LARC NEWS Posted: 11/26/2017 12:26:01 AM

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        Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s homebred mare Thermonuclear Energy had the best start of her racing career in the Grade 3, $50,000 Las Damas Handicap and the end result was dominating performance in the 400-yard race for distaffers on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Racing from post number two, the 4-year-old mare by Walk Thru Fire broke right alongside Los Alamitos Super Derby finalist Jess Mas and the stakes placed Brimmin Corona before flying to take a daylight lead about 100 yards into the race. Thermonuclear Energy had a 1 ¼ lengths advantage after the first 200 yards and a 1 ½ length lead after 300 yards. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Thermonuclear Energy crossed the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of the 28-1 longshot Strawfinders Jessee while covering the 400 yards in :19.671.

“I was watching her and she stood nicely,” O’Dell said. “She was quiet tonight. That’s when she runs her good races. She’s always been a really nice mare and with mares, it’s kind of hit and miss. She put it all together. She impressed me. There were some nice mares in there.”

The Las Damas field featured Spackman Racing’s Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap winner Time For Jess, who was using the Las Damas as her final prep before the $750,000 Champion of Champions on December 16.  Spackman Racing and Lin Melton’s Maggie Durant, who beat Thermonuclear Energy in the California Breeders Matron Stakes earlier this year, and All American Derby finalist Elicity were also among the 10 mares in this race.  

“All along she’s qualified for big races, but has never won one,” O’Dell added. “We’ve put her up there so high and expected so much of her, but she’s kind of a big, skinny mare. The thing about her now is that she’s finally – at 4-year-olds – she’s learned to break out of the gate. That’s what she did tonight. If she breaks out of the gate, it’s hard to beat her. We’re really proud of her.”

Sent off at 5-1 odds in the Las Damas, Thermonuclear Energy earned $27,500 for her Las Damas win to take her career earnings to $259,007.  The winner of the Los Alamitos Juvenile Invitational Stakes in 2015, Thermonuclear Energy was enjoying her seventh win in 20 career starts. The California-bred mare has hit the board in 15 of those outings, including runner-up efforts in the aforementioned Matron Stakes and 2016 Governor’s Cup Derby, and a third in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity in 2015.

She now figures to make her next start in the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap in early January 2018.

 “We took two embryos out of her,” O’Dell said. “We’ll probably run her in the Charger Bar Handicap and breed her a couple of times again. If she stays sound I would like to see her run another year. It’s totally up to the Parsons.”

Owned by C.K. and Laurel Allen, Strawfinders Jessee has enjoyed a solid 4-year-old campaign. Trained by John Cooper, the One Sweet Jess mare was third in the Matron Stakes four months ago and fifth in the Mildred Vessels Memorial. She came into this race after posting a half-length allowance win. Strawfinders Jessee earned $11,250 to take her career earnings to $71,717. Oscar Peinado piloted the homebred mare from post number one.

Oscar Andrade and Steve Burns’ Jess Mas earned $6,250 for her third place finish from the outside post 10. Juan Ramirez piloted the sophomore filly by One Sweet Jess for trainer Elena Andrade. Like Thermonuclear Energy and Strawfinders Jessee, she also figures to make her next start in the Charger Bar. Time For Jess was bumped at the start on her way to running in fourth place. She was followed by Brimmin Corona, Maggie Durant, Apollitical Dasher, Elicity, You Can Fly, and Jess A Lil Fishy.   

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