to $235,643. She also improved her record to four wins in 11 starts. She’s finished in the money in nine of those outings.
Ridden by Oscar Peinado for trainer Jaime Gomez, The Streakin Clean earned $17,000 for her runner-up effort in this event. Bred by H & E Ranch, the Arizona-bred 6-year-old mare has now finished third or better in three straight stakes races at Los Alamitos. She was third in the Las Damas Handicap and first in the Hawkish Handicap at 100 yards in her previous two starts. This was her ninth win in 22 starts and her earnings now stand at $64,047.
Abigail Kawananakoa’s Significant Heart finished in third place for jockey Cesar De Alba and trainer Paul Jones. The winner of last year’s Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap earned $10,000 for the effort to take her career bankroll to $250,267. Secretly Hot, Sweet TR, Check N Fetch, RF One Famous Okey, Katrina SA, and Bolt Lightly completed the field. Splendiferous Diva was scratched.