LARC NEWS Posted: 1/29/2018 1:02:01 AM


         Leslie Braker and Todd Williams’ Rf Might Be A Hero had a large cheering section on track for the trials to the $107,500 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday night.


Braker had traveled from his home state of Utah for the race in the company of many members of his family. It certainly made for a special winner’s circle for the Brakers after Rf Might Be A Hero posted an impressive 1 ½ length win in the second of five trials to the Maiden Stakes at 350 yards. The gelding by Mighty B Valiant covered the distance in :17.723, which earned him the honor of the fastest qualifying time of the trials. Thirty eight horses competed in the trials with the 10 fastest advancing to the final to be held here on February 18. In order to be eligible to the Maiden Stakes trials, horses had to be maidens as of December 1, 2017.


Bred in Utah by Reese Farms Quarter Horse LLC, Rf Might Be A Hero was second in his career debut in a trial to the Hadley/Giles Memorial Futurity at Weber Downs in Utah. He then finished third in a trial to the Bitterroot Futurity at Sandy Downs in Idaho Falls, but missed qualifying to the big final. He followed that nice effort by running second in the $10,000 Bitterroot Juvenile Stakes at Sandy Downs.


“We bought (Rf Might Be A Hero) a year and a half ago,” Braker said. “He ran three races and he was doing a little better each time, but he got sore. He needed a small operation and that’s why the six months off.”

He didn’t run again until a fifth place finish at Los Alamitos on this meet’s opening on Friday, December 29. His next start was this impressive trial win. 


“We liked him well enough that we decided to bring him to California and try the Maiden Stakes. I’m good friends with Jeff and Kim Pitcher. I knew the race was coming up and we had talked about it when I can down for the Los Alamitos Equine Sale. Todd and I talked about it and we said’ we have to put him in if we can get him ready in time.’  He healed up. I think it was tough to get him ready. Jeff and (Paul) did a great job. We brought him down here to Paul’s ranch and left him there. They worked on him hard to get him ready. He was just out of shape. We had to wait four to five months before we ever touched him again after the surgery.”


Jesus Rios Ayala piloted the 6-1 shot Rf Might Be A Hero from post number five.


The second fastest qualifying time went to Firey Colt, a gelding by Walk Thru Fire bred by John Andreini and Zory Kuzyk, who won the opening trial by 1 ¼ lengths in a time of :17.746. Purchased at the 2016 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Firey Colt came into this race after a third place finish in that same December 29 race that also featured fastest qualifier Rf Might Be A Hero. Power Thinker, another Maiden Stakes trial winner on Sunday, came in first in that highly productive maiden event.


Rodolfo Arvizu piloted the EG High Desert Farms-owned runner Firey Colt for trainer Lorenzo Campuzano.


“The horse is doing well and has been improving,” said Enrique Gonzalez of EG High Desert Farms. “I think the issue with this horse is that he’s a young horse. He’s an April foal. He didn’t have experience. Now he’s older and more experienced. I feel that’s helped him.”


Gonzalez was awarded the Frank Vessels, Sr., Memorial Award at the PCQHRA Awards Banquet on Thursday, January 25. The award is given in appreciation to an individual that has made a major contribution to the sport of Quarter Horse racing in California.


“I’m so grateful to everyone at Los Alamitos headed by Dr. Allred,” Gonzalez said. “We are fortunate that Los Alamitos makes it possible so that we are able to enjoy the sport that we all love. I’m very thankful for the award and the warm reception that I received. It took me by surprise. I was not expecting it, but it was a nice feeling.”  


Tom Atwood’s Ar Royal Blue finished strongly after a veering at the start to win the third Maiden Stakes trial in a time of :17.889. The time made the Favorite Cartel gelding the third fastest qualifier of the night. Bred by Dr. Steve Burns, Ar Royal Blue was posting his second victory in five career starts. He broke his maiden here on December 2.


“I was worried after I saw the start when he broke in,” trainer Jose Hernandez, Jr. said. “I thought we were in trouble. He’s a really good finisher. I was just concerned someone would just close him up. It worked out and he showed a lot of run in the end. Thankfully we came up with the win.”


The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Rf Might Be A Hero (:17.723), Firey Colt (:17.746), Ar Royal Blue (:17.889), Missmerizing (:17.922), Power Thinker (:17.929), Devil In A Blue Suit (:17.933), Apollitical Heart (:17.939), Alamode (:17.994), Fury Of Innocence (:18.001), and Eyes The Favorite (:18.009).




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