It was a change that trainer Jose Flores felt needed to be named, but owner Kathy Meneely wasn’t sure that it was needed at the time. Her husband, Don Meneely, agreed with Flores in making the change. They just needed Kathy to get on board with the plan. “We went back and forth for a while and when they finally told me to geld him, I didn’t wait,” Flores added. “We did it that morning. We did it three weeks before his maiden win. He had only raced once before and it was a second place finish, but he’s a racehorse now.”
“I told them that we needed to make Ima Fearless Hero a gelding,” Flores said. “The horse had conformation and balance, but his mind wasn’t there. His mind wasn’t on running. I brought the idea of gelding him up to Kathy and she didn’t like it. The horse is a half-brother to champion Heza Dasha Fire so it wasn’t an easy decision.
Racing under the banner of S-Quarter K LLC, Ima Fearless Hero has not looked back. Since being gelded, the son of Valiant Hero has won four of five starts with his most recent victory being a half-length decision over Chalala Jess in the $385,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Ridden by Cruz Mendez from the outside post 10, Ima Fearless Hero covered the distance in :17.626 while earning $157,500 for the win.
“He’s getting better and better each time,” Flores added. “We’ve made equipment changes two to three times and it’s helped the horse do what I want him to do.”
One of the changes was to cut back his left blinker. It was a change that Kathy had suggested.
“He was drifting inside,” she said. “I thought it was because he would get ahead of his rivals and would then start going inside because he couldn’t see them. I thought that by cutting the blinkers a little bit that it would help see them and he wouldn’t go inside as much. I mentioned it to Jose and after he thought it over he called me back to say that he would try it. We have a good relationship in that respect. He listens to me and I appreciate that. We also trust him a lot. You have to trust the people that work with your horses and if you don’t then you should go to someone else.”
The Meneelys now trust that some time off will do Ima Fearless Hero wonders as he prepares for the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in mid-November. As it stands right now, the plan calls for the Washington-homebred to skip the Golden State Million trials to be held in two weeks to concentrate in the trials to the Two Million.
“Right now we are 99.99% sure we’re skipping the Golden State Million trials,” she added. “It’s tough to pass up a chance for a million dollar purse, but we think this will give him the best chance in the trials to the Two Million.”
“This race will set him up nicely for the Two Million trials,” Don Meneely added. “He’ll have seven weeks to get ready for the Two Million trials. That’s an optimum amount of time. Winning the purse from this race is about the equivalent of running third in the Golden State Million final and now we can start preparing him for the trials to the Two Million. It takes an exceptional horse to be a stallion. You have to be in the two to three percent of your class to be a stud and he wasn’t there. It’s like people say, ‘if you want a racehorse, then the horse should be a gelding.’ “
Ima Fearless Hero’s superstar older brother Heza Dasha Fire is a gelding as well. Heza Dasha Fire won the Ed Burke Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity last year. He won six of seven starts and was named the champion 2-year-old gelding. He’ll be in action in the trials to the Los Alamitos Super Derby on October 11.
Alipio Burgos’ Chalala Jess ran a tremendous race from post number en route to earning $63,750 for her runner-up effort. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Felix Gonzalez, Chalala Jess has finished in the top two in all five of her career starts. Bred by Rancho El Cabresto, Chalala Jess is by AQHA World Champion Apollitical Jess and out the stakes winner Chalala. Muller Racing LLC’s Betsomemoneyhoney flew late to finish in third place. Saddled by Denny Ekins and ridden by Cody Jensen, Betsomemoneyhoney is a half-brother to 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here.
The complete order of finish is as follows; Ima Fearless Hero, Chalala Jess, Betsomemoneyhoney, Bookish, Fire At Will, Our Dicey FFM, Much Better Reason, Romantic Fire, Docs Best Card, and Senor Gianni.