Trainer Mike Casselman enjoyed a banner year in 2016 that included wins in the Grade 1 Golden State Million futurity with Lotta Blues Man, Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap with champion Sass Me Blue and PCQHRA Breeders Derby with Little Talks. His outstanding season earned Casselman the PCQHRA trainer special achievement award.
Two racing nights after receiving the award, Casselman picked up right where he left off in 2016, saddling his first stakes winner of the season courtesy of Steve Burns’ Ilikethewayshewalks in the $15,000 Seal Beach Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, the 7-1 shot Ilikethewayshewalks won the Seal Beach by a head while covering the 330 yards in :16.764. The Walk Thru Fire filly bumped at the start of the race, but quickly recovered to post her second career win in eight starts. She earned $8,250 for this win to more than double her lifetime earnings to $16,425.
Out of the mare Septacular, Ilikethewayshewalks is a full sister to AQHA champion 2-year-old filly Separate Fire, winner of the Kindergarten Futurity in a 300-yard stakes record time of :15.148 and winner of the Ed Burke Million Futurity.
Abigail Kawananakoa’s Trippys Royal Jess finished second with jockey Cesar De Alba up for trainer Chris O’Dell. Trippys Royal Jess earned $3,375 for running second. Tough To Fire, Start Somethin Bad, Newport Coaster. Keep It Classy and Glen Ellyn completed the field.