Paul Blanchard and Dutch Masters III’s Katella Deli, which posted a strong third place finish in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year, will look to qualify to a major stakes race for the fourth time in his career when he heads the trials to the El Primero Del Ano Derby on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Led by Katella Deli, 26 sophomores have been entered to run in the El Primero trials at 400 yards on Sunday. The horses with the 10 fastest times in the trials will advance to the final to be held on April 2. Trained by Jaime Gomez, Katella Deli is one of the favorites to move on to the El Primero final based on his resume of previous stakes races. In addition to his third place finish in the Los Alamitos Two Million, Katella Deli also took part in the prestigious $428,000 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity and will come into these trials after running in the Grade 1, $225,000 Los Alamitos Winter Derby final on February 11.
To be ridden by Carlos Huerta, Katella Deli will be in action in the first of three El Primero trials on Sunday night. He’ll face a field that will include Jose Ivan Muniz’s Three Six On Fire V, which ran third in the Kindergarten final last May. The Tres Seis gelding’s last victory came in the trials to the Kindergarten, but he has four runner-up efforts since the month of October. Cruz Mendez will ride for trainer Jose Flores. J. Francisco Diaz’s Up For Plenty, the winner of a trial to the Governor’s Cup Futurity last year, and Thats A Good Reason, the winner of an Ed Burke Million in 2016, are among the top contenders facing Katella Deli and Three Six On Fire V in this race.
Eva Carrazco’s Stelfast will headline the second trial of the night after scoring a solid 3/4 length victory on January 21. The Stel Corona colt led that race every step of the way to record his second career victory. Stelfast has stakes racing experience, as he was fourth in both the $151,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship and $388,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity. He’s also far and away the richest horse in the second trial with $69,110 in career earnings. The rest of his rivals have combined to win $47,125. Valentin Zamudio will saddle Stelfast, which will be ridden by Cesar De Alba. The second richest horse in this field is That Rico, a two-time allowance winner of $18,075 at Los Alamitos.
The final El Primero trial of the night will be headed by Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity finalist Renewed. The colt by Walk Thru Fire ran fifth in the Golden State Million while facing talented runners like Lotta Blues Man, Tarzanito and Worth Doing. Renewed posted a nice allowance victory in his 2017 debut. The list of horses he’ll face in this trial include the Paul Jones-trained Whata Corona, the winner of the B&W Stakes and five of nine career starts.