QUIRKY, BLABBER, CHINA WALL AMONG WINNERS ON CHAMPIONS NIGHT
Ed Allred’s Quirky (left) remained at the top spot of the distaff division at Los Alamitos following an easy 1 ¾ length victory in the $40,000 California Breeders Matron Stakes on Saturday.
Quirky is three for three this season with all of her wins coming in stakes races. Prior to winning the Matron Stakes, Quirky won the Ivan Ashment Handicap and the Grade 2 Charger Bar Handicap. She also won the Grade 1 Southern California Derby to close out the 2014 racing season at Los Alamitos, which means her last four victories have come in stakes races at the Orange County oval.
“It’s pretty good to win four stakes races at Los Alamitos,” trainer James Glenn Jr. said. “I had a horse by the name of In Search Of Famous in the Portland Meadows in the late 1990s and early 2000s and he would together win streaks in stakes races.”
In Search Of Fame won 28 of 48 career starts and won four consecutive stakes races in between Portland Meadows and The Sun Downs from March 2001 to February 2002 and he also won three stakes races (the Oregon Breeders Juvenile in Portland, Far West Futurity at Les Bois Park, and Portland Meadows Derby) from November 1998 to May 1999.
“He was a lot of fun to train, but winning four stakes races at Los Alamitos is a whole different level,” Glenn added. “Quirky was 1-5 so there was some pressure there to keep it going. A couple of mares acted up in the starting gate, but she stayed calm. She used to be the one that would throw fits, but now her mind is right and she just does her job. She finished so strong and she responded quickly when (jockey) Carlos Huerta went to whip left-handed. Her heart is as big as Texas right now. She makes things look easy”
The homebred mare by Stel Corona covered the 400 yards in :19.753 to earn her sixth win in 13 career starts. She earned $22,000 for this win to take her career earnings to $272,098.
“The Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (on September 27) is her next race and that’s the one we need to get to make it in the Champion of Champions,” Glenn added. “The water will get a lot deeper in that Grade 1 race, but I’m looking forward to seeing her in action again.”
Huerta, who enjoyed a good Champions Night with four victories, added that Quirky took control after the first 200 yards.
“She got going right away and halfway through the race she was flying and was all by herself,” Huerta said.
Nancy Scane’s Ima Foose earned $9,000 for finishing second, while Marta Winslow’s Bring Me Home picked up $5,000 for finishing third. Chalalita, Girls Can Fly, and Mrs Pickens completed the field.
Owned Ed Allred, trainer Scott Willoughby and jockey Carlos Huerta joined forces to pick up two wins on the night, first in the $25,000 Debutante Stakes for sophomore fillies and then in the $25,000 Sprint Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.
Winning her third straight race and fourth in five career starts, Blabber posted one of the evening’s most impressive wins after covering the 350 yards in a sizzling time of :17.378. The Kiddy Up filly earned $13,750 for her 1 ½ length win over La Primera Del Ano Derby third place finisher Skinny Jeans.
“She’s a great filly and she just keeps improving,” Willoughby said. ”She showed me in her last two starts that she wants more distance. I believe she’s going to keep improving more and more. We’re really excited about her.”
In the closest race of the night, the Foose gelding China Wall beat former stablemate Yacht Clubber, now owned by David Sanchez, by a nose in a time of :17.541 in the 350-yard Sprint Stakes.
“Carlos Huerta won that race with a great ride,” Willoughby said. “Carlos never panicked when they got behind and he allowed the horse to run his race. He didn’t get too excited when they were trailing and his patience paid off with a win. This horse is a strong finisher and likes distance.”
Now a winner of five of 20 starts, China Wall earned $13,750 for the win. Trained by Jose Moreno and ridden by Guillermo Suarez, Yacht Clubber earned $5,625 for running second. Bred by Allred, Yacht Clubber was claimed for $30,000 last year. He’s won a pair of races and finished in the top four in all five of his starts for his new connections.
De Moss, New Look, Stel Heights and Energized completed the field.
Making his first start since being claimed for $16,000, Jose Eleazar Gallardo’s Closing Time provided quick payback for his new connections by winning the $25,000 Jens L. List Memorial Stakes for sophomores. Saddled by Valentin Zamudio and ridden by Carlos Marquez, Closing Time earned $13,750 for his third win in 10 career starts.
“We decided to run him without blinkers and he seemed to like it,” Zamudio said. “He surprised us with the way he ran. A Goddess Thru Fire appeared to be the horse we had to beat. Carlos Marquez has been working with this horse a lot and he rode a great race. Everything worked out for us.”
Sent off at odds of 13-1, the Ed Allred-bred TR Dasher gelding was the biggest longshot winner of the night.
Steve Burns’ Walk The Catwalk ran second and was followed across the wire by Last Icy Morn, Captain Planet, El Rey Coronas, A Goddess Thru Fire, Walk The Dog, and Hot Shot.
California Champions Night also featured a pair of freshman stakes each offering a $25,000 purse. Allred’s filly Misleader outdueld Kindergarten Futurity finalist Marko Czech to win the filly division at 7-1 odds, while Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Dynasty Energy kicked off the evening by posting a 1 ½ length victory in the open freshman stakes race. Both events were contested at 350 yards.
“Misleader is a gutsy filly and she tries hard every time,” trainer Connie Hall said. “She can be a little hot and at times she acts like she’s afraid of everything. She just gets excited, but she ran a great race tonight and (jockey) Juan Andrade helped her with a great ride. Once she gets going she doesn’t stop.”
Misleader, who covered the distance in :17.756, came into the Freshman Stakes for fillies with a win in three career starts. She was fourth to Governor’s Cup Futurity winner Phoebes Dynasty in the trials to the Governor’s Cup. She earned $13,750.
Dynasty Energy, the runner-up to Little Talks in their Governor’s Cup Futurity trial, dominated the boys to easily win the Freshman Stakes. Ridden by Tony Guymon, who won a pair of races on Champions Night, Dynasty Energy covered the distance in :17.576. He picked up his second win in four career starts. He’s hit the board in all four career starts. Snitching, the 3-1 favorite in this race, fell shortly after the finish line, but fortunately, trainer Mark Skeen reported that the gelding was doing fine back in his barn stall upon his return.
“He walk right out of the trailer, cooled off, and went into his stall,” Skeen said. “I’m still not sure what happened, but right now he’s doing well.”
There were three claiming stakes also contested on the card. Jerry and Martha Loveland and Laura Southworth’s The Midnite Caller won the $15,000 Senior Claiming Stakes for horses eligible to be claimed for $5,000. Tony Guymon piloted the A Regal Choice gelding for trainer John Cooper. Jose Aceves Rodriguez’s Cypriat won the $15,000 Sophomore Claiming Stakes for $5,000 claimers, while San Gregorio Racing Stables’ Walk Thru Snow won the $17,500 Sophomore Claiming Stakes for $10,000 claimers. Danny Montes saddled Walk Thru Snow, who was ridden by Santiago Mendez, while Valentin Zamudio saddled Cypriat. Cesar De Alba piloted the TR Dasher gelding.