LARC NEWS Posted: 10/23/2017 12:47:48 AM


        Darling Farms, Jaime Gomez, and Ernesto Solis’ J Fire Up looked as good as ever in her first outing since winning the $390,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity on July 29 after posting a 1 ¾ length win in the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $938,850 Golden State Million Futurity Sunday at Los Alamitos.


Ridden by Jose Nicasio for Gomez, who trains and bred the filly, J Fire Up had a big lead right from the start on the way to covering the 400 yards in a time of :19.869. Sired by Kiddy Up and out of the Walk Thru Fire mare This Boogie Fires, J Fire Up improved her career record to four wins in six starts. She will now lead a field of 10 juveniles in the rich final to be held here on Sunday, November 5.     


“The filly has proved that she’s got class all the time since day one,” Gomez said. “I kept her fresh for this one. I worked her three weeks ago and she worked super good. You want fresh horses for the big races. She’s really nice and sound. She has a lot of class. That (stallion) Kiddy Up, I’ve believed in him all my life.”


In preparation for this race, J Fire Up posted a pair of works at the Orange County track. She had a turn and work at 220 yards in :12.50 on September 8 and then a 350-yard gate drill in :18.10 on October 3.


“She had a great work from the gate,” Nicasio added. “I figured she would run a big race tonight because of her work. She was feeling great and the time off did her a lot of good. Jaime and his team did a great job getting her ready. It feels great to ride a top horse that you know is doing great.” 


J Fire Up’s mother, This Boogie Fires, was third to AQHA champion Separate Fire in the Grade 1 Kindergarten Futurity in 2011. She also finished second in her trial to that year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and as a 3-year-old she qualified to the La Primera Del Ano Derby in 2012. This Boogie Fires is also the dam of the One Sweet Jess filly One Sweet Speed, who ran third in her PCQHRA Breeders Futurity trial last year.  


For Gomez and Darling Farms, it was a great weekend as they also campaign LD Is Back, who posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $956,500 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Saturday night. Gomez ended up qualifying a total of three horses for the Super Derby final to be held on November 12.  


The second fastest qualifying time to the Golden State Million went to Reliance Ranches LLC’s Call Me Cole, who so far has loved his time at Los Alamitos. The Corona Cartel colt is now a perfect two for two in his Los Alamitos starts with his most recent victory coming by a half-length in trial number six. Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Mike Robbins, Call Me Cole covered the distance in :19.906. The McColee Land & Livestock Inc-bred runner previously enjoyed a maiden victory here on September 29. He also started at Remington Park and Ruidoso Downs before making his way to southern California. At Ruidoso Downs, Call Me Cole ran third in a trial to the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity on July 8.


“He’s done really well here, all (my) horses have done well,” Robbins said. “They came from Ruidoso. They were training there and then came down here. It’s made a tremendous difference. We ran (Call Me Cole) once at Remington and once at Ruidoso before he coming here. He was fairly green and wasn’t breaking very sharp, but now he’s putting it together and doing really good.”


The running of this trial was delayed a few minutes because of a repair on the truck that moves the starting gate, but the waiting did not affect Call Me Cole.


“That’s the way he is,” Robbins said. “He’s a very calm horse and doesn’t let things get to him. He’s very professional.”


Call Me Cole is a full brother to Reliance Ranches’ Rip Tide, a finalist to the 2016 Los Alamitos Super Derby and 2017 Vessels Maturity. Their mother is Little Surfer, a multiple stakes winner by First Down Dash and out of former AQHA Broodmare of the Year Runaway Wave. Little Surfer is a full sister to AQHA world champions Ocean Runaway and Wave Carver.


Abigail Kawananakoa’s Chance To Fire continued his strong freshman campaign with a daylight victory in the opening Golden State Million trial. Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Chris O’Dell, Chance To Fire won by 1 ¼ lengths while covering the 400 yards in the third fastest qualifying time of :19.922. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire has won four of six starts this year and is now a three-time major futurity finalist. He finished third to the unbeaten KVN Corona in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 18 and second to J Fire Up in the Restricted Grade 2 Governor’s Cup Futurity. Outside of those two finishes, Chance To Fire has won all of his other starts.


“I was a little worried at first when I saw his final time,” O’Dell said. “I thought he had gone a little faster, but then (trainer) Paul Jones reminded me that a lot of these horses had never gone 400 yards and that his time was actually a pretty good one. He was right. I really like this horse. I second-guessed myself a little bit after the futurity finals thinking about what I could have done differently, but now we are here in these big futurities. All I wanted was to see him make the final. I think he will improve.” 


Purchased for $170,000 at the 2016 Los Alamitos Equine, Sale, Chance To Fire is out of the Separatist mare Elans Last, a daughter of the millionaire and Grade 1 All American Futurity winner Elans Special. Chance To Fire is a half-brother of multiple stakes winner Nymph and their family includes AQHA champion and multiple Grade 1 winner Catchmeinyourdreams and stakes winner Gotothemountain.


Paul Jones, Thompson Racing LLC, and Martha Wells’ Unblemished broke in and bumped at the start, but then flew the rest of the way to post a ¾ length win in trial number seven. The Foose gelding posted the fourth fastest time of :19.923 while improving his lifetime record to three wins in nine career starts.


“We’ve always liked this horse,” Jones said. “I liked his post position and he ran a really nice race. Horses mature at different times and I think he’s coming along at the right time. It’s nice to see him do what he did at 400 yards.”  


Unblemished’s dam is Without Fault, an Ed Allred-bred mare who was lightly raced during her 2 and 3-year-old years in 2012 and 2013. Without Fault showed her precociousness by winning her first two career starts as a 2-year-old for Allred. She then returned to compete in the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby and La Primera Del Ano Derby, finishing third in the process in her La Primera trial. She went on to the breeding shed after that start.    


Ron Hartley’s The Revenant posted a very business-like effort on the way to winning the fifth Golden State Million trial of the night. Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer John Cooper, The Revenant defeated Parsons Ranch’s A Political Lady by a half-length win to post his third win seven career starts. The gelding by Favorite Cartel covered the distance in :19.945 to earn the fifth fastest qualifying time to the Golden State Million on November 5. He’ll be making his third start in a futurity final after running third to J Fire Up in the Governor’s Cup and a third to the unbeaten KVN Corona in the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. Meanwhile, Cooper believes that the best is yet to come for the James Markum and Steve Burns-bred The Revenant.


“He’s improving and getting better and better,” Cooper said. “He lost his rear at the start of this race, but he got going very quickly and ran a nice race. A horse can’t do much if he is not able to get out of the gate. I think he’s getting much better at leaving the gate. To me, he’s the best 2-year-old out here. I wouldn’t trade him for any other horse.”     


Hartley and Cooper also teamed up with sixth fastest qualifier Black Fryday, the winner of the 10th and final trial of the night. The Favorite Cartel gelding was making only his third career start when posting a neck victory over Headed For Utah in a time of :19.990. Ramon Sanchez piloted the Steve Burns-bred runner.


EG High Desert Farms will also have a pair of runners in the Golden State Million final in Remember To Dash and Matilda Czech. A half-sister to The Revenant, Remember To Dash finished second to Call Me Cole in trial number six. Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer Valentin Zamudio, the First Down Dash filly posted the seventh fastest qualifying time of :19.997. Remember Me Rose, the dam of The Revenant and Remember To Dash, won nine of 18 career starts including the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby in 2007 and Southwest Juvenile Championship in 2006.  


Zamudio also saddled the Fast Prize Cartel filly Matilda Czech, who posted a ¾ length victory in the eighth trial of the night. Now a winner of four of six starts this year, Matilda Czech is out of the Corona Czech mare Short Czech, the winner of the Grade 1 Southern California Derby in 2008. Matilda Czech won her trial in a time of :20.006.


Two fillies, the aforementioned A Political Lady and Famous N Hot, completed the list of qualifiers to the Golden State Million. Cody Jensen piloted the Chris O’Dell trained A Political Lady to final time of :20.009 in her second place finish to The Revenant, while Dutch Masters III and Jaime Gomez’s Famous N Hot posted a time of :20.011 while running second to Unblemished in their trial. The Gomez-bred Famous N Hot is a filly by One Famous Eagle and out of the Corona Cartel mare Sizzling, the winner of the Junos Request Stakes at Remington Park in 2007. Famous N Hot is a full-sister to this year’s Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner Imaqtpie. Meanwhile, A Political Lady is by Apollitical Jess and out of the First Down Dash mare Another Wise Lady. A Political Lady is a half-sister to Thrice Wise, the winner of the John Deere California Juvenile in 2015.


The complete list of qualifiers to the Golden State Million Futurity is as follows: J Fire Up (:19.869), Call Me Cole (:19.906), Chance To Fire (:19.922), Unblemished (:19.923), The Revenant (:19.945), Black Fryday (:19.990), Remember To Dash (:19.997), Matilda Czech (:20.006), A Political Lady (:20.009), and Famous N Hot (:20.011).




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