LARC NEWS Posted: 6/4/2018 5:37:04 PM

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            Two nights of Grade 1 stakes trials are just around the corner in the month of June at Los Alamitos Race Course. The top 2-year-olds on the West Coast will be the first to take the spotlight on Sunday, June 10 with a terrific night of 350-yard heats to the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity. Top names like Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity winner Wicked Affair, Kindergarten fastest qualifier SC Money Maker and impressive maiden winners Monster Hand and Powerful Favorite are among the 2-year-olds expected to race in the Ed Burke Million trials.

The top aged runners will then take center stage on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17 with trials to the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity. Thirty-one runners remain eligible to compete in these 400-yard heats with the horses with the 10 fastest times moving on to race in the final on Sunday, July 8. The winner of the Vessels Maturity will earn a berth to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions to be held on Saturday, December 15.

Many of the top older horses expected to compete in the Vessels Maturity have been busy making moves in the past few months in order to sharpen their form. Here’s a brief look at what some of the top names have been up in preparation for a possible start in the Vessels trials.

BH Lisas Boy (photo) – The defending winner of the Vessels Maturity already has a berth to the Champion of Champions after winning the Grade 1 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship on February 11. He has remained a busy Boy, running gamely to Zoomin For Spuds when second in the Moonist Handicap on March 25 and most recently posting a turn and work at 220 yards in a time of :12.80 on Friday, May 25.

Branquino – Lightly raced older horses finished second to 8-year-old hard-knocking gelding French Fury in a 330-yard allowance event on May 27. Had won three previous starts, all against allowance competition prior to that runner-up effort.
Katella Deli – A winner of $488,199 in his racing career, he enjoyed a winning 2018 debut when defeating top runners Renewed and Lotta Blues Man in a 350-yard allowance on May 25. Yet to win a stakes race, Katella Deli finished second in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby last year and also qualified to the 2016 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Katies Easy Moves – Made his 2018 debut a winning one when posting a 300-yard allowance victory on May 13. He won the First Down Dash Handicap in his final start of 2017. A multiple stakes winner in the Intermountain racing circuit, the Maknmoves gelding was fourth in the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship last year.

Jess Hawk – Talented 4-year-old mare beat a quality field in the Grade 3 Miss Princess Handicap at 350 yards on May 13. Her last four starts have been in stakes races. In addition to her Miss Princess win, she also finished second in the Mini Rock Handicap and Terrific Energy Handicap. She was third behind BH Lisas Boy and Zoomin For Spuds in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship on February 11.

LD Is Back – Posted a pair of drills in May, first with a turn and work at 220 yards in :12.20 on May 5 before working nicely from the gate in :17.60 on May 26. His last start was a third place finish behind Zoomin For Spuds and BH Lisas Boy in the Moonist Handicap on March 25. Finished sixth in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship earlier this year.  

Lotta Blues Man – Finished third to Katella Deli when making his 2018 debut on May 25. His previous start was a third place finish in the Grade 2 Southern California Derby last December. The winner of the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity in 2016, Lotta Blues Man has earned $932,521 in his career.

One Proud Eagle – A multiple stakes winner during his 2-year-old campaign in 2016, this gelding by One Famous Eagle has been a busy performer in stakes races this year. He won the Cypress Handicap in January and has since run fourth in the Moonist Handicap and fifth in the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 5.

Tarzanito – A Grade 1 futurity runner-up in 2016, the Favorite Cartel colt won an allowance race on February 2. Has posted three works since that effort, two of them from the gate at 220 yards (:12.30 on April 28 and :12.10 on May 12) and most recently a turn and work at 350 yards in a leisurely :18.60 on May 24.

The Marfa Lights – Has not raced since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 All American Derby on Labor Day weekend in September of 2017. He finished second in the All American Futurity on Labor Day of 2016. Has been working steadily at Los Alamitos, posting 220-yard turn and works on April 8 (:12.30) and April 22 (:12.20). Then posted a 350-yard gate work in :18.40 on May 8.     

Well Good – Has posted in-the-money efforts in his last three starts, all three in allowance races. His most recent allowance outing resulted in a third-place finish to Bound To Bet at 550 yards. He also finished second in a 550-yard allowance event earlier this year when taking on multiple stakes winner He Is The Risingstar.   

Zoomin For Spuds – The winner of the 2016 Champion of Champions would love nothing more than to earn a third straight berth to the sport’s most prestigious race for older horses. He was close to winning the Brad McKinzie final, as he was a solid runner-up to BH Lisas Boy in the 400-yard event. He followed that effort with a win over BH Lisas Boy in the Moonist Handicap on March 25 before returning to finish third to Royaltys Authority in the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 3. Zoomin For Spuds doesn’t miss many dances and is usually among the most consistent performers on the grounds.   

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