Post time favoritism for this weekend's Grade I Kindergarten Futurity will more than likely be a battle between lightly started Tres Passes and the regally bred filly Revv It Up, but that's not concerning Terry Thompson of Thompson Racing Inc. one bit. On Saturday night, he and trainer Paul Jones will send out Hes Regal in the very first futurity of the year for the young juvenile class of 2008. Still perfect after two starts in his career, Hes Regal has done everything right up to this point and has every right to spring a mild upset in the rich $340,150 race.
An impressive winner of his trial on May 3, 2008, Hes Regal broke a touch slow, but found his stride nicely and rolled home to a comfortable half-length victory. "He really had to stand in the gates for a long time that night," said co-owner Terry Thompson. "I remember one or two horses in that race acting up. For the most part he stayed calm, but after having to wait, he broke on his heels a bit and left a little slowly."
After finding his best stride mid-race, Hes Regal cruised home professionally - his impressive final eighth time of 9.68 seconds was the second-fastest of the night, highlighting the colt's powerful late kick. In his first start, Hes Regal ran a similar race. He jumped out to the lead early in the race, found a nice rhythm, and was geared down before the wire, saving something for trial night.
A sorrel colt by freshman sire A Regal Choice out of the Corona Cartel mare Shenoshercorona, Hes Regal comes from a very nice female family. The colt's half-sister Shescheckinumout recently won the La Pacifica Handicap here at Los Alamitos on April 25, 2008 and ran third in last year's Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes behind Tailgunner Tom. Additionally, Hes Regal's second dam is the outstanding broodmare Lil Bit Rusty, the mother of World Champion and millionaire Whosleavingwho.
"From what I've seen, all of the A Regal Choices are very level-headed and intelligent horses," said Thompson. "(Jockey) Cody Jensen told me that Hes Regal is a really smart horse and just a pleasure to ride. Every time I watch him warm up before a race, he always looks so relaxed and calm out there."
Owned by a partnership of Paul Jones and Thompson Racing Inc., the pair have had high hopes for Hes Regal from the start. "Paul called me when he was just a weanling and said we needed to pay him into everything because he liked him so much," Terry added. "It was Paul that originally suggested we breed to A Regal Choice as well. He was really familiar with the horse from when he had him in his barn and felt like he would be a good cross for the mare."
A seven-year-old stallion by First Down Dash, the blue-blooded A Regal Choice was campaigned by trainer Paul Jones up until his retirement in 2004. A three-time stakes winner, A Regal Choice won the 2003 Los Alamitos Million Futurity and qualified to the prestigious Champion of Champions in 2004. He retired with eight wins and earnings of $735,507. He also hails from one of the best families in racing, as his dam Harems Choice also produced All American Futurity winner Royal Quick Dash and 1998's AQHA Champion Two-year-old First Sovereign.
While racing is Thompson's passion, it isn't necessarily his business. Terry runs Thompson Attorney Services, a legal business in Long Beach, that serves legal papers and documents to clients all around the state. "Paul and I met in 2003 and first went into business together with a filly by Separatist named Flashing Fantasy," Thompson added. "This is actually the first horse I've campaigned that I have had since it was born. It's only my second year to have been involved in breeding. Before that, I always bought my horses at the auctions and ran them, but breeding can be a lot more challenging. It requires a lot of patience."
The time in between the trials and the finals of a big stakes race can often seem to last an eternity. "Right now is when the nerves really set it," Thompson said with a laugh. "I really love where we drew though in the eight post though. That should be perfect for our colt. I like our chances a lot. It's pretty remarkable that 79 two-year-olds ran in the trials and only one length separates the qualifying times of the ten fastest horses. That says a lot to me about how tough and wide open of a race this is. Right now we feel really good though because we're unbeaten, we qualified to the Kindergarten, and we're looking at going into the Ed Burke trials with only three starts under our belt. That's a really good position to be in."