CLOSING TIME GETS IT DONE IN SPRINT STAKES
The biggest margin of victory on Champions Night went to Jose Gallardo’s Closing Time (left), as the Ed Allred-bay gelding by TR Dasher and Singles Scene, posted an easy length victory in the $25,000 Sprint Stakes for 3-year-olds and upward.
Ridden by 19-year-old Jairo Rangel, Closing Time led from start to finish on the way to 350-yard winning time of :17.634 for trainer Jose Flores. While Flores is a veteran in winning stakes races at Los Alamitos, the young pilot was enjoying the first stakes victory of his career.
“This my first stakes win, but hopefully there’s more to come,” Rangel said. “At 19, I am one of the youngest jockeys at Los Alamitos. I’m blessed and very thankful. I hope things keep going well for me.”
Closing Time won the Jens List Memorial Handicap last year and now becomes only the eleventh horse to win more than
one stakes race on California Breeders Champions Night. The Sprint Stakes also proved to a return to good form for the 4-year-old bay. He had previously finished out of the money in a pair of stakes races at Turf Paradise before returning to his home state of California. Closing Time earned $13,750 for the win.
WELLS ENJOYS A DOUBLE ON CHAMPIONS NIGHT
It felt like old times at the track on Saturday night for longtime owner and former Quarter Horse trainer Martha Wells. The main reason for her feeling like it was turn-back-the-clock night was the return of Joe Badilla Jr. winning aboard one of her horses, this time the One Sweet Jess gelding Tell Jess in the $17,500 Sophomore Claiming Stakes.
“Joe came and said ‘Bobby Blue Beduino’ because that’s the last horse that he rode for Dwayne,” said Wells referring to her late husband, trainer Dwayne Well. I said to Joe ‘let’s do it for old times’ sake.’ Joe got it done tonight. He rode (multiple distance stakes winner) No Pet Peeves for me. Joe has won a few races for me over the years. This was so exciting.”
Tell Jess covered the 350 yards in :17.896.
Badilla Jr. is one of Los Alamitos’ all-time great riders and one of the dominant forces at this track in the late 1990s and early 2000s. An AQHA champion jockey, Badilla Jr. is now most active riding in the Midwest and Southwest part of the country, but still makes appearances to ride in stakes races and on big nights at Los Alamitos.
Wells would later pick up a second claiming stakes victory when her Separatist gelding Fixer Upper won the seventh at 350 yards in a time of :17.803. This was the Separatist’s gelding third win in 15 starts.