Ronald Skeen and Fawna Knight’s Front And Center does not want this meet to end. After all, the 4-year-old gelding by Walk Thru Fire has won his last four starts, culminating in a come-from-behind neck victory over South American champion Jake Gold BR in the $35,000 First Down Dash Handicap Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Trained by Mark Skeen, Front And Center began his winning streak on September 25. He won an allowance race by ¾ lengths on that night and he’s not let up since then. His next victory was a ½ length allowance decision on October 10 followed by 1 ¼ length romp – again against allowance foes – on November 27.
In the First Down Dash, Front And Center left the gate from post number seven a step behind Jake Gold BR. Jockey Tony Guymon helped Front And Center find his best stride at the midway point of the race and the gelding surged from there to keep his streak alive. It was also his sixth victory in 24 career starts. He earned $19,250 for the win to take his career earnings to $73,694.
“That was a fun race,” assistant trainer Holly Skeen said. “He’s such a nice horse. He’s a gentle horse, a good eater, and a lot of fun to be around. The biggest thing is that as he’s matured he’s improved in the starting gate. He’s learned to relax and that’s helped him a lot.”
Front And Center’s comments in his past performance lines have included a “broke thru gate”, four “fractious”, and an “unruly gate”. He was fractious prior to winning for the first time during this streak, but he’s improved his behavior in the gate since then. The results have been a lot more visits to the winner’s circle.
“We’ll keep finding spots for him to compete,” Skeen said. “We’re looking forward to his races next year.”
Front And Center covered the 400 yards in :19.914.
Clodoaldo De Oliveria Miranda’s Jake Gold BR earned $7,875 for running second. The winner of the Christmas Invitational last year, Jake Gold BR came into this race after finishing third in the Bank of America Challenge Championship at Lone Star Park on November 7. Paul Jones saddled the son of Gold Medal Jess. He was ridden by Cesar De Alba.
Remarkableyesapoweer finished third, while Wilmas Alright Now and Margaritas N Coronas dead-heated for fourth place. Joe Legacy, Mrs Pickens and The Midnite Caller completed the field.