LARC NEWS Posted: 5/12/2019 12:12:58 AM


             The dream continues for owner Juan Carlos Chavez thanks to his outstanding filly Striver, who edged the stakes placed Favorite Wise Lady by a nose to win the $30,000 La Pacifica Handicap at 350 yards on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Purchased for $17,000 at the 2017 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Striver has now earned $143,876 with $16,500 of that amount coming in the La Pacifica.

             Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Scott Willoughby, Striver flew out of the gate from post number five and then held off the late flying Favorite Wise Lady to win a time of :17.827. The victory was Striver’s fourth in 14 starts and her third in a stakes race.

            “I’m thrilled,” said Chavez, who is Willoughby’s assistant trainer. “I have to thank Scott Willoughby and Striver and the people that have helped me make this dream a reality with her. I didn’t think she would run as well as she did, but Cody Jensen rode a great race. This was one of the toughest fields Striver has faced and she got it done.”

Bred by Ed Allred, the gray filly by Foose and out of the A Classic Dash mare Motherless won the Stotz Equipment Stakes last year and also scored in the Dreaming Sweet Handicap on March 1. She also qualified to the first three futurities contested at Los Alamitos in 2018 in the form of the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, in which she finished second, plus the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity, and the Governor’s Cup Futurity. She entered this race after finishing fifth against male horses in the James Smith Memorial Handicap for 3-year-olds.  

            “The key (tonight) was too keep her relaxed and to help her do well in the starting gate,” Chavez added. “In her last race, she had a little bit of trouble in gates. She got antsy in there and I think that cost us the race. Having said that, owning her has really been a dream. I think it’s the dream that all of us that buy horses have: to one day win some big races. We’ve had this opportunity come up and we’ve been fortunate to win three stakes races and qualify to a couple of futurities. I just can’t ask for more from Striver.”

            Striver was the third choice in the wagering at 9-2 odds.

            Parsons Ranch’s Favorite Wise Lady enjoyed her best outing of the year in the La Pacifica. The Favorite Cartel filly was sixth at the start, but closed powerfully in the final 150 yards to earn second place money. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Favorite Wise Lady enjoyed a $6,250 share of the purse for her runner-up effort. The homebred filly ran second in the Governor’s Cup Futurity last year, but she had not finished in the top three in any of her others in 2019.

               Steve Burns’ Stel A Gambler earned $3,750 for her third place finisher in this race. She came into this outing after running third in the Grade 3 La Primera Del Año Derby. Jess Motions, the longest shot on the board at 20-1 odds was fourth. She was followed by the 7-2 favorite You Caught My Eye and then Sassy Favorite, No Telling, Razzel Dazzel, Anas Image and SC Coronada.

              The eight- race card at Los Alamitos also featured the debuts of several talented 2-year-old including the Chris O’Dell trained fillies Up And Coming, a $67,000 purchase at the 2018 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, and Tea Pod, a homebred filly owned by Parsons Ranch. La Feliz Montaña LLC’s Up And Coming and the Parsons’ Tea Pod both won in their respective debuts. Martha Wells’ Tell Cartel, a full brother to 2018 Town Policy Handicap winner My Favorite Cartel, also debuted with a victory on Saturday.  


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