LUCKY SEVEN RANCH
-Won Champion of Champions with Blues Girl Too in 2007
-Won the Golden State Derby in 2007 with Blues Girl Too
-Won the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity with Blues Girl Too in 2006
-Won Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap with Blues Girl Too in 2007
Russell Stooks of Lucky Seven Ranch was on hand the night that Ed Burke Million Futurity fastest qualifier Blues Girl Too made her 300-yard career debut May 19 at Los Alamitos. With Saul Ramirez Jr aboard, Blues Girl Too won that race in a romp, scoring a 2 1/2 length victory in an eye-opening time of :15.26.
Following the winner's circle snapshot, Stooks approached Ramirez with a smile and said, "Saul, you choked her back in the final 75 yards otherwise she may have broken the track record, right?" he said referring to No Time To Fish's local mark of :15.09.
Ramirez's response was one that Stooks will never forget.
"He said 'if I had asked for her best she could have gone in :15 flat.' I couldn't believe it when he told me that. We knew she was a nice filly but what Saul said blew me away," Stooks recalled.
"In the Ed Burke trials, she broke okay but not like she is capable. She still came close to breaking the 350-yard track record (of :17.22 held by Corona Chick) - she was just 2/100ths of a second from tying it. If she would have broken like she did in her maiden race she probably would have done it."
A Michigan native, Stooks owned the Midwest-based American Doors, a manufacturer of building products such as doors and windows, until he sold it in 1980. Now retired, the Stooks live in Victoria, British Columbia in the summer and enjoy the winter months at their Lucky Seven Ranch in Prescott, Arizona.
"That's where we met the Bassetts," Stooks said. "My wife Lisa is a very good friend of John's wife Ann. The Bassetts live in Dewey, which is only about 10 miles away from Prescott. We own about 250 acres there and we keep a few horses - all of them Quarter Horses. I started racing in 1993 and I've enjoyed it ever since. We've been with the Bassetts the whole time."
Lucky Seven Ranch has taken part in million dollar races in the past, finishing third in the Los Alamitos Million with Whip Hand and then with The Blues Man. When The Blues Man finished third in the '02 running of the Million, he was joined by stablemate Lotta Bang in that race. They also represented Lucky Seven Ranch in the Golden State Futurity. Bassett has trained the likes of The Blues Man, Whip Hand and Lotta Bang for Lucky Seven Ranch. Meanwhile, his son, 22-year-old Joe "Bear" Bassett, has been in charge of full sisters The Blues Girl and Blues Girl Too.
"Joe has been around horses his entire life," Stooks said. "I'm pleased to see him take the reins and do such a good job. She's steady and all business and I know it's because Joe has spent a lot of time with her in gates and he has her prepared."
How did Joe come to train these horses for Lucky Seven Ranch?
"Joe had a couple of horses at Los Al before John arrived with his stable," the owner explained. "John told him that he could pick one horse from the ones he had been working with to keep in his name. Joe picked The Blues Girl. He did such a good job with her that he kept Blues Girl Too this year."
The Blues Girl, Blues Girl Too, The Blues Man and several other standouts are out of Lucky Seven Ranch's superb broodmare Run The Dash.
"She's been amazing," said Stooks, referring to Run The Dash. "She's had five babies and (all of them) have been stakes runners. The Blues Girl is full sister to Blues Girl Too and she won the Leo Handicap at Los Alamitos and Eyell Fool Ya won a stakes race in Mexico. She's also the dam of Bad Notion (who finished third in the Stockton Derby)."
Where does Blues Girl Too rank among her brothers and sisters?
"I think she's the best of the group," he said.
Rival trainers won't have to worry about a baby out of the Sixarun mare next year according to Stooks.
"We don't have a yearling out of her right now but we do have a weanling colt by Holland Ease. The mare crosses well with everything. Blues Girl Too and The Blues Girl have both been by Corona Cartel, so he's definitely responsible for a lot of their success but Run The Dash throws good babies. We think that Holland Ease will work great with her because he is the sire of Corona Cartel. We tried something different with her this year. For the first time we did embryo transfers with her. She now has two embryos by Mr Eye Opener. We decided on embryo transfers because studies we read said it was easier on the mare."
Embryos transfers might be easier for this mare, but her future sons and daughter promise to make life difficult for foes for many years to come.