LARC NEWS Posted: 5/15/2016 2:23:09 AM

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      Making her first start in over five months, Howard Nichols’ Vivid posted a hard-fought nose victory over 2015 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Time For Jess in the Grade 3 $20,000 Miss Princess Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Guillermo Suarez, Vivid had not raced since finishing eighth in the Charger Bar Handicap on January 3. The Walk Thru Fire mare prepared for her return to action with a pair of great looking drills at 220 yards – including a blazing :11.90 gate drill on May 3. Vivid built on that sharp work with a tremendous effort in the Miss Princess, as she dueled for the lead right from the start before taking the lead by a small margin and then holding to win for the fifth time in 15 career starts.

“We took her to be bred, but she missed,” trainer Jose Flores.“We brought her back kind of on a short schedule. We brought her back for the Vessels Maturity trials (on June 12). I was skeptical, but I talk to Howard and his wife and told them that I nominated her to this stakes race. She only had two 220-yard works, but going far for this mare really comes natural to her ever since she was a baby. Now if she can start breaking the way she did she might be pretty good. I was excited because we haven’t had the best of luck this year, but sometimes it takes a good horse to wake up the barn and she just did it.”

“Jose was a little worried about running her (because of the layoff), but my wife said tell him to ‘suck it up and go’. We sucked it up and we won,” added Nichols with a laugh.

Vivid earned $11,000 for the win to take her career earnings to $74,269. Prior to the Charger Bar, the Ed Allred-bred mare won the A Ransom Handicap on December 18 and was second to Bac In Front in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby last year. Her connections will point her to not only the Vessels Maturity trials, but also the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap for distaffers in the fall. The California-bred could also appear on California Breeders Champions Night on Saturday, July 30. Vivid covered the 350 yards in the Miss Princess in :17.644.

Spackman Racing’s Time For Jess was last at the start, but rolled late from post number one to finish second. Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Lin Melton, Time For Jess earned $4,500 for running second to take her career earnings to $117,227.

Apolitical Zoom, winner of the Las Damas Handicap last year and third in the Charger Bar this year, finished third, while Blabber ran fourth. Blabber was hoping to win her third stakes race in as many starts, but it wasn’t to be. Foo Who was scratched after getting fractious in the starting gate.

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