Twenty years after joining forces to win their first Southern California Derby, Dutch Masters III and Jaime Gomez won it again thanks to the outstanding sophomore Forget It on closing night of the 2015 meeting on Sunday at Los Alamitos. Live racing will resume at the Orange County oval with the first program of the new season on the night after Christmas on Saturday, December 26.
Dutch Masters III and Gomez won the 1995 running of the Southern California Derby with Coast Express, which on that night was ridden by G.R. Carter. The long wait for a second win in this derby came to an end on Sunday thanks to Forget It’s convincing ¾ length victory over fastest qualifier Sass Me Blue. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, the gelding by Foose won the Grade 1, $134,150 Southern California Derby in a 400-yard time of :19.924. It was his seventh win in 10 starts this season and his third derby victory of the year. Moonist, the runner-up in last week’s Champion of Champions, is the only horse with four derby wins in a single year at Los Alamitos. Forget It joins champions Separatist and Ah Sigh as the only other horses with wins in three of the nine derbies currently held at Los Alamitos.
While Forget It’s overall record is outstanding, the sorrel gelding came into the Southern California after posting two disappointing efforts. He finished third in trial to this race and nearly missed qualifying, and before that he ran third, a daylight margin, behind Heza Dasha Fire in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby. Forget It had won six races in a row prior to the Super Derby final. His winning streak included wins in the El Primero Del Ano Derby, Governor’s Cup Derby and in his trial to the PCQHRA Breeders Derby. He would have been the heavy favorite to win the Breeders Derby, but his connection opted to skip the final on October 2nd in order to run in a Super Derby trial on October 11.
“We supplemented him for $30,000 to the Super Derby and we needed to finish in the top five in order to get that money back,” Streelman said. “I thought he could have run second in the Super Derby final, but he ran a good third. In his two starts after the Super Derby, he just didn’t have that extra kick like he did tonight. If this derby would have been at 440 yards he would have probably won by two lengths.”
It was certainly a vintage performance for Forget It. He broke right with the leaders and then he powered his way to clear cut victory.
“He broke and he was gone,” Nicasio said. “We went to the track on Tuesday and I told Jaime that the horse felt ready. He was just moving so easy and felt great. I knew we had a good chance. This win is for my friend and fellow jockey Carlos Huerta.”
Nicasio picked up the mount in place of Huerta, who is recovering from a three broken vertebra suffered in a spill on December 11. Huerta is doing a lot better and was on hand visiting the jockey’s room earlier this week. Huerta is wearing a back brace during this period of his recovery.
Forget it will now take some time off according to his connections.
“He’s paid into the Vessels Maturity trials (June 12),” Streelman said. “We have people that are interested in purchasing privately and we’ll think about it. We have a nice group of soon to be 2-year-olds that we are excited about so we things to look forward to in 2016. We’ll take it one horse at a time.”
As for Gomez, the trainer picked up his fifth derby win of the year. In addition to Forget It’s three wins, Gomez also saddled Bac In Front to victories in the La Primera Del Ano Derby and the aforementioned PCQHRA Breeders Derby. Gomez enjoyed a nice year that also included Docs Best Card’s four runner-up efforts in major futurities this season and stakes wins by older horses Rock You and The Streakin Clean.
Forget It earned $56,343 for this win to take his career earnings to $525,124. He also improved to 10 wins in 16 career starts.
Lucky Seven Ranch’s Sass Me Blue earned $22,806 for her runner-up effort in this race. The Valiant Hero filly was second to Heza Dasha Fire in the Los Alamitos Super Derby and also third to that rival in the Golden State Derby. Trained by Mike Casselman and ridden by Cody Jensen, Sass Me Blue has now earned $197,958 in her career.
Casselman also saddled third place finisher Walk The Catwalk for owner Dr. Steve Burns. The Walk Thru Fire colt earned $16,098 for the effort. His bankroll is now at $61,027. Fiery Kimbo, The Perfect Love, Walk Around Blues, Weownthenite, Old Six Six, Jess Cuz, and Bac In Front completed the field.