LARC NEWS Posted: 3/10/2019 1:30:15 AM


           Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Terrific First Down followed her strong third place finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby with an outstanding daylight victory to post the fastest qualifying time to the $210,000 La Primera Del Ano Derby on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Seventeen fillies competed in the La Primera trials at 400 yards with the 10 fastest qualifiers returning for the Grade 3 final on Saturday, March 30. The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Terrific First Down (:19.703), Stel A Gambler (:19.834), No Telling (:19.847), Symbol Of Faith (:19.856), Jess Motions (:19.870), Selective (:19.925), Favorite Wise Lady (:19.975), Anas Image (:20.006), Always Dreaming (:20.009) and You Caught My Eye (:20.061).

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Terrific First Down broke in and bumped at the start, but then she shrugged the trouble off and instead flew to take the lead. She sailed away from her rivals from there, winning the second of two 400-yard trials by a length and in a time of :19.703. Having run third in each of her four starts, the filly by FDD Dynasty was picking up her first victory since July 27. She’s now won three of nine career starts.

“She’s starting to come back around,” Chris O’Dell said. “She had a lot of promise. We thought she was one of our better ones. She had a barn accident. She got hurt in the barn. She kind of hurt her withers a little bit. This happened about three races back. As you watch her racing form, she’s getting a little better each race. It takes time to get over that kind of stuff. She’s starting to get her confidence back and feel better. We did chiropractic work on her, massages, etc. We spent a lot of time on her. It’s good to see our efforts resulting in some nice races from her. She has a lot of potential and hopefully she races for a couple of more years.”

Terrific First Down’s mother is Terrific Energy, who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Thermonuclear Energy, graded stakes winner Terrific Synergy and stakes winners Designs By Dynasty.

The opening trial of the night went to Dr. Steve Burns’ Stel A Gambler, who entered the trials as a maiden after nine career starts. In picking up her maiden victory, Stel A Gambler covered the distance in the second fastest qualifying time of :19.834 for jockey Jonathan Roman and trainer Mike Casselman.  

“She ran a good race,” Casselman said. “We’ve been excited about her and hoped that she qualified. We didn’t break her maiden before and just took a shot in the La Primera. We figured that if we didn’t qualify that we would go back and run her in a maiden race. We’re fortunate. I was really glad to see Jonathan Roman getting to ride this filly and qualify her. He’s put in a lot of time and effort and has helped us with everything. I really appreciate that.” 

Stel A Gambler ran third in last year’s Autumn Handicap and finished second in her trials to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity. The daughter of Stel Corona is out of Baccarat Bar, who is also the dam of Governor’s Cup Futurity and Derby finalist Casino Baccarat.



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