LARC NEWS Posted: 2/26/2018 12:41:03 AM


           Steve Mickaelian and Jose Flores’ graded stakes finalist Apollitical Stone raced flawlessly from post number one to win the running of the $15,000 Oatman Handicap at 400 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.


Ridden by Cruz Mendez, who is winning races at a 29% ratio in 2018, Apollitical Stone took the lead shortly after the start and from there he cruised to a 1 ¾ length victory in the Oatman. The talented gelding by Apollitical Jess was fourth in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity behind KVNCorona and J Fire Up and Chance To Fire, who were the three PCQHRA divisional champions in the 2-year-old division last year. Apollitical Stone then qualified to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, which was won the unbeaten AQHA champion KVN Corona.


Apollitical Stone came into this race after back-to-back seventh place efforts, including his 2018 debut in a trial to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby, but he looked like he was at his best in the Oatman. He covered the distance in :19.864 while earning $8,250 for the win to his lifetime earnings over the $100,000 mark. Apollitical Stone improved to $108,118 for the win while also picking up his fourth win in nine career starts. The race was a special one for co-owner Mickaelian, as it marked his first stakes victory at Los Alamitos.


“I’m very happy,” Mickaelian said. “It’s my first stakes win here. The horse had been training very well since his last race. We wondered a little bit about the rail, but the horse handled it beautifully. He got out of there and didn’t make any mistakes this time. It’s pretty exciting and maybe there will be more (stakes wins) to come. He’s definitely the best horse I’ve owned.”


Aron Saenz’s Favorite Fire Boy earned $3,375 for his runner-up effort in the Oatman. The Wyoming-bred colt by Favorite Cartel came into this race after running third in a trial to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on January 20. He missed qualifying, but he showed he’ll be a horse to watch in 2018 by returning a runner-up effort against a quality Grade 1 finalist like Apollitical Stone. Ridden by Cesar De Alba, Favorite Fire Boy, who was third in last year’s Wild West Futurity, has now earned $30,713. Corona Thru Fire, Seems Even Better, and Time To Leave completed the field.



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