Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches, LP.’s He Is The Risingstar is the king of the 550 yard division at Los Alamitos right now following his second consecutive stakes victory at that distance on Sunday night.
Ridden by Jose Amador Alvarez and saddled by Paul Jones, He Is The Risingstar won the $20,000 Barbra B Handicap over a strong field that included Champion of Champions finalist Well And Good, the red-hot Front And Center and five other standouts. The race turned out to be a great duel between He is The Risingstar and Well And Good, as the two broke ahead of the field and pulled away in unison from the rest. While He Is The Risingstar had the lead the entire way, the gelding by Mr Jess Perry still needed a strong finish to hold off the charge by the classy Well And Good. In the end, He Is The Risingstar posted a neck victory while covering the 550 yards in :27.105. The Texas-bred 4-year-old had won his previous race, the 550-yard Paul Ford Handicap, also by a neck in a time of :27.34.
“His heart is just going to get bigger with each win,” Jones said. “He’s doing great right now and with the way he’s covering 550 he should love the quarter mile distance. We’ll point him to the Bank of America California Challenge Championship and maybe we can get him in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.”
Both races are contested at 440 yards.
“He’s going to stay at Los Alamitos the entire year,” Jones added. “That’s the plan.”
Amador Alvarez flew in to Los Alamitos from the Fulton Quien Sabe Stonewall Ranch in Stonewall, Texas. The 38-year-old jockey has worked at the ranch since around 1999 and has piloted a lot of horses for the ranch over the past 15 years.
“The Fulton family and everyone at the ranch have been great to me,” he said. “I help break this horses when they’re young and I ride them because I know them so well. (He Is The Risingstar) didn’t run when he was younger because he was so big. He was a pretty big horse when he was a baby. Now that he’s an older horse, he’s still big, but he’s matured and he’s loving to run. He’s a lot of fun to ride.”
He is also $11,000 richer after winning the Barbra B. His career earnings now stand at $79,807. He was picking up his fifth win in 13 starts. Last year, He Is The Risingstar qualified to the Los Alamitos Super Derby while under the care of Mike Robbins. The trainer had to go back to work in the Southwest, leaving the likes of Tallulah Moon, who ran in the January 3 Charger Bar Handicap, and He Is The Risingstar under Jones’ care.
Ed Allred’s Well And Good earned $4,500 for finishing second. The 5-year-old Separatist gelding was also looking for his second victory at 550 yards after winning last year’s Scott Lewis Handicap. Always a gamer, the Scott Willoughby-trained runner has finished in the money six times in stakes races dating back to March of 2015. He was second in last year’s Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and third in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial. Well And Good finished eighth while facing a great field in the prestigious Grade 1 $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 12.
Adriana Aceves’ The Midnite Caller finished third as the longest shot on the board at 54-1 odds. The runner-up in the John Ward Handicap on October 23, The Midnite Caller earned $2,500 for his effort. Uncle Rudy, Front And Center, Oh Daddy Oh, Follow The Dream, and Blistering Speed completed the field.
The Los Alamitos Publicity office was notified over the weekend that Richard “Dick” Valles, a racing secretary in the 1980s for the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association, which ran Quarter Horse meets at Los Alamitos Race Course and Bay Meadows, passed away in 2015.
“Dick was my assistant in the racing office here at Los Alamitos, but he was also the identifier, clerk of scale, and eventually the racing secretary,” said Ron Hartley. “He was here at Los Alamitos for a long time.”