LARC NEWS Posted: 9/24/2017 12:09:27 AM

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          Paul Jones and Thompson Racing LLC’s That Rico is running on all cylinders right after posting his fourth victory in a row thanks to an impressive wire-to-wire victory in the $15,000 Old Habits Handicap at 350 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

With leading Quarter Horse jockey Jesus Rios Ayala, who is a perfect four for four aboard That Rico, the gelding by Carters Cartel finished a half-length ahead of Grade 1 winner Chazaq while posting his eighth victory in 14 career starts. That Rico has been on fire since July 1, winning the Independence Day Handicap, a trial to the Grade 2 Golden State Derby, the Golden State Derby final, and now the Old Habits. That Rico has actually been really good the entire year, as his four other races all came against stakes level competition and include a second place finish in the Grade 3 El Primero Del Ano Derby, a third place finish in the Dillingham Handicap, and a fifth place finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby. It’s been his last four starts, however, that have That Rico firmly positioned as one of the top contenders in this year’s trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby to be held on October 21.

“Super Derby is on schedule next,” Terry Thompson said. “We wanted to get him an out. We didn’t want to go over 60 days without having an out so this fit in our plans. It fit right in, but I tell you what, we didn’t think he would draw a field like he drew tonight. That was a pretty salty field tonight. It was a bunch of good horses in there like Chazaq. There were some good horses in there. (That Rico) is just in sharp form right now so we couldn’t be happier. He’s an awesome horse and Paul and (assistant trainer) Roque Gonzalez have done a great job. It’s a ton of fun.”

That Rico earned $8,250 in the Old Habits to take his career earnings to $197,055. For the year, the Double Bar S Ranch-bred runner has won five of eight starts with $179,130 in earnings.

“He’s getting better and better with each start,” Thompson added. “He just loves to run. He comes back sound, knock on wood, and he’s just in sharp form. I told Paul ‘we just have to keep him going’ and he agreed. Instead of staying out those 60 days this was absolutely the right move so we’re happy.”

Dutch Masters III’s Chazaq is also eligible to the Super Derby trials and will be a key player on that night. The gelding by Corona Cartel earned $3,375 for running second to take his lifetime bankroll to $560,284. Rodrigo Aceves piloted the Bobby Cox-bred runner for trainer Jaime Gomez. Mr Apollitical Dash ran third and was followed by Jouet With Fire, Katella Deli, and Apollitical Spirit.

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