The first person Idaho-bred Zoomin For Spuds saw on the day that he was born was the smiling face of owner and breeder Jim Walker.
“I pulled him out of his mother,” said the 83-year-old resident of Bellevue, Idaho. “First person he saw in this world was me grinning.”
The 2-year-old Idaho-bred entered the winner’s circle following a neck victory in the $126,150 Wild West Futurity and his elated owner was there, smiling again, while welcoming him back Sunday at Los Alamitos.
“I knew he was going to win,” Walker said. “I never doubted it and I never wanted to think anything different. There’s no other way to think.”
Winning did not always come easy for Zoomin For Spuds. The gelding by Zoomin For Bux and out of the broodmare A Perfect Cocktail needed seven starts to break his maiden, but he has now won two races in a row.
“It just took him some time to mature,” Walker said. “He’s a well traveled horse.”
After making three starts at Les Bois Park and running three times in New Mexico, Zoomin For Spuds’ record included second and third place finishes in five of his first six starts. The good run of results during that six-race streak included a third place finish in a 440-yard trial to the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.
Following his New Mexico stint, Zoomin For Spuds made his way to California to compete in the trials to the Wild West Futurity for horses from the Intermountain and Northwest regions, plus Nevada and/or Canada. He made an impact in the Golden State right away. He was the fastest qualifier to the Wild West thanks to a wire-to-wire trial victory, and while he didn’t break as sharply in the final as he had done in the trials, Zooming For Spuds still took the early lead. The 2-1 favorite opened up a half-length lead from there, but he had to work hard in the final 100 yards to hold off the late challenge from Hayden Brothers Ranch’s Tickle Ur Fancy. Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer Bret Vickery, Zoomin For Spuds covered the distance in :17.720.
“He had trouble getting his footing at the start,” Vickery said. “Cesar said it took him five to six jumps, but once he got going he was fine. He’s probably due for a break. Jim and I had talked about the Los Alamitos Winter Derby depending on what he showed us in this futurity.”
Zoomin For Spuds earned $52,983 for the win to take his career earnings to $60,217.
“I’ve owned racehorses on and off for about 40 years now,” said Walker, who for years operated a sand and gravel company in Bellevue. “This is as big a purse I’ve won over the years. I won some races at Los Alamitos with a horse named Time For Jesse Lee. Time For Jesse Lee is a phenomenal horse and he’s still running. I feel lucky that at my age I’ve blessed with some good horses. I just hope that God cuts me a little (slack) and I can watch these horses a few more years.”
Ridden by Santiago Mendez for trainer Danny Montes, Tickle Ur Fancy earned $21,445 for her hard-fought runner-up effort. The Oklahoma-bred filly by Dominyun won the Pot O’ Gold Futurity earlier this season and in six starts this year she’s won three races and finished second in two other starts. Tickle Ur Fancy has earned $38,703 in her career.
Mark and Peggy Brown’s Timely Delivery earned $15,138 for running third and was followed across the wire by Dr Stellar, On Fire, Fames Jess Sweet, Bo Dash Back, Fixer Upper, First Prize Chicks, and Fabulous Corona.
On Saturday night, Ron Moosman and Gordon Knudsen’s Otta Be A Prize won the $15,000 Wild West Juvenile by a half-length at 7-1 odds. Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Justin Clark, the gelding by First Prize Stone covered the 350 yards in :17.939 while earning $8,250 for the win. Otta Be A Prize was bred in Utah by Ron and Laurie Moosman.
Co-owner Gordon Knudsen, in partnership with Vessels Stallion Farm, raced the brilliant Dashing Knud in the early part of this century. The AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding in 2000, Dashing Knud won that year’s Ed Burke Memorial Futurity, Golden State Futurity and Los Alamitos Million Futurity. Those races currently make up the Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza, but back in 2000 the Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza consisted of the Kindergarten, Golden State Futurity and Los Alamitos Million Futurity. No horse has ever won the Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza, but Dashing Knud proved that it can be done.