LARC NEWS Posted: 8/12/2018 2:02:18 AM

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          In one of the most impressive come-from-behind efforts ever in a Quarter Horse stakes race, Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy rallied back from being more than two lengths behind AQHA champion Hold Air Hostage halfway through the $49,680 Bank of America California Regional Championship to win the 440-yard race by a nose on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

        Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala from post number one, BH Lisas Boy was sixth at the start and then fourth – way behind Hold Air Hostage - after the first 220 yards of the race. Meanwhile, the 2017 All American Derby winner seemed to be cruising to victory. The millionaire Hold Air Hostage was a comfortable 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Katies Easy Move and another ¾ lengths ahead of Kissed By An Eagle, who was running third at this point of the race. In the meantime, Kissed By An Eagle was leading BH Lisas Boy by a head. For most, it appeared that the anticipated duel between Hold Air Hostage and BH Lisas Boy would have to wait for another night, but in reality BH Lisas Boy was just warming up.  

“In midstretch I thought we were going to get our you-know-what handed to us,” Hoburg said. “But our horse just kept running at (Hold Air Hostage). I’m really proud of him. He’s a once in a lifetime horse. I just appreciate him every day.”

BH Lisas Boy was motoring once the field crossed the 330 yard mark, yet he was still behind Hold Air Hostage by 1 ¼ lengths. At 400 yards, there was a still a visible gap between the two runners, but the difference was shrinking with each stride.

“That (final) 40 yards really makes a difference for this horse,” Hoburg said of BH Lisas Boy. “At 400 yards we were beaten badly. It was a great finish by my horse.”

Those extra yards proved to be the deciding factor, as BH Lisas Boy finally caught his rival in those final moments to give the 6-year-old gelding by Mighty Invictus another magical victory at Los Alamitos, this one in a time of :21.481 at 440 yards.   

“I sat down this spring and marked an itinerary for this horse,” Hoburg added. “When this race came up, it became one of the races that we wanted him to run. Jesus Rios Ayala was this horse’s regular rider two years ago. When we didn’t qualify to the (2016) Champion of Champions, I turned (BH Lisas Boy) out and I went home to Washington. Ayala got on Zoomin For Spuds after that and you lose a rider when they ride a Champion of Champions horse. With Cesar De Alba out with an injury, Ayala was available to get back on the horse. We’ll face this horse, Hold Air Hostage, again in the Bank of America Championship final. I wouldn’t give you a wooden nickel that we’ll beat him twice, but we’ll be there and my horse will try.”

BH Lisas Boy has won 19 of 33 career starts. The Hoburg-bred runner earned $23,846 for this effort and has now earned $582,662 in his career. As the top two finishers in the California regional, both BH Lisas Boy and Hold Air Hostage earned berths to the Grade 1, $350,000 final to be held here on Saturday, November 17.

Trained by Jaime Gomez for Darling Farms, Hold Air Hostage earned $10,184 for his runner-up effort to take his career bankroll to $1,335,801. With this effort, the 4-year-old by Apollitical Jess has finished in the top two in 12 of 14 career starts.

“Hold Air Hostage is an excellent horse,” said Jose Nicasio, who piloted him from post two. “It’s his first race here. He flew out of the gate. He was clear by daylight. I feel that he got a little tired. He probably needed the race, but he’s still a very good horse. We are hoping to have better results in future races and hopefully qualify to the Champion of Champions. The horse was doing things easy. I wasn’t overconfident, but the horse was going nicely. All of the sudden (BH Lisas Boy) flew there at the end. It was too late.”

 “They put on a heck of a show,” Gomez said. “My horse broke on top. I never thought I could lose the race when I saw the break, but you know our horse got a little bit tired. I think he got caught in the last 25 yards. There’s nothing more I can ask from the horse. He ran his race. Look at the time, it was :21.48.  What else can we get?”

O-So Smart LLC’s Katies Easy Moves, fourth in the Vessels Maturity in his most recent start, earned $4,968 for running third. Kissed By An Eagle, Flash N Bling, The Charm Of Corona, Arizona Icon, and Joe Legacy completed the field.

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