Jim Walker’s Zoomin For Spuds was one of the most decorated Idaho-breds of 2015. The son of Zoomin For Bux won the $126,000 Wild West Futurity at Los Alamitos in late October and would be named Idaho Horse of the Year and the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Intermountain Horse of the Year.
Zoomin For Spuds could be in for another trophy laden year in 2016 if his first couple of starts this year are an indication. His sophomore debut was a bit of a troubled outing in a trial to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, as he drifted out and finished second in his heat to Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Senor Gianni. His return bow was more like it for the homebred runner, as he dominated Friday’s $15,000 Costa Mesa Handicap to easily win by a length in a time of :17.755. Zoomin for Spuds was picking up his third career win while hitting in the top three in 10 of 11 career starts.
“His owner is really pleased with how this horse has performed so far,” said trainer Bret Vickery. “We might give him one more start and after that he might be due for a break before too long.”
When it is time for some rest and relaxation, Zoomin For Spuds could be sent to Vickery’s ranch in St. George, Utah.
“He’s done so well at Los Alamitos that he’ll probably just come right back here,” Vickery added. “We could bring him back and point him to the Bank of America Racing Challenge series. The Challenge finals will be held here later this year so we might just do that with this horse.”
Vickery has been logging a lot of miles on the road over that past 14 months.
“I got back to Los Alamitos this morning from Utah,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of driving back and forth, but I’m fortunate to have a great assistant in Mike Monson here at Los Alamitos. We’re busy at the ranch right now. We have 30 babies that we’re getting ready for this season. Some will be headed here to run in the Kindergarten Futurity and Ed Burke Futurity trials. Some will go to Ruidoso Downs and the ones that do well at Ruidoso will probably come to Los Alamitos later in the year.”
Vickery is already looking forward to the debuts by a couple of those young horses.
“We have a baby by One Dashing Eagle out of AB What A Runner that is looking really good,” he said. “We also have a 3-year-old filly by Apollitical Jess that only raced once last year because she had to have throat surgery. She’s also out of AB What A Runner and I’m really looking forward to seeing her run this year.”
In the meantime, Zoomin For Spuds figures to be the flag bearer for the Vickery barn, at least for one more start before his break. He earned $8,250 for the win to take his career earnings to $72,562. Cesar De Alba piloted the 2-5 favorite in this race.
Double Bar S Ranch’s Coach Carter finished second at 6-1 odds from post one. Trained by Angela Aquino and ridden by Oscar Peinado, Coach Carter was looking for his third win in a row after winning a pair of claiming events. He earned $3,375 for running in second place. Stanley Watkins’ Trixie Sue ran third and was followed across the wire by Boylike, Leave Town, Blowinsmoke, and For Pee Jay.
Friday’s 8-race program was Los Alamitos’ first since taking a week off for maintenance of the track’s lighting system. The card featured a Pick 6 Carryover of $65,738 going in with an additional $150,813 wagered by the fans in the Pick 6 on Friday. The total pool was $216,551, the largest Pick 6 pool at Los Alamitos in more than a year. There were 13 winning tickets with six out of six each worth $11,319.20. Boosted by the Pick 6 pool, the total handle for Friday’s card, which also featured simulcasting from Meadowlands and Woodbine, was $1,516,718. Of that amount, $1,277,382 was wagered on the eight Los Alamitos races. Friday’s early Pick 4 handled $126,711, while the late Pick 4 handled $101,093.
Jockey Ramon Sanchez returned to riding on Friday evening. Sanchez, the AQHA champion jockey in 2002 and 2009, had been sidelined with an injured bicep since being involved in a riding mishap at Ruidoso Downs last summer. Sanchez will ride the rest of the weekend, including aboard Chicks Fayvorite in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Saturday and aboard Jake Gold BR in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday.