LARC NEWS Posted: 6/5/2017 5:14:46 AM

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      Nearly 50 years ago, trainer C.R. “Chay” Knight saddled the AQHA Hall of Fame racehorse Kaweah Bar to victory in the 1968 running of the $30,240 Ed Burke Million Futurity. Fast forward to 2017 and Knight’s son, the well-known Thoroughbred trainer Terry Knight, will look to win the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity after sending Legacy Ranch’s Corona Cartel colt Platki (photo) to a ¾ length victory and the fastest qualifying in the seventh of 12 trials to the million dollar race on Sunday at Los Alamitos Race Course.

A total of 99 horses competed in the 350 yard trials with the Legacy Ranch-bred Platki posting the top clocking of :17.647. A full-brother to 2010 AQHA champion 2-year-old filly Flying Fig, Platki was second at the break, but quickly took a daylight lead before cruising to the wire under the guidance of jockey Jesus Rios Ayala. Out of the mare Tender Flyer, Platki improved his career record to a perfect two for two and will now be one of the favorites in the Ed Burke Million final to be held on evening of Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18 at Los Alamitos.

The complete list of qualifiers to the Ed Burke Million final is as follows: Platki (17.647), KVN Corona (:17.657), Apollitical Stone (:17.705), Sumokinintheboysroom (:17.713), Jess My Kiss (:17.719), Chance To Fire (:17.723), Indescribaly Blue (:17.751), Remember To Dash (:17.767), SC Vapor Trail (:17.770) and J Fire Up (:17.793).    

Terry Knight remembers watching his dad train the great Kaweah Bar. In his youth, Knight would ride his bicycle to the track and would watch his dad’s horses race from behind a parking lot fence. Knight has saddled over 900 winners in a successful training career that included winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Club Stakes with Frenchpark in 1994 and the Grade 2 Matchmaker Stakes at Atlantic City with Magdelaine in 1988. In addition to his Quarter Horse stakes wins with the “Palomino Express” Kaweah Bar, Chay Knight also enjoyed many great wins with Thoroughbreds, including taking the 1981 Santa Anita Derby with Splendid Spruce.

The star of this night for Knight was the Legacy Ranch homebred.

“There’s been a lot going on at the ranch and this (win) is very important to us,” said Pete Parrella, who along with his wife, Evelyn, operates Legacy Ranch. “I’m really happy for Terry and for all the guys at the ranch that have worked so hard. Shaun and Anita Hadley they raised this horse and I really want to thank them immensely for everything they’ve done for us. This is a great win for us and I just hope that the horse shows up in the final.”

“It’s exciting and so much fun,” Evelyn added. “And when you have a great horse, it’s even more fun. We have a lot of our friends here tonight and we come and enjoy it with them.”

“We’ve been coming here since 1960,” Parrella added. “Ed Allred has done a wonderful job. We’ve been racing here for a long time and I just hope we can continue (racing) here for many more years. We sent Terry five Quarter Horses when her first started training here again after Denny (Ekins) retired. He didn’t have this horse for more than two or three weeks when he called me and said ‘I just want to tell you something, I think you have something very, very special.’ I said ‘How can you know that? You haven’t even worked him yet?’ He said ‘When you’ve been around as long as I have, you can tell the difference. He’s a tremendous horseman and we’re so happy that he’s part of the team. We hope that bigger and better things come as time goes on.”

Keith Nellesen of Mapleton, Utah campaigns the second fastest qualifier, KVN Corona. Also sired by Corona Cartel, which gives the legendary stallion the two top qualifiers to this year’s Ed Burke Million, KVN Corona won the sixth trial by a half-length while covering the distance in :17.657. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, the McColee Land & Livestock-bred KVN Corona also improved his record to two victories in as many starts.

“I’m partners with Lance Robinson and we started McColee Land & Livestock really as a breeder of Quarter Horses,” he said. “We love to go to the yearling sales and sell them. I actually personally bought KVN Corona and raised him. He’s a full brother to another horse that won the (2016 Los Alamitos) Super Derby named Big Lew. His mother (Executive Looks) passed away last year so he’s the last colt we had out of her so I decided I would try to buy him and got him and sent him to Paul. We’re really excited. He’s a really good horse.”

Nellesen has been a part of the Ed Burke Million Futurity as an owner before under the McColee Land & Livestock banner. Their runner, Budder Think Twice, finished fifth in the 2015 Ed Burke Million as part of a field that included eventual winner Walk Thru Crystal, that year’s AQHA champion filly, plus Docs Best Card and Sale Topper.

“(The Ed Burke) is a great race,” Nellesen added. “We’re really excited. We’ve been high on this horse (KVN Corona) for quite a while. We broke him in New Mexico with Mike Joiner. Mike was really high on this horse as well, but our plan was always to come with him to California.”


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