LARC NEWS Posted: 6/18/2018 1:10:08 AM

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             A1A Racing LLC’s Tarzanito (photo) posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $170,500 Vessel Maturity following a victory over 2017 First Down Dash Handicap winner Katies Easy Moves on Sunday at Los Alamitos, while Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy also won his trial and will have a chance to defend his Vessels title on Sunday, July 8.

A total of 20 horses competed in the Vessels Maturity trials at 400 yards with the horses with the 10 fastest times returning for the stakes’ richest final since 2012. The winner of the Vessels Maturity final will earn a berth to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 15.

Ridden by Eddie Garcia, the all-time leading Quarter Horse jockey at Los Alamitos in wins and stakes wins, Tarzanito overcame a bump at the start, but quickly took the lead from there before powering his way to a half-length victory in the fastest time of :19.665. Trained by Yanet Rodriguez, the colt by Favorite Cartel picked up his seventh win in 13 career starts and is now headed to his third Grade 1 final. Bred by Patricia Visscher, Tarzanito was second in the Grade 1 Golden State Million in 2016 and fifth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby last year. He’s won the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap last year and entered the trials following a daylight allowance win on February 9.  

“The horse has been training great,” Garcia said. “They gave him about three to four months off and he feels refreshed. I told the owner how much I liked his chances in this race because the two breezes that he had, he worked incredible. He showed his Favorite Cartel breeding. He had that turbo from his Thoroughbred bloodlines.”

Favorite Cartel is the son of the late champion Favorite Trick, Thoroughbred racing’s 1997 Horse of the Year.  

“The last 30 yards is where I needed him to respond and he did exactly that,” Garcia said of Tarzanito. “He was great. I didn’t have to push him too much. I just wanted him to have a nice trial. He’ll be back in three weeks against some excellent horses. It’s exciting for the owner. This is (owner) George Farielle’s first horse. He loves the horses and he’s great for the business.”  

            Bred, owned, and trained by Bill Hoburg, BH Lisas Boy has already defending one of his Grade 1 stakes winning titles this year. The son of Mighty Invictus won the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship on February 11 to give him his second consecutive victory in the Winter Championship. The 6-year-old superstar will look to defend another one of his titles on July 8 when he goes after his second straight Vessels Maturity win. BH Lisas Boy is off to a good start in this title defense, as he outdueled a field that include his longtime rival, 2016 Champion of Champions Zooming Spuds, to win the third Vessels trial of the night in :19.731. BH Lisas Boy will go into the Vessels Maturity as the second fastest qualifier off of this effort.  

“That’s my boy,” Hoburg said. “I was concerned with the layoff that long. He doesn’t have the best knees in the world. I didn’t want to get too many works under him for free. We had two light works under him and I was hoping that was enough. It was a little nerve wracking, but it worked out alright. He’s changed my life.”

            BH Lisas Boy has won 18 of 31 career starts. As has become customary, Cesar De Alba piloted BH Lisas Boy.

            O-So Smart LLC’s Katies Easy Moves is the third fastest qualifier after covering the 400 yards in :19.736 when second to Tarzanito in the opening trial. Trained by Monty Arrossa, the son of Maknmoves had previously won back-to-back starts, including his half-length win in the First Down Dash on December 9.

            Reliance Ranches’ Flash N Bling won the second trial of the night in the seventh fastest qualifying time. Making up for lost time after bumping at the start, the First Down Dash gelding was third after the first 100 yards, but eventually caught his foes to post a hard-fought head victory over multiple stakes finalist Renewed. Flash N Bling was the only horse to qualify to the Vessels Maturity from this trial. Ridden by Oscar Peinado and trained by Mike Robbins, Flash N Bling came into the trials after a huge move in the Kaweah Bar Handicap at 350 yards when moving up from eighth place to finish second. The Kaweah Bas was Flash N Bling’s first start since running in last year’s Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on November 19.    

“We used the Kaweah Bar Handicap for an outing,” Robbins said. “He stumbled in that race, but came on at the end of it. He could have gotten away better (tonight).”

The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Tarzanito (:19.665), BH Lisas Boy (:19.731), Katies Easy Moves (:19.736), Rite Regal (:19.745), Seared (:19.837), Branquino (:19.886), Flash N Bling (:19.914), Billionaire Boy (:19.921), Zoomin For Spuds (:19.928), Jess Hawk (:19.929).

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