LARC NEWS Posted: 5/15/2017 1:41:30 AM

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      Much of the attention prior to the running of the $303,600 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity focused on the unbeaten fillies with the two fastest qualifying times, Summertime Favorite and Perfect Az Can Be, but in the end it was JGA Racing Stables’ Fire And Sass, which had made his racing debut in the trials to the Kindergarten, that beat them all in the 63rd running of this Quarter Horse classic on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Juan Aleman, both which garnering their first ever Kindergarten win, Fire And Sass broke out from post number nine, but quickly straightened out while separating himself from most of the outside horses. Meanwhile, fastest qualifier Summertime Favorite sprinted to the lead from post number three, making her and Fire And Sass the leading pair after the first 110 yards. That changed after the halfway point of the race, as Nicasio urged the Walk Thru Fire gelding to the lead and then to a powerful finish for the Utah-bred’s second victory in as many career starts. Spackman Racing and Lin Melton’s Dont Foose With Me also came flying late and nosed out Summertime Favorite for second place. Perfect Az Can Be, the 8-5 favorite in the race, threw her head back right at the start and was then bothered a few steps out of the gate and never contended while finishing in tenth place.  

As for the Speed LLC-bred Fire And Sass, he earned $127,512 for the win and became the latest major stakes winner out of the mare Jess Sass Me. One of the top producers in Quarter Horse racing right now, Jess Sass Me is by Mr Jess Perry and out of Dutch Masters III’s 2001 Kindergarten winner Sassy Smith. The winner of the 2006 Holiday Handicap, Jess Sass Me is the dam of 2014 AQHA champion filly Jess Walking Thru and 2016 AQHA champion aged mare Sass Me Blue. She has also produced local stakes winner Jess Being Valiant and the 2011 Golden State Million Futurity finalist Jess Sass Dash. Now she adds Fire And Sass to this fine family of runners.

“This horse we knew he’ll be better going longer,” Aleman said. “He was able to catch the three (Summertime Favorite), but this horse is better going down the track. We bought him at the Ruidoso Sale for $40,000.”

Aleman saddled World Champion Apollitical Jess to victory in the 2010 Champion of Champions and Apollitical Time to win the 2005 Los Alamitos Super Derby and 2006 Los Alamitos Invitational Championship. This, however, was his first training victory in the Kindergarten, and he did it with a horse that he partly owns.

“JGA Racing Stables is a corporation and we decided this year to invest in some horses to see how our luck would come out,” he said.

Aleman noted that JGA Racing Stables purchased four horses with Fire And Sass being its first big winner. Sent off at 5-1 odds, Fire And Sass covered the distance in :15.466.

“We’re paid for the Ed Burke Million Futurity (with Fire And Sass), the All American and then we’ll be back here for the Golden State Million Futurity and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. We didn’t get out before the trials so (the trials) were his first start. Hopefully if we are lucky enough to qualify to the Ed Burke Million then he’ll have four outs before going up to the mountain. I try to limit my horses to six to seven outs. Depending on how good he is and if he holds up and is sound, we’ll pick and choose our races. If he pulls up fine, we’ll come back for the trials to the Ed Burke Million.”

Nicasio picked up the mount on Fire And Sass when Martin Arriaga, who qualified him and Shangrilalala to this final, opted to ride the filly.

“Martin made a decision to stay with the filly (Shangrilalala) because she’s quicker from the gate,” Aleman said. “We just had back luck. My own horse (Fire And Sass) pushed me out and kind of shied away. She came running towards the end. She’s going to be a good filly. She showed that. I wished we would have had a different post position than the 10, but it is what it is. She’ll have the same schedule (as Fire And Sass).”

Also owned by JGA Racing Stables, Inc’s Shangrilalala ran fourth and earned $21,252.

With jockey Minor Arana aboard, Dont Foose With Me finished strongly to earn $51,612 for his second place. The Idaho-bred gelding by Foose was fifth after leaving the gate from post eight and caught Summertime Favorite in the final jumps. Owners Spackman Racing and Lin Melton bred Dont Foose With Me.

Paul Jones and Thompson Racing, Inc’s Summertime Favorite lugged in sharply in the final 100 yards and that may have been enough to cost her at least second place. The filly by Favorite Cartel earned $36,432 for her third place finish. Ramon Sanchez piloted the Jones-bred runner. Ed Allred’s Seems Even Better was fifth and was followed by Mucho Bravado, Missmerizing, Atypical, Kindigit and Perfect Az Can Be.    

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