LARC NEWS Posted: 8/13/2017 11:44:02 PM

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     Trainer Mike Robbins has a strong lineup of older horses ready for the major autumn races at Los Alamitos Race Course. His stable is headed by Reliance Ranches LLC’s Flash N Bling, the impressive winner of the $75,780 Bank of America California Championship at 440 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, Flash N Bling finished ¾ lengths ahead of Howard Nichols and Ron and Denise Van Amburgh’s Mr PYC To You, while covering the quarter mile in a hand-time of :21.15. This was Flash N Bling’s second win of the season since arriving at Los Alamitos in the spring. In between victories, the gelding by First Down Dash was second in his trial to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity before running out of the money in the final after a very troubled trip.

“I was really high on this horse coming into this race,” Robbins said. “(Flash N Bling) was really doing good. He’s probably exceeded my expectations. He’s doing better than I expected. I didn’t think he could go a quarter of mile. He had given us indications that he could, but tonight was really a game changer. He was getting stronger all the way down the racetrack. The thing I was looking forward to in this race was no trials. This horse and Rip Tide both really run better fresh. When they have to run trials and come back in two weeks they seem to not perform as well as they do fresh.”

Reliance Ranches’ Rip Tide, who Robbins saddled to victory earlier on Sunday night, is one of the other standouts in the barn. Along with Flash N Bling and Rip Tide, Robbins’ band of runners also features Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby winner Big Lew, who is set to work here on Saturday, August 19, plus Vessels Maturity runner-up The Charm of Corona, and Vessels Maturity finalist Freakin Runaway.

“I have five exceptional older horses,” said Robbins, a two-time Champion of Champions winning trainer. “Really excited about them. I nominated all five of them for the Go Man Go Handicap (on September 3). I’d like to run as many as three (in the Go Man Go). I want to get as many in the (Champion of Champions) as I can. I’d like to win the Champion of Champions again.”

Racing from post number two, Flash N Bling’s victory in the Bank of America California makes him eligible to run in the Grade 1, $350,000 Bank of America Championship Challenge to be held at Prairie Meadows in Iowa later this year. Robbins won the Champion of Champions with World Champion Dashs Dream in 1984 and World Champion Special Leader in 1991. Now a winner of three of 19 career starts, the Nebraska-bred Flash N Bling earned $37,132 for his victory to take his career earnings to $108,584. Jim Streelman and Bill Dale bred Flash N Bling.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Mr PYC To You earned $15,913 for his runner-up effort from the outside post seven. Mr PYC To You was an allowance winner here earlier this year and the fourth place finisher in the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 7. Bred by The Mixer Ranch, the Oklahoma-bred horse by PYC Paint Your Wagon has now bankrolled $86,061 in his career. Reliance Ranches LLC’s The Charm Of Corona bumped at the start, but came flying impressively to finish third in this race. Piloted by Cody Jensen, The Charm Of Corona earned $7,957 for running third. Justified, Jess A Cowboy, Luv On The Run, and Flying Jess completed the field.

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