Ron and Ronnie Keller’s Unchangeable added the flipping halter when starting from post number one and the result was a wire-to-wire victory at 23-1 odds against an impressive field in the $25,000 Cypress Handicap on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Santiago Mendez for trainer Rafael Orozco of the Schvaneveldt Racing Stables, Unchangeable was in control of the 350-yard dash every step of the way while finished a ½ length ahead of Governor’s Cup Derby and Futurity finalist Well And Good. The field that Unchangeable beat also included Grade 2 Charger Bar Handicap runner-up The Streakin Clean, Anaheim Handicap winner Fols Jesse, and 2012 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity runner-up The August Heat.
“When Rafael and I looked at the list of nominations for this race it just looked so tough,” said Brenda Figueroa, the daughter of the legendary Blane Schvaneveldt and now the manager of the Schvaneveldt Racing Stables. “We still felt confident about (Unchangeable’s) chances because we’ve been working with him and we’ve known that he can run.”
The win was Unchangeable’s fourth in 12 career starts, but the effort was arguably his best since running second by a nose in the 2013 Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity. But after a ninth place finish in the A Ransom Handicap on December 20, Orozco and Figueroa decided that it was time for a change for Unchangeable.
“He would wash out and then wouldn’t pay attention in the gate,” she added. “He would get himself beat before the race even started. We’ve also been working a lot with this horse in the gate. He started from post one in the A Ransom, but we still liked drawing post one in this race. We liked either post one or the outside post, it didn’t matter as long as we didn’t have a horse on one side of him. He looked like his old self tonight. It’s exciting to see him run like he did tonight.”
The Stel Corona gelding covered the distance in :17.637, while earning $13,750. He’s lifetime bankroll is now $214,835.
Ed Allred’s Well And Good earned $5,625 for running second. Carlos Huerta piloted the Separatist gelding for trainer Scott Willoughby. Leonardo and Javier Olmos’ The Streakin Clean earned $3,125 for finishing third. Fols Jesse, Foose Is Loose, Deepintheheartotexas, Henoshersecret, and The August Heat completed the field.