LARC NEWS Posted: 9/4/2017 2:23:28 AM

news

        S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire, the 2015 world champion racing Quarter Horse, became only the second horse since 1969 to win back-to- back running of the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap following his impressive wire-to-wire 1 ¾ length victory over Reliance Ranches’ Flash N Bling on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Heza Dasha Fire joined the champion Jess You And I as the only horses in the past 48 years to successfully defend their Go Man Go crown. Jess You And I won the 2008 and 2009 runnings of the Go Man Go. Since 1960, Duplicate Copy in 1966 and ’67 and Go Derussa Go in 1968 and ’69 are the only two others to have back-to-back Go Man Go titles.

Heza Dasha Fire also became the 30th horse in history with at least eight stakes victories at Los Alamitos Race Course. In addition to the Go Man Go, the outstanding homebred gelding by Walk Thru Fire and out of Dasha Freda has won the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity as a 2-year-old in 2014; the Grade 2 Golden State Derby, Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby, and Grade 1 Champion of Champions during his world championship winning season in 2015; and the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap and Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship in 2016. He’s now a seven-time Grade 1 winner, a winner of 14 of 19 starts, and an earner of $1,989,237 in his career. Heza Dasha Fire covered the 400 yards in Sunday’s Go Man Go in the meet’s fastest time of :19.459. It was without a doubt a vintage performance by the outstanding Heza Dasha Fire. The runner-up in the Restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap in his previous start, Heza Dasha Fire looked like the Fire of old in the Go Man Go.

Spencer Childers) off of that long layoff. Maybe that great work took a little bit out of him and maybe he got a little tired at the end. Tonight, it was exhilarating. He just got out there and you could see that he was extending. Dasha was back tonight and that’s the Dasha we are used to seeing run. He just fills your heart with joy. It’s unbelievable the way he runs.”

Heza Dasha Fire may have likely earned a berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions on December 16 with his victory in the Go Man Go on Sunday. The Go Man Go is the first alternate race with a berth to the Champion of Champions so it would take at least one dead-heat in any of the remaining races offering berths to the Champion of Champions to spoil a possible trip to the Champion of Champions via the Go Man Go for Heza Dasha Fire. Heza Dasha Fire won the 2015 running of the Champion of Champions, but also finished second in the Champion of Champions last year.

“It’s always exciting to try to get in to the Champion of Champions and it looks like we may have a shot in there,” Meneely added. “You can’t win it if you’re not in it. We are just extremely pleased to see him run again like he ran last year. The thing we know is that anybody can beat you (in the Champion of Champions). Those horses that are in that race are really good horses and the thing about horse racing is that you can’t talk to a horse and ask them how they are feeling. (Trainer) Jose Flores does a great job with Heza Dasha Fire and he has that feeling and senses what’s going on and he did a great job prepping him for tonight. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Flores was at the big Ruidoso Yearling Sale in New Mexico earlier on Sunday, but he was not about to miss Heza Dasha Fire’s race in the Go Man Go.

“I came back from Ruidoso today and I had to come and see my horse,” Flores said. “That horse is part of the family. We all love him. He’s the heart of my barn. I have a lot of great horses in my barn, but he’s the heart. There’s a lot of good superstars, but he’s always been my superstar. I’ve had a lot of great horses in my career, but he’s at the top.

“Trying to get him fit for his first race (the Spencer Childers), we may have overdone it with his work (:17.40 at 350 yards on July 1). We changed everything a little bit. We did things differently. He’s a little older, but I kept training him as if he was a 3 or 4-year-old. Now he’s five and I don’t think he was recuperating as quick from stuff (like gallops, every day works). We freshened him up and he got it done tonight. In the Spencer Childers, I can’t take nothing away from He Looks Hot. Scott (Willoughby) did a great job with He Looks Hot. He ran a heck of a race. There’s a reason why that horse has beaten (Heza Dasha Fire) twice – he’s a great horse too. Tonight, it was our turn to win. It’s a good, healthy rivalry and I think it brings the game together. Ed Allred (owner of He Looks Hot) does a great job breeding champion horses and the Meneelys have won AQHA Breeder of the Year. The breed good horses. These are not horses that have been bought. I think it makes it more beautiful. It makes it more interesting.

“We didn’t underestimate (He Looks Hot),” Flores continued. “But sometimes we think that things are just going to go our way. I knew (Heza Dasha Fire) ran a good race in the Spencer Childers, but I was a little disappointed. We expected to win and so did everybody else. It gets to you. Fortunately, Heza Dasha Fire came back well after the race and now we’re hoping for a good finish to the year.”

Flores added that He Looks Hot will make his next start in the Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 15 and then, hopefully, the Champion of Champions.          

“We’ll talk it over, but I’m pretty sure that’s the way we’re going to go,” Flores said. “We’ll give him a break until the Champion of Champions. We had an (opportunity) to go to The Downs at Albuquerque for their big race, but now that he’s earned this I think that’s out of the picture.”

Reliances Ranches LLC’s Flash N Bling, the winner of the 440-yard Bank of America California Challenge Championship, was seventh at the start, but closed powerfully to finish second. Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves for trainer Mike Robbins, Flash N Bling earned $20,500 for his effort. The career bankroll now stands at $129,084 for the First Down Dash gelding.

He Looks Hot, with Carlos Huerta aboard, earned $10,000 to raise his career tally to $1,158,614. Also sired by Walk Thru Fire, the winner of the 2014 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, 2016 Vessels Maturity, and this year’s Spencer Childers has finished in the top three in 14 of 20 career starts. The Charm Of Corona, Dr Jess, Big Lew, Mr PYC To You, and We Like Corona completed the field.

-30-        

“We were a little nervous going into the race, but he broke good, came in a little bit, but then accelerated,” said co-owner Don Meneely of S-Quarter K LLC. “He has that acceleration of about 50 to 150 yards where he just separates himself. We didn’t think that in his last race that he was striding out like he was in the past and that had us a little concern. He had a great (350-yard) work (before the


CURRENT NEWS Expand/Collapse

RACING & RESULTS Expand/Collapse

UPCOMING EVENTS Expand/Collapse

PREVIEWS & INTERVIEWS Expand/Collapse

NIGHTLY HANDICAPPING Expand/Collapse

Los Alamitos Race Course Weather CalRacing Promos