It didn’t take Denny Weigt long to decide if he wanted to own the Maknmoves gelding Bannister after trainer Monty Arrossa purchased him at the 2015 Heritage Place Yearling Sale.
“Monty bought the horse and brought him home,” said Weigt of Jerome, Idaho. “He showed him to me and said that I could have him, but I didn’t have to take him because he had other clients that might be interested in the horse. He asked me ‘Do you want him?’ and the moment I saw the horse I told him ‘Do I want him? You bet I do.’ ”
Weigt and Arrossa could not be happier with the results, as Bannister has won six of eight starts during his 2-year-old campaign, highlighted by Sunday’s victory in the $118,000 Wild West Futurity at Los Alamitos.
“I’ve known Denny all of my life,” Arrossa said. “I was training part time and Denny is the one that convinced me to start training full time. He sent me to some sales and we were buying some colts, bringing them back home and having some success. He’s been a great supporter. I kid him sometime that he’s the older brother that I didn’t have. We have a good relationship. He’s not only a great client, but a wonderful friend. I love him and his wife to death. When I got home from the sale and he saw the colt I told him ‘It’s your choice. If you’re not interested I have other clients that I think might be interested or I’ll keep him myself.’ He was adamant that he would take the horse and I think he’s been pretty happy with him ever since.”
Ridden by Tony Guymon for owners Denny and Sandy Weigt, Bannister was seventh at the start, but flew in the second half of the 350-yard race while holding off Javier Alvarez, Jr.’s 12-1 longshot Jess Klas by head and in a time of :17.730. The fastest qualifier heading into this race, Bannister earned $49,644 for the win to more than double his career earnings to $93,241.
“He likes to run that sucker,” 83-year-old Weigt said of his young sprinter. “He could have had seven (wins) in a row with some luck. We also have a little filly (Paint A Candy Storm) that will be in the Bank of America Racing Challenge races so we have that to look forward to as well. (Monty) bought her too and she can run. She was in the Kindergarten and with 95 head in there she was the fifth fastest qualifier. She lost her head a little bit in the final and got a little hot, but she can run.”
A few years ago Arrossa trained a filly named Illtacmanhattan, which won seven races in a row for Weigt. Bannister had now joined Illtacmanhattan as one of the best runners that Weigt has owned.
Earlier this year Weigt said that “I’m 83-years-old, but these horses keep me going. I’m really fortunate to work with a great trainer like Monty Arrossa.”
Arrossa has enjoyed a tremendous campaign at Los Alamitos. The trainer has qualified horses to the Kindergarten Futurity and Ed Burke Million Futurity. He also won the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap with Zoomin For Spuds and the Kip Didericksen Handicap with First Prize Chicks. He’s now won 11 races from 76 starters at Los Alamitos this year.
“We feel this is the greatest racetrack in the world,” Arrossa said of Los Alamitos. “We’re real thankful that Dr. Allred continues to support the Northwest and the Northwest horses and we’ll continue to support his races.”
Ridden by Alejandro Luna and trained by Ricardo Guillen, Jess Klas earned $20,094 for her second place finish. The One Sweet Jess filly had previously finished third to Bannister in the trials to this race. Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing’s Henry Craig did not win for the first time in six career starts after running third in the Wild West. The winner of the Pot O’ Gold Futurity and the Firecracker Futurity at Grant’s Pass, the Hector Magallanes-trained Henry Craig earned $14,184. Oh So Fancy Fancy, Stolin Diamond, Allegeninmytime, Bos On Time, Queen Of The Kartel, Stellur and Buckshot Cartel completed the Wild West field. Horses are eligible to compete in the Wild West Futurity if they’ve competed in regions like the Intermountain, Northwest, Canada and Nevada.