The richest running of the El Primero Del Ano Derby since 2011 will headline the Sunday night action at Los Alamitos. Ten sophomores will compete in the Grade 3, $224,100 El Primero final, which also happens to be the second richest running of this race since 1987. The 400-yard derby is the eighth and final on the card. The winner’s share of the purse is $94,122. First post is 5 p.m.
Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s That Rico comes in as the fastest qualifier after recovering from some trouble at the start of his trial before scoring a head victory on March 12. The Carters Cartel gelding has won four of eight career starts and does have the ability to run huge at the end. Roberto Hernandez, the winning rider of last year’s La Primera Del Ano Derby - the fillies division of this race - will be aboard the Double Bar S Ranch-bred runner from post eight.
The El Primero final is a big race for Valentin Zamudio, as the trainer will saddle a talented trio. The trainer will saddle Eva Carrazco’s Stelfast, which ran second to That Rico in the trials, and also impressive trial winner Maximo (photo) for owners Juniors Quarter Horses, Inc. He’ll also send out the surprising Jess Kan Fly, which qualified to this final after running second in the trials at 40-1 odds.
A gelding by Tempting Dash, Maximo will enter this derby after winning his last two starts by nearly identical half-length margins of victory. In addition to his derby trial win, Maximo earned his maiden diploma here two races ago on February 19. Cesar De Alba will ride from post number five. Stelfast, which was ridden by De Alba in the trials, now gets the services of top rider Cruz Mendez.
Sired by Stel Corona, Stelfast is enjoying the best patch of his racing career. In three starts in 2017, the sorrel colt has won once and finished second twice. Stelfast’s mother is The Goodbye Kisser, a multiple stakes winner at Los Alamitos, whose biggest win came in the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity here. Stelfast will start from post number two on Sunday night. Jess Kan Fly will look to score an upset and his first career win when he races from the far outside post number 10 in this race. While he has yet to win a race, the son of Mr Jess Perry has posted runner-up finishes in three of his four career starts, including a second in a trial to the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs last year. Rodolfo Arvizu will ride him for Margarito Montalvo.
Paul Blanchard and Dutch Masters III’s star runner Katella Deli is the richest runner in this race with earnings of $280,352, an amount that is nearly twice as much as the combined total of the rest of the field. The nine other horses in this race have earned a total of $143,398. Katella Deli’s bank account came as a result of his third place finish in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and good efforts in the Kindergarten Futurity and Los Alamitos Winter Derby. The Foose gelding has hit the board in eight of 10 career starts. Carlos Huerta will ride Katella Deli for trainer Jaime Gomez. The trainer will also saddle The Natural Nine, which he owns in partnership with Howard Nichols. The rest of the field will include Up For Plenty, Thats A Good Reason, Try Again and Walk Thru Septacular.