LARC NEWS Posted: 7/29/2018 5:46:32 AM



           S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire (left) became only the third Quarter Horse in history to go over the $2.2 million mark in career earnings after dominating victory in her 2018 debut in the running of the Restricted Grade 1, $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

            Heza Dasha Fire’s victory was worth $50,000 to bring his lifetime earnings to $2,217,987. Ochoa, who has earned a record $2,781,365, and Stolis Winner are the only other horses to reach the $2.2 million mark. Heza Dasha Fire is now only $24,675 for moving past Stolis Winner in the earnings list.

            Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Heza Dasha Fire had a 1 ½ length lead at the midway point of the Spence Childers and from there he cruised to a final winning margin of ¾ lengths over LD Is Back. Heza Dasha Fire covered the 400 yards in :19.546 while recording his 16th win 22 career starts. The 6-year-old gelding by Walk Thru Fire has finished out of the money only once in his career. The Spencer Childers is also the 2015 AQHA world champion’s 10th career stakes win. Yet, as easy as Heza Dasha Fire made everything look on Saturday night, the days leading up to the Spencer Childers were anything but easy for his team.

     “I don’t have enough word to describe (Heza Dasha Fire),” Flores said. “He’s amazing. We had some issues with him last week. He almost didn’t run tonight. Luckily, Dr. Rick Overly and his team did a great job with him and got him going the way he’s supposed to. Hopefully tomorrow everything is good and Dr. Overly will be looking at him for the next week or so to make sure he’s okay. The Bank of America California Championship is in two weeks and it’s still a maybe or maybe not for him. He still has problems from the Leptospirosis he got two years ago. The horse has had problems because of it on and off. When he tells us something is off, we stop. If he remains healthy and sound then we’ll keep going with him. We’ll go from there.”    

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection with various symptoms that include weight loss, eye redness and swelling, uveitis, abdominal pain, dysuria, etc. It is believed that Heza Dasha Fire contracted the infection in December of 2016.

“We have to give a lot of credit to Dr. Overly and his staff,” said Don Meneely of S-Quarter K LLC. “They, along with Jose, were on top of everything right from the start. With us being 1,000 miles away we were on top of it as much as we could. They have a great team behind him and they did the absolute best for him and kept a close watch on him. Everything was fine today and he had been eating well the last three or four days. He was ready to go.”

There was no stopping Heza Dasha Fire in the Spencer Childers, his fourth win December of 2016.  

“Every time I’m in a slump, this horse seems to get me out,” Flores added. “I wish this would last my whole life, but there’s only so much that can happen. It’s been a tough week because we lost our great friend and a great owner in John Andreini. I know he’s watching from up there. He would always call me after we did well. We’re going to miss him a lot.”

As for Heza Dasha Fire, this was his ninth Grade 1 or Restricted Grade 1 victory of his career.

“He broke like a rocket and that’s always good to see,” Meneely added. “He had to have his blinkers replaced behind the gate, but he is a professional. You are always concern when it’s the first race of the year, but when you see him break out of the gate on top and those first 200 years he just exploded, which was really fun to see. For his first race out he finished pretty strong and that was a respectable time. He’ll race again in two weeks if he’s right. We’re very pleased.”

Darling Farms, Jaime Gomez, and Valeriano Racing Stable’s LD Is Back earned $21,500 for running second. Tarzanito finished third. Royaltys Authority, Katella Deli, and Renewed completed the field.           


Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Thermonuclear Energy finished powerfully, as she often does, to win the $40,000 Matron Stakes by ¾ lengths over a star-studded field of mares on Saturday.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio from post number seven for trainer Chris O’Dell, Thermonuclear Energy was third at the start of the 400 yards and trailed early leaders Jess Mas and Jess Hawk. But soon after the first 100 yards, the Walk Thru Fire mare’s long strides began to eat up ground and it didn’t take long for her to take the top spot.

“She broke a little bit sluggish, but for her it was decent,” O’Dell said. “She ran down through there and turned on the afterburners from there. It wasn’t pretty but she got the job done. She shows up every time. We’ll be looking at the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap next.”

The Matron Stakes served as a good preview of the distaffers that figure to be in action in the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels in September. In addition to Thermonuclear Energy, Matron Stakes runner-up Jess Hawk and third place finisher Jess Mas figure to be a part of the Mildred Vessels. And so could Kiddy Up Cowgirl, the winner of the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap earlier this year, but the fifth place finisher after troubled journey in this race.

Thermonuclear Energy will likely be the mare to beat in the Mildred Vessels not only because of her victory in the Matron, but also because of her great work in her other two outings of 2018. The 5-year-old homebred mare won the Ivan Ashment Handicap in her last start and finished second to Kiddy Up Cowgirl in the Charger Bar. Thermonuclear Energy earned $22,000 for the win to take her career earnings to $317,257. She’s won nine of 23 career starts.

EG High Desert Farms’ Jess Hawk, winner of the Miss Princess Handicap on May 13, earned $9,000 for running second. Jess Hawk also finished third when facing the boys in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship. She was fifth to 2016 AQHA champion 3-year-old gelding Zoomin For Spuds, in the Vessels Maturity earlier this month.

Jess Mas, Strawfinders Jessee, Kiddy Up Cowgirl, Tough To Figure, and Maggie Durant completed the field.


Oscar Andrade and Dr. Steve Burns’ Uno Corona Mas scored his first win since taking the Grade 2 Southern California Derby in 2016 thanks to a perfect journey in the $25,000 California Breeders Sprint Stakes at 350 yards.

Ridden by Carlos Huerta, Uno Corona Mas covered the distance in :17.686 while defeating the hard-knocking gelding GS Wintermeyer by a head at 13-1 odds. In between his win in the Southern California Derby on December 18, 2016 and Saturday’s Sprint Stakes, Uno Corona Mas had seven straight races. He got it done in style on California Breeders Champions Night.

“He’s been hit and miss,” trainer Elena Andrade said. “He had a pretty long layoff (prior to his 2018 debut) and trying to find his groove again has been kind of rough. We’ve had to change a lot of things. In the gates, he’s got some little issues. He’s not crazy, he’s not a bad gate, but he is a stud so he gets rough in there. He gets heavy headed. We’re taking baby steps with him. This is a nice win and hopefully it helps him to continue to do well the rest of the year.”

The 5-year-old horse earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $124,247. He’s won four of 19 starts. Owned by Oscar Parra and trained by Valentin Zamudio, GS Wintermeyer earned $5,625 for finishing second. Still Trying, Gronkowski, My Favorite Check, Lotta Blues Man, and Chicks Fayvorite completed the field.


Maria Gomez’s Rockin Asteroid has been an Iron Horse in 2018. The 3-year-old gelding by Parsons Rock was making his 10th start of the year in Saturday’s $20,000 California Breeders 550-Yard Stakes and his hard work was rewarded with a ½ length victory in a hand time of :27.20. Trained by John Cooper, Rockin Asteroid earned $11,000 for the win to take his career bankroll to $53,696. He has posted other solid effort, including a second place finish in an allowance race and runner-up efforts against high-level claimers in back-to-back starts last month. This was his third victory in 18 starts.



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