LARC NEWS Posted: 7/29/2018 2:54:20 AM



        It was a profitable Saturday night for Ron Hartley’s Black Fryday, as the gelding by Favorite Cartel broke perfectly from the outside post nine to win the $203,000 Governor’s Cup Derby in wire-to-wire fashion. Abigail Kawanakoa’s Chance To Fire ran second ahead of Dont Foose With Me, while J Fire Up, the AQHA champion 2-year-old filly last year, broke slow and finished fourth.

       “The start - that’s what this game is about,” Hartley said. “Black Fryday had a good break. He took the lead and that was it. I used to go see this horse at Burns Ranch when he was a yearling. My office in Menifee is about three miles away from the ranch so I visit often. I would see Black Fryday at the ranch and liked him a lot.”

       When Burns Ranch consigned Black Fryday to the 2016 Heritage Place Sale, Hartley followed.

      “I wanted the horse and bought him for $30,000,” he said. “He’s been pretty good. He’s always been right there. He finally got one.”

       Black Fryday was second in the Grade 3 El Primero Del Ano Derby earlier this year and fifth to J Fire Up in the Grade 1 Golden State Futurity last year. He earned $83,160 for his Governor’s Cup win to take his career earnings to $197,110.

       Piloting Black Fryday for trainer John Cooper in the Governor’s Cup Derby was Eddie Garcia, this track’s all-time leading jockey in wins and stakes win. Garcia had previously won this race with the champion Four Forty Blast in 1993 and with the Cooper-trained champion Separatist in 2000. This was Garcia’s 150th stakes victory at Los Alamitos.

      “Eddie is a money rider,” Cooper said. “He’s won a lot of stakes races for me over the years.”

       Cooper has been a money trainer during his great career and he’s done well in the Governor’s Cup Derby. He saddled the great Moonist to victory in this derby back in 2014 and also saddled J. & T. Hogins’ Aladuino to victory in the 1983 running. Cooper is this derby’s all-time leading trainer with four victories.

          Bred by Dr. Steve Burns, DVM, Black Fryday is out of the Separatist mare Ruths Chris. The gelding covered the 400 yards in :19.685 while finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Chance To Fire. Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Chris O’Dell, Chance To Fire earned $33,660 for the win. Spackman Racing and Lin Melton’s Dont Foose With Me ran third with J Fire Up, Unblemished, Yanque, Casino Baccarat, My Favorite Cartel, One More Cigarr, and Ditto Head completing the field.   


        Owner John Firth enjoyed his first stakes victory at Los Alamitos thanks to Hard Headed Chick’s hard-fought victory over Bill Absher and Leland Decker’s Chowchilla Chickadee in the $25,000 California Breeders Debutante Stakes. Hard Headed Chick has been knocking at the door of a stakes win for a few months now. She was second in the Grade 3 La Primera Del Ano Derby earlier this year and finished third to the red-hot filly A Political Lady in the La Pacifica Handicap on May 12. She came into this race after winning a photo finish in an allowance race on July 1.

       “It’s been agonizing because we’ve been trying to get her a (stakes) win,” Firth said. “She’s shown us a lot but we just couldn’t knock down a win. With this win she’s right around $100,000. This is just a lot of fun. I’ve never owned a horse that’s been this good. We’re having a great time. I’ve been around a lot of great horses (at Firth Ranch) like Moonist, AJS Anna Smoke, One Proud Eagle for the clients, but it’s special to finally get one of my own that can run a little bit.”    

       Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Lin Melton, Hard Headed Chick covered the 350 yards in :17.699. This was her fifth win in 15 career starts. The Cooper-trained Chowchilla Chickadee was second with Better Than Ever running third. 


       Owned and bred by Martha Wells, Red Hawk Cartel, a full brother to Governor’s Cup Derby finalist Yanque, scored one of the biggest upsets in the history of California Breeders Champions Night history after paying $127.20 for his win in the $25,000 Freshman Stakes. Making only his third start of the year and facing a field that included Ed Burke Memorial Juvenile winner Ali Babe Foose, Red Hawk Cartel delivered his surprising win from post eight while covering the 350-yard distance in :17.77.

       Red Hawk Cartel’s maiden victory arrived after a pair of out of the money finishes in his previous two career starts. His connections will be hoping that this can be the start of great things for the new stakes winner. The colt by Favorite Cartel is eligible to run in both the Golden State Million Futurity trials later this year and in the 2019 Los Alamitos Super Derby trials. A winner of $13,750 in this race, Red Hawk Cartel was ridden to victory by Alberto Zepeda.   

      Wells and Fales also teamed up with the second place finisher in this race, the Stel Corona filly Yoffi. Wells also bred Yoffi, who was making only her second start at Los Alamitos after debuting at Turf Paradise. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez, Yoffi earned $5,625.


      EG High Desert Farms-homebred gelding Diamonds Blue Eye was another upset winner, his victory coming in the $25,000 Jens List Memorial Stakes, but at much lower odds than those of 62-1 shot Red Hawk Cartel. Sent off at 15-1 odds, Diamonds Blue Eye pulled away from Jess Bet Me from post number one on the way to wire-to-wire 1 ¼ length win.

      With Jonathan Roman up, Diamonds Blue Eye covered the 400 yards in :19.815. This was the Corona Czech gelding’s second win from his last three starts. Now a winner of three of six lifetime outings, Diamonds Blue Eye earned $13,750 for the win to more than double his career earnings to $25,875. Jesus Nunez saddled the sophomore runner out of Letty Bail Regis Out, the winner of the 2012 California Breeders Debutante Stakes. 

       “Letty Bail Regis Out was a nice filly,” recalled Enrique Gonzalez of EG High Desert Farms. “We retired her because of a few leg issues, but we’re excited about her prospects as a broodmare. Diamonds Blue Eye is her first foal and we have a few more that we’re looking forward to race in the future.”

       Herasmo and Salvador Hernandez and Jose Gutierrez’s Jess Bet Me earned $5,625 for running second, his sixth straight top three finish. The Revenant, a multiple graded stakes finalist and the favorite in this race, ran third.      


        There were a pair of claiming stakes races held on California Breeders Champions Night. In the $15,000 Senior Claiming Stakes for $5,000 claimers, EG High Desert Farms’ South West Red enjoyed the class relief and cruised to victory in the $15,000 race at 400 yards in a time of :20.069.

       South West Red, who had been facing $10,000 claimers in his most recent starts and finished third against $20,000 claimers in March, earned $8,250 for the win. This was his third win in 20 career starts. The homebred 4-year-old gelding is by Red Hot Rhythm and out of 2008 Southern California Derby winner Short Czech. Jairo Rangel piloted South West Red for trainer Jesus Nunez.

        The $17,500 Sophomore Claiming Stakes for $10,000 claimers went to Carol and Michelle Cooper’s Worker, who is now a four-time winner in his career. Third against $12,500 claimers on June 16, The Foose gelding was saddled to victory by John Cooper. Oscar Peinado rode the Ed Allred-bred runner to victory in a 350-yard time of :17.792. He earned $3,938 for the win.


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