Racing for Colten O’Dell, Wendy O’Dell and Pirate Stables, First Down Tiny Man overcame a slow start to catch Flying Foose in the final yards while posting a nose victory in the $33,750 Adequan California Derby Challenge on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Chris O’Dell, First Down Tiny Man scrapped the side of gate stall as he left the starting gate, but he got going in a big way in the final 100 yards of the 400-yard dash. The Tennessee bred gelding trailed Flying Foose by more than a length early on before turning on his jets on the way to winning his third race in nine career starts. With the win, First Down Tiny Man earns a berth in the Adequan Derby Challenge to be held as part of Bank of America Racing Challenge Night at Lone Star Park on November 7.
“He’s the coolest horse and he’s been so much fun to have,” Chris O’Dell said. “We bought him in Oklahoma for $4,000 and he’s turned out to be such a cool horse to have. I guarantee you that the man that bred and raised him, Cory Kilgore, stayed up to watch this race. He follows this horse’s every move. I hope he has a smile on his face after watching this race by First Down Tiny Man. I love horses by Tinys First Corona. We’ll get the yearling sale catalogs and look for them this year. We’ve had a lot fun and success with them over the years. They’re good horses to own and train.”
Third in last year’s John Deere California Juvenile and second in the Autumn Handicap, First Down Tiny Man has been his own worst enemy at times.
“He can be bad in the gate,” O’Dell said. “Cruz said that he was standing with his legs away from him and he just did not want to stand correctly in there. He was leaning on the gate and was moving his head all over the place and when they opened the gate he scrapped the side of it. He did it to himself and it was no one else’s fault. He causes his own trouble, but then he finds a way to run strong at the end. He was looking at the outside horse (Flying Foose) during this race and then he really got going. He had a clean running path and that helped a lot. He’s a strong finisher and really likes the 400-yard distance.”
First Down Tiny Man earned $16,875 for the win to take his career earnings to $38,530. O’Dell added First Down Tiny Man is eligible to run in the trials to the PCQHRA Breeders Derby to be held here on September 12.
“It’s the only other race he is paid into so we’re going to give it a try.”
Jim Nebeker’s Flying Foose earned $7,256 for running second. The Foose gelding also finished second in the John Deere California Juvenile Challenge last year. Paul Jones saddled Flying Foose, which was ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala. Koolist, Hiko Hellion, Ruby Roja, and Twiggy Hawkins completed the field.