LARC NEWS Posted: 12/15/2017 7:33:39 PM


                The Rush Limbaugh Show’s followers are referred to as “Ditto-heads”. Ditto Head, the Foose gelding owned by Dominic “Bud” Alessio’s Fortuna Properties, is hoping that it is his opponents in Sunday’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity that are doing the following in the rich 400-yard final.

“I got Ditto Head’s name from listening to the radio show,” Alessio (left) said. “I really like this horse. He’s now made two futurity finals. His dam is Lavish La Jolla by Streakin La Jolla, who I bought some years ago.”

Ditto Head is the second foal out of Lavish La Jolla that has made the Los Alamitos Two Million. She also produced Lavish Susan, who made the race in 2012 and also qualified to the Los Alamitos Super Derby, La Primera Del Ano Derby and Southern California Derby in 2013.  

The Alessio name has been highly prominent in horse racing since the late 1940s, as this was the year that John Alessio, a California entrepreneur, was hired as the assistant general manager at the famous Caliente Race Track in Tijuana. Over the next 17 years, Alessio turned the track into the largest legal gambling book on the North American continent. The Alessio name remains as respected in racing today as ever, as Alessio's son, Dominic "Bud" Alessio, serves as the president of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association, a post that he has held since 1993.

"My father was responsible for a lot of gimmick propositions while at Caliente," said Alessio. "He came up with the '5-10' bet, which is today's Pick 6. The '5-10' bet consisted of six races, the fifth through the 10th race, and you had to pick winners of the six races. He originated the parlay bets, and the '1,2,3,' bet or the Trifecta as it is known today."

John Alessio also developed the Caliente safety helmets in 1955, an instrument that helped save many jockeys' lives over the years. Mr. Alessio donated most of the proceeds from the invention to the Jockey Guild, which named him Man of the Year in Racing in 1957.

Named Dominic in honor of his grandfather, “Bud” Alessio learned sharp business practices not only from this father, but also from his own management experiences. The young Alessio, his brothers, and brother-in-law owned and operated Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park in the early 1970s, before selling the famous track in the Ruidoso mountains to the Ruidoso Jockey Club later in that decade.

"I was part of the ownership group the first year that the All American Futurity offered a $1 million purse," explained Alessio, while referring to Moon Lark's victory in the '78 running of the race.

Following the sales of Ruidoso Downs as well as Sunland Park, Bud Alessio purchased his first racehorse.

"I never had horses while I ran the tracks," he said. "Then my first two horses that I owned became the stakes winners. I thought, 'well, how easy is this game?' I've been in the sport as an owner and breeder ever since. The year I got out of the New Mexico tracks, I started thinking about getting into owning horses," Alessio remembered. "The racing secretary at Caliente track was friends with (the late) Hank Ward and he knew that I could probably buy a horse from Hank. We got in the car and went to his place and bought one. The name was Thanks To Cute Bar and Connie Hall trained the horse. She trained for Hank at the time and he put me in contact with her. We won a $100,000 stakes race and Millie Vessels gave me the trophy in the winner's circle. Challenger Seven was my next horse and he also won stakes races."

The victories were coming in his home state of California at Los Alamitos Race Course. "I always knew of Los Alamitos even when I was a kid because my family was good friends with the Vessels. I knew Millie and she always took care of me. I knew R.D. Hubbard and 'Doc' Allred; everyone in Quarter Horse racing was great. The Quarter Horse people are down to earth people, the type that if you meet them once they are your friends. I've always loved the social aspect of it."

Perhaps there will be another win to celebrate on Sunday night.


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