Trainer Jose Hernandez met fellow horseman Greg Torgerson by chance, as the two happened to be at a restaurant located across the street from Los Alamitos Race Course.
“We talked about the horses, but that was three years ago,” the trainer said. “We talked for a while, but that was it. About a year ago I got a call from him and he asked if I remembered him. He said he had some horses to give me and that’s how I started training Joe Legacy.”
Sired by Brookstone Bay and bred by The Running A LLC, Joe Legacy posted his first win of the year on Sunday at Los Alamitos, as the 4-year-old gelding outdueled the quick starting El Rey Coronas by a half-length to win the $15,000 Laguna Beach Handicap at 300 yards.
“(El Rey Coronas) got a nice jump out of the gate and I didn’t think we were going to catch him,” Hernandez said. “Joe Legacy started going halfway through the race and he finished super strong. He had been running nice the entire year, but he had facing some tough, tough horses. Even in his last race he ran a good race, but he was facing some great competition. This was softer competition and it gave him a big chance to shine.”
Joe Legacy ran ninth in his last start, but that was in the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship. His rivals on that night included champion and top ranked Quarter Horse Moonist, the Hernandez-trained Grade 1 winner Far Niente, and Go Man Go Handicap runner-up Seperate Interest just to mention a few top names in the field. The Laguna Beach offered solid competition as well, but Joe Legacy was certainly capable of handling his rivals. This was his sixth win in 26 career starts. He earned $8,250 for the win to take his lifetime earnings to $80,258.
“I’m happy for the horse and happy for Greg Torgerson,” Hernandez added. “He’s from Utah and he’s a great guy. We keep in touch about the horses on a regular basis. It’s nice to get this win for him.”
Hernandez added that Far Niente will not start again until the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions.
“He needed the race (second in the Los Alamitos Championship),” he said. “He was coming off of a three month layoff to run in a 440 yard race. He needed the race and it set him up perfectly for the Champion of Champions (on December 12).”
Racing for Down River Ranch LLC, El Rey Coronas earned $3,375 for running second for trainer Antonio Soto. Samuel Mendez piloted him to sixth in the money finish in 10 career starts. Muller Racing LLC’s Ocean Won Away finished third for trainer Denny Ekins and jockey Carlos Huerta. Balata Joe Now, Tres Magicals, and Old Girl completed the field.