Jockey Ramon Sanchez begins 2017 needed 10 more Quarter Horse stakes wins to equal Eddie Garcia’s all-time record of 148 stakes victories at Los Alamitos. Sanchez, a two-time AQHA jockey of the year, has won 138 stakes wins here, a figure that includes three Champion of Champions wins (The Down Side, Wave Carver and Rylees Boy), a pair of Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity victories (Good Reason SA and I Like The Odds) and a record seven Los Alamitos Super Derbies. Sanchez won the El Primero Del Ano Derby aboard Rite Regal last year – one of his biggest scores of the meet.
Rodrigo Aceves is four Quarter Horse stakes wins shy from becoming the eighth pilot to reach the 100 stakes win mark. Aceves would join a great list of riders at Los Alamitos Race Course by reaching triple digits in stakes wins. In addition to Garcia and Sanchez, the other five pilots with over 100 Quarter Horse stakes wins here are Kenny Hart (133), Alex Bautista (118), Robert Adair (114), Joe Badilla (112) and Steve Treasure (100). Aceves’ big wins at Los Alamitos include the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity with One Quick First Down and the Ed Burke Million Futurity with First Down Illusion. Two-time AQHA champion jockey Cody Jensen could also reach the mark this year, as he begins the meet with 89 stakes wins. Jensen won the Golden State Million Futurity (Lotta Blues Man), Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (Sass Me Blue) and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (Racy High Roller). Cesar De Alba is the next active pilot in Quarter Horse stakes wins with 67.
Aceves is also approaching the 1,800 Quarter Horse win mark. He’ll begin the meet with 1,772 with Sanchez right on his heels with 1,763. They rank sixth and seventh all-time in Quarter Horse wins at the Cypress oval. Alex Bautista is 22 wins away from becoming only the third jockey ever to reach 2,000 Quarter Horse wins at Los Alamitos. Eddie Garcia is the all-time leader with 2,647. Jockey Carlos Huerta is closing in to 500 Quarter Horse wins. He starts the meet at 461.
In the training ranks, Jose Flores is just three stakes wins away from moving into fifth place all-time with 77 Quarter Horse stakes wins. Juan Aleman needs seven wins to move into 10th place all-time in the same category. Other notables include Scott Willoughby, who needs five Quarter Horse stakes wins to reach 50 for his career at Los Alamitos. The top two all-time leading trainers here in this category are Blane Schvaneveldt with 387 and Paul Jones Jr.with 313. Willoughby is also three wins shy (as of January 7) from reaching 500 Quarter Horse wins for his career at Los Alamitos. He is currently tied with Bob Baffert with 497 victories.
What seemed like an unreachable an impossible mark at Los Alamitos, Schvaneveldt’s all-time record of 3,982 Quarter Horse wins, is now within the sights of trainer Paul Jones, Jr., who has won 3,505 races with the breed over his great career at the Orange County oval. That means Jones is 477 wins away from reaching the mark. He won 90 Quarter Horse races last year to claim his 18th leading trainer title in the last 19 years at Los Alamitos. At his winning rate of 2016, the 14-time AQHA champion trainer would break Schvaneveldt’s all-time mark in the spring of 2022.
When it comes to Quarter Horses winning stakes races, Ed Allred’s Quirky is the current queen. On the eve of her start in Sunday’s Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap, a race she’s won twice before, Quirky comes in with eight stakes victories at Los Alamitos, the most by any active runner. She’s one of only 29 runners to have reached that figure in stakes wins. Only 20 have reached nine stakes wins and only 13 have won 10 or more.
S Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire, the AQHA world champion in 2015, and last year’s Champion of Champions winner Zoomin For Spuds, owned by Jim Walker, are next in line in the active list with seven wins each. They both will be looking to add more stakes wins to their names during the 2017 campaign.