LARC NEWS Posted: 12/1/2018 2:27:16 AM

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         McColee Land & Livestock LLC’s Missmerizing posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 2, $162,850 Southern California Derby after holding off a strong rally by multiples stakes winner A Political Lady to win by a nose at 17-1 odds on Friday at Los Alamitos.

         Ridden by Jose Nicasio for trainer Monty Arrossa, Missmerizing won the final of four trials at 400 yards in :19.787 to advance to the Southern California Derby final, which will be held here on Friday, December 14. Bred by Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches Lp, Missmerizing is a Pyc Paint Your Wagon filly out of the Mr Jess Perry mare License To Thrill. The winner of the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes back on February 18, Missmerizing was picking up her fourth win in 19 starts. She’s hit the board in 13 of those outings.

        “The connections purchased her before the Bank of America Challenge Night,” Arrossa said. “They breed and raise horses and were looking at broodmare prospects. They looked at a couple of mares in training and they really liked Missmerizing. Denny and Sandy Weigt like to race 2-year-olds. They priced her and she was purchased. This trial was a very close race. She got a perfect trip. Her best attribute is her gate speed. She broke out in her last race, but tonight she broke on top and led all the way tonight. That’s how she ran when she won the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes earlier this year. She’s one of those that when she has a good start, you’ll have to catch her if you can.”

Missmerizing wouldn’t be the first Maiden Stakes to become a derby winner later in the year. Royal Proclamation won the Maiden Stakes in 2009 and 45 days later he won the Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby. He would also win his trial to the Southern California Derby. LDS Dash For Dylan won the Maiden Stakes in 2005 and would later win the Grade 3 Northwest Derby Challenge and later in the year the Grade 1 AQHA Derby Challenge Championship.

Parsons Ranch’s A Political Lady, who finished with the second fastest qualifying time :19.792, broke ¾ lengths behind Missmerizing before making a big late move to nearly catch her at the wire. The homebred filly by Apollitical Jess has had a great 2018 season. She’s won five of 10 starts and the Southern California Derby will be her sixth stakes race of the year. In addition to winning the La Primera, she also won the La Pacifica Handicap and Vandy’s Flash Handicap and was third in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby. Eduardo Nicasio was up for trainer Chris O’Dell.

Thomas Bradbury, Thomas Bradbury Jr., Lisa Beauprez, and Paul Jones’ Eyes The Favorite posted the third fastest qualifying time of :19.843 after winning the third trial by a half-length over Jess My Kiss, the winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby earlier this year. Bred by Sheryl Edgar, the Favorite Cartel gelding won his Super Derby trial on October 20 before running a troubled ninth in the final.      

“He ran a really nice race tonight,” said Jones, who also trains Eyes The Favorite.  “He had a good break and clean trip. This horse has a lot of talent and is just getting better as a 3-year-old. He’s put things together. I think he’s maturing and he’s behaving a little better in the gate. He was a little rough as a 2-year-old. He’s learned how to do it. Tonight he had room to run. The horse has a big kick at the end and he’ll really run the distance. If you give him room and he’ll come running. Things are looking good. He made the Super Derby. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get a good break in the Super Derby. That really hurt him. He got a good break tonight.”

            Two Feathers Series LLC’s Scoopie Jess got his third victory in six career starts at Los Alamitos after a ¾ length score in the second trial of the night. Bred by Dennie and Kris Hill, the gelding by One Sweet Jess was a two-time winner here last year. One of those wins came in a successful trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. He finished fifth in the Two Million final last year. Scoopie Jess spent the summer at Ruidoso Downs before returning here to run second in the Town Policy Handicap on November 10.   

“He needed that race, but look at the way he did it (tonight),” owner Steve Brantley said. “He ran a :19.86 with a :09.60 close. That guy was ready to rock and roll and he did it. He’s been entered in really good races, that’s for sure. We’ve been really excited about him and have been waiting to get to these races.”

Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer Bret Vickery, Scoopie Jess qualified with the fourth fastest time. Legacy Ranch’s Platki, a Grade 1 futurity finalist in 2017, showed once again that he is back to his top form after winning the opening trial by ¾ lengths in the ninth fastest qualifying time. Jesus Rios Ayala piloted the colt by Corona Cartel for trainer Terry Knight.  

The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Missmerizing (:19.787), A Political Lady (:19.792), Eyes The Favorite (:19.843), Scoopie Jess (:19.869), Jess My Kiss (:19.894), Chowchilla Chickadee (:19.924), My Favorite Cartel (:19.930), Black Fryday (:19.985), Platki (:20.016), and CM Boom Shakalaka (:20.020).

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