LARC NEWS Posted: 10/21/2018 12:36:33 AM

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              Keith Nellesen’s KVN Corona, the 2017 AQHA champion 2-year-old colt, improved his record to a perfect nine for nine at Los Alamitos Race Course following a powerful victory in the second of four trials to the Grade 1, $925,100 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Saturday night.

Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, KVN Corona led every step of the 400-yard race on the way to a ¾ length victory over Reliance Ranches LLC’s Grade 1 stakes placed runner Call Me Cole. In the process, KVN Corona covered the distance in 19.671, making him the fastest qualifier to the richest Super Derby since 2012. KVN Corona won all six of his starts while racing exclusively at Los Alamitos during his championship campaign last year. His wins included the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. He added two more victories in the spring of 2018 at Los Alamitos, first winning his trial to the Grade 3 El Primero Del Ano Derby and then winning the $235,000 final. KVN Corona has won 10 of 12 starts, which include a victory in three starts at Ruidoso Downs this summer. This was his first outing at Los Alamitos since returning from his New Mexico journey.

“Super return,” Jones said. “This horse just loves this track. This is his home track. He’s just a thrill to train. He’s such a nice horse. We’re really that he came back and ran to his form. It looked like his old self tonight. I couldn’t be happier. He traveled home well. He was doing well here. We didn’t get a chance to give him an out before the trials. We just had to train him up to it. The mountain air (in New Mexico) didn’t hurt him coming down from the altitude. He was definitely fit coming home from Ruidoso.”

The second to fourth fastest qualifiers were tightly bunched after Governor’s Cup Derby winner Black Fryday won the fourth trial in :19.742 to finish as the second fastest qualifier. He was followed by Ruidoso Derby finalist Eyes The Favorite, who won the opening Super Derby trial in a time of :19.748. Call Me Cole, the third place finisher in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, finished with the fourth fastest time of :19.768. The complete list of qualifiers to the Los Alamitos Super Derby is as follows: KVN Corona (:19.671), Black Fryday (:19.742), Eyes The Favorite (:19.748), Call Me Cole (:19.768), Jesstacartel (:19.792), Matilda Czech (:19.876), Moonie Blues (:19.904), Jess My Kiss (:19.924), A Political Lady (:19.976) and Sumokinintheboysroom (:19.983). The winner will earn a berth to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions to be held on Saturday, December 15.

Paul Jones saddled Eyes The Favorite, who he owns in partnership with Lisa Beauprez, Thomas Bradbury and Thomas Bradbury, Jr. The Favorite Cartel gelding was the 24-1 surprise winner of the first trial, as he flew to an early lead from post number eight on the way to a neck victory over Grade 2 Golden State Derby winner Jesstacartel. This was his fourth victory in 17 career starts and his third from his last six starts at Los Alamitos.

“He’s qualified to a few (stakes) races,” Jones said. “He qualified to the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby and he ran fifth in the final. The horse has always shown a lot of talent. He’s always been a little tough in the gates. Tonight, he behaved himself in the gates. He wasn’t in there real long since he was on the outside. He got a good break. If he gets a good break he is full of finish. That Favorite Cartel blood, they can really run at the end of the race. We’re just tickled to death and I’m so happy for the Bradburys and Lisa Beauprez, who is Tom’s daughter. They now have a horse in the Super Derby final.”

Eyes The Favorite finished sixth to KVN Corona in the El Primero final earlier this year. Jesus Rios Ayala piloted him to victory in this trial.

Owned by Ron Hartley and trained by John Cooper, Black Fryday posted the biggest winning margin of the trials when he defeated Grade 3 PCQHRA Breeders Derby winner Moonie Blues by a length from post number eight. The gelding by Favorite Cartel was picking up his third win in nine starts this year. He’s finished in the money in eight of those outings. Eddie Garcia piloted Black Fryday to his fifth career victory in 15 starts.    

“He broke clean tonight and he likes the outside,” Hartley said.

Black Fryday entered this race after running to Moonie Blues in the PCQHRA Breeders Derby final. 

“He was moving on his own and got left (in the Breeders Derby),” Cooper said. “You can’t spot them horses like that and beat them. Leaving all together, I think we have as good a chance as anybody else. We are proud of him. He’s been good. It took him a while to get to himself, but as far as running, he can run quite a bit. He’s shown that.”

The field to the Super Derby will feature six horses with derby victories at Los Alamitos in KVN Corona (Grade 3 El Primero Del Ano Derby), A Political Lady (Grade 3 La Primera Del Ano Derby), Jesstacartel (Grade 2 Golden State Derby), Jess My Kiss (Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby), Black Fryday (Governor’s Cup) and Moonie Blues (Grade 3 PCQHRA Breeders Derby).

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