LARC NEWS Posted: 2/19/2018 11:29:44 AM

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       Trainer Chris O’Dell has made his mark at Los Alamitos Race Course over the past 20 years with superstar horses like AQHA champion, millionaire, and five-time Grade 1 winner Catchmeinyourdreams. Over the years, O’Dell has trained major stakes winners like Terrific Energy, Fire At Will, and Racy High Roller. He’s also one of only 27 trainers to win more than 400 Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos and he’s coming off a year in which he finished fourth in the straightaway standing with 40 wins and super 19.1% win ration.

Yet for all these accomplishments, O’Dell is off to one of the best starts for a meet in his training career. Already in 2018, O’Dell has won 10 races from his first 24 starters, a figure that makes him the leader in the Quarter Horse standings as of February 18. His Quarter Horse starters have won an impressive 41.7% of the time while finishing in the top three 75% of the time this season. His average win odds is also an also eye-catching $10.30 per winner. All in all, it’s been a red-hot beginning of the meet for O’Dell.

“We’re enjoying it,” O’Dell said. “Last year we got to a late start, but still ended up as the fourth leading trainer. We won a lot of trials and qualified to some futurities. This year we’re getting some horses in the right spots and we’re getting a little jump on it, I hope. It’s kind of nice to be at the top, but I know it’s hard to stay there. It’s not easy to get there and once you get there it’s just as hard to stay there. I know Paul Jones and some of the other guys will fly right past me, but it’s fun to be there right now.”

It’s all about carpe diem for the O’Dell barn right now.

“I’ve never been leading trainer at Los Alamitos for any day much less a week. We took a picture of the standings and I’m going to frame it. We’re having some fun with it. That’s what it’s all about. You have to enjoy the good times when they are there.”

With a stable headed by the aforementioned multiple stakes winner Racy High Roller, winner of this year’s Barbra B Handicap, plus 2017 La Pacifica Handicap winner Staggering Stride, and the Grade 1 stakes placed sophomore Chance To Fire, O’Dell figures to remain a major player in the Quarter Horse trainer standings at Los Alamitos.  The barn will soon be reinforced by the return of Thermonuclear Energy, the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap runner-up and Las Damas Handicap winner, who is currently on breeding duty.   

“Right now she’s at Burns Ranch being bred,” O’Dell said. “We’ll pull a couple of embryos and then she’ll be back to run the remainder of the year.”

And a group of promising babies is also keeping the mood of the barn in great spirits right now. 

“We (think) we have a lot of nice babies,” he added. “We breezed a few of them on Sunday morning. It’s fun to see what you have. It’s like Christmas opening up the packages and seeing what you have. The babies are always a fun time. We’ll close to 20 babies. We’re still some ways away, but we’re not behind (schedule) by any means. It’ a long year. There’s a lot of money at the end of the year. I think we’re in good shape.”

That last statement is backed up by current Quarter Horse standings at Los Alamitos. The O’Dell barn is flexing its muscles right now. 

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