It was 11 months ago that Dr. Steve Burns’ Little Talks outdueled the talented Docs Best Card and Thermonuclear Energy to win the $1,049,000 Golden State Million Futurity at Los Alamitos.
With Cesar De Alba aboard once again for red-hot trainer Mike Casselman, Little Talks won in Autumn once again at Los Alamitos, this time by holding off Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes winner My Favorite Check and once again Docs Best Card to win the $177,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby on Friday night. Little Talks earned $70,140 for her derby win, which pushed her over the half a million dollar mark in earnings. For the record, Little Talks has now made $541,772. She’s also won seven of 12 career starts, but even through all that past success, Casselman knew that her first step out of the gate on Breeders Derby night would be key.
“She’s been anxious in the gate,” said Casselman earlier in the day. “If she’s straight and looks straight down the track then we’ll be okay.”
Little Talks flew out of the gate in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby final and there was no catching her from there. She finished a half-length ahead of My Favorite Check while covering the distance in :19.672.
“When she broke good I thought that we’d be okay. That is the key to her. She can get a little nervous in the gate and if you handle her too much she gets more nervous. The gate crew has done a good job with her. They know her as well as I do and they’ve done a real good job working with her and getting her settled down and loading in the gate. If she break, she’s usually tough on everybody. She always finishes well. She always tries hard.”
Sired by Favorite Cartel and out of the mare Babe On The Fly, Little Talks is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Rock You. She came into the derby final as the fastest qualifier after winning her trial by a half-length in a time of :19.67, the same clocking as her winning time in the final on Friday. Casselman added that a big effort in the trials was an important factor in the final.
“We felt it was really important for her,” he added. “She kind of goofed up in the gate in the final to the (Adequan California Derby Challenge) and got herself left. She left 10th out of 10 and it was too much for her to make up. It was really important for her to stand good and break. We’re learning a little more about her as we go.”
Little Talks is not eligible to run in the Los Alamitos Super Derby, but is paid up to the run in the trials to the Southern California Derby. The Las Damas Handicap is also a possibility added Casselman. In addition, Dr. Burns added that prior to her return to the track in July, Little Talks was bred to Separate Interest and Foose. During the winter, Little Talks also had “a little chip that we took out,” Burns said. “While she was laying up we got a couple of embryos out of her. We’ll run her in the Southern California Derby and maybe in the Adequan California Derby (on October 29) if a slot opens up.”
Favorite Cartel also sired the runner-up, My Favorite Check, for owner Ron Hartley. Bred by the owner, My Favorite Check earned $28,390 for his runner-up effort with Ramon Sanchez up for trainer John Cooper. Jaime Gomez’s Docs Best Card added $20,040 to his bank account by running third. He raised his career total to $757,985. Oscar Peinado piloted the colt by Corona Cartel.
Governor’s Cup Derby winner Unclaimed Dividend was disqualified from sixth place and moved to 10th. Following the top three in this race were Thermonuclear Energy in fourth and then You Can Fly, Royaltys Authority, Uno Corona Mas, Stel Easy, Ima Fearless Hero and Unclaimed Dividend. AQHA champion 2-year-old gelding Ima Fearless Hero won the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year, but he never had a chance to win on Friday after very troubled journey in this race.