LARC NEWS Posted: 5/21/2018 3:06:02 AM


            Moments after Legacy Ranch’s Wicked Affair finished powerfully to win the Grade 2, $321,800 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity on Sunday night at Los Alamitos, winning trainer Terry Knight reflected on what Adair had meant to his career, which began in large part thanks to “Bobby” more than 40 years ago.

“It’s a sentimental race because Bobby Adair is the one that gave me my start,” Knight said. “He gave me my first two horses to train. He believed enough of me when I was 19-years-old that he gave me two horses to train for people he knew. Lo and behold, I won my first race for him. I ran two that night and they both won. I’m sure Bobby Adair had something to do with this (winning the 2018 Kindergarten).”

The One Sweet Jess filly Wicked Affair had a lot to do with it as well. Racing from the outside post 10 in the 300-yard race, Wicked Affair was fourth at the start under jockey Jesus Rios Ayala. And while there was a lot of bumping and veering and lugging with the horses in the middle portion of the track, Wicked Affair stayed out of most of that trouble and quietly began to make up ground. The homebred filly did veer in steadily during the late stages of the race, but by then she had her eyes set on the early leader Striver, eventually catching her and then sailing away to record a ¾ length victory in a time of :15.36. Owned by Juan Carlos Chavez, Striver held on for second place ahead of Norma Cano’s Ms Ko.

Wicked Affair’s impressive effort came as no surprise to her connections, as Knight had always considered her a special talent.

“When we started breaking her, I just loved everything about her,” said Knight, the son of top Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred trainer, Chay Knight. “We started training her a little more and she just got better and better. She just showed us a lot right from the start. She’s very smart and very athletic with a huge stride, just everything you look for. We had a little trouble when we qualified her. I didn’t have anyone to work with company the second time. She worked (well), but didn’t really get out of it what we really needed.”

Wicked Affair won her debut by only a head over Striver back on April 14, not the type of runaway victory that some had predicted from her following a couple of wickedly fast morning drills.

“(Ayala) said that on the night that she won that she was still pretty green,” Knight said. “She really didn’t know what to do. She saw the horse in front of her and ran her down, but she needed more experience.”

The Kindergarten Futurity trials on May 6 were next on the docket for Wicked Affair, but some minor health issues jeopardized her appearance in those trials

“She wasn’t right coming into the trials,” the trainer added. “I was 50/50 to run her. The last few days (before the trials) she got better. Temperature was fine. She ate fine until the last couple of days going into the trials. It was a real tough decision. It could have gone either way.”

Wicked Affair ended up running on trial night and finished second to fastest qualifier SC Money Maker, crossing the wire 1 ¼ lengths behind the talented Oklahoma invader. More importantly, her final time of :15.52 was fast enough to earn her a spot in the Kindergarten final, but still far behind SC Money Maker’s top clocking of :15.31.   

“I told Pete (Parrella of Legacy Ranch) after the race, ‘you know we might be okay or we might be worse for wear,’ but she did terrific after the trial race,” Knight continued. “She turned around in four or five days and she was back to herself. She came back to the paddock tonight and I told Pete, ‘this is a different horse tonight.’ I’m excited for (Legacy Ranch). They’ve done a lot for the business. They deserve it.”

For Pete and Evelyn Parrella, it’s the fine people working at their Legacy Ranch in Clements, California that most deserve to enjoy this moment.

“This is the best thing that could have happen for Terry and the people at the ranch, all the people behind the scenes that make this happen,” Pete Parrella said. “My wife and I we show up, but (they) do all the hard work. Terry, the gallop boys, everybody behind the scenes, they are so important. Terry has been so high on this horse since day one. He told me in the paddock that this was a different horse tonight. He said if we break, they won’t beat us. She didn’t break and she still won.

“Terry has done a remarkable job. It’s been a year since he’s been there (as ranch manager and resident trainer) and has changed a lot of things,” Parrella continued. “We have our program moving in the right direction and we’re real proud of everything that is going on at the ranch. We have a lot of nice horses and hopefully this is the start of something new for us. My wife named the horse Wicked Affair and I just loved the name. We’re just blessed. She stumbled coming out of there and I just said to myself ‘just get a piece of it.’ If she would have split the field, I would have been happy. To have this filly win the race by ¾ lengths in a time of :15.36, it’s pretty special. We’re very fortunate.”

“She’s such a great filly,” Evelyn Parrella added. “She has always been amazing and we’re so proud of her. We’re thrilled that we won.  Everybody at the ranch pitches in on all of the horses and Terry is an amazing trainer. Everybody works so very hard and everybody is watching it tonight. Congratulations to all of them.”

Wicked Affair earned $135,156 for the win to take her career earnings to $140,341. She’s won two of three career outings and her Kindergarten win gave Knight, an accomplished Thoroughbred trainer with 894 wins and more than $13 million in earnings with the breed, his first Quarter Horse stakes win at Los Alamitos. As for Wicked Affair’s breeding lines, the Legacy Ranch-bred filly is out of Burr Cold, a mare that the Parrellas campaign during her 10 race career, which included three wins, two of them against allowance rivals.

“We have Burr Cold at the ranch and she’s a nice mare,” Pete Parrella added. “She’s a hard-knocking mare. You never know in this business where it’s going to come from. The racing gods blessed us tonight. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in the (Kindergarten) books. Daily Triple won this race for us many years ago (1993) with Brian Koriner as the trainer. It’s been a long time. We’re tickled to be here. Hopefully the filly (Wicked Affair) comes back nicely for the Ed Burke Million Futurity trials and we’ll try it again.” 

Ridden by Cesar Franco and trained by Scott Willoughby, Striver earned $54,706 for her second place effort. The filly also came into the race after winning her Kindergarten trial in the second fastest qualifying time – only behind the even money favorite SC Money Maker.  Ed Allred bred the Foose filly.

            “It was a tough race and I expect it to be a tough race,” said Juan Carlos Chavez, owner of Striver and Willoughby’s assistant trainer. “There was some trouble in the race, but she did well. It was a nice race for her third outing. She came back fantastic after the race - no problems - and we’re looking forward to seeing her in the Ed Burke Million Futurity trials, Governor’s Cup Futurity trials, and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials. We’re preparing for some good races and I have faith that she’ll run well. She’s a good filly and proved it tonight. I have to thank Scott for helping me and for training her, and I’m so grateful for all the work he’s done with her. I’m still learning a lot from him as a horsemen and I’ll keep working hard to do so.”

Ridden by Jonathan Roman for trainer Ricardo Guillen, Ms Ko earned $38,616 for running third. Erik Flores bred the daughter of Corona Cartel. Reliances Ranches’ SC Coronada and SC Money Maker finished fourth and fifth, respectively after very troubled journeys in which they were bumped. Both SC Coronada and SC Money Maker are out of the champion mare Spit Curl Diva. Tac Me Up crossed the wire sixth and was followed by Cole Man 47, Pack Light, Fast Amanda Rose, and Delayed Steal, who was disqualified from ninth and placed 10th because of interference during the running of the race. 




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