LARC NEWS Posted: 7/29/2019 6:16:19 AM

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PARTY TIME FOR PITBULL IN GOVERNOR’S CUP FUTURITY

             Fastest qualifier Pitbull (photo) and his connections were living It up on California Breeders Champions Night at Los Alamitos after the colt by Favorite Cartel scored a half-length victory over Runforyourlife in the Restricted Grade 2, $365,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Sent off as the 9-5 favorite from post number three, Pitbull broke alongside Max My Bullets and Cattail Cove in the 350-yard dash, but when jockey Ruben Lozano asked him for more, he responded to take the lead. Owned by Cesar Nunez and trained by Valentin Zamudio, Pitbull was the leader of the pack from that point on, covering the distance in :17.610. The 2-year-old is undefeated so far in his career.

“Three races, three wins,” said Nunez, a native of Sonora, Mexico. “He’s been outstanding. I saw the horse for the first time just three days ago. He’s magnificent. This horse was selected by a couple of my friends (at the 2018 Los Alamitos Equine Sale). They found the horse, and me being in Mexico just said that I was leaving the horse in their hands. It was a great pick of a horse by them.”

Rafael Monteverde, a longtime horse owner at Los Alamitos Race Course, was among those that helped find the Steve Burns-bred runner for Nunez.

“Rafael has raced horses for a very long time at Los Alamitos,” Nunez said. “I have to thank him for helping to select this horse. I felt it would be a tough race because our horse didn’t have much experience. He broke on top and he remained there. It was a great result. We also just met Valentin Zamudio a few days ago. It’s all been new to me, but it’s been a great experience. We’ll keep racing here.”

Purchased for $40,000, Pitbull earned $151,200 for the win.   

“He was always very easy going and intelligent,” Zamudio added. “He has a wonderful demeanor and I think all of those qualities have helped him become a nice horse. I see how much he enjoys running. Things have worked out nicely. The competition will get stronger with each race and just hope he keeps doing things well. The horses has always shown us talent. He’s never been headed by another horse up to this point. We hope it continues. The competition was very strong. It’s never easy in a race like of this quality.”

With this victory, Zamudio scored the richest win of his training career. His previous biggest win came two years ago with Stelfast in the $224,100 El Primero Del Año Derby.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great help with (Pitbull),” the trainer said. “Jockey Ruben Lozano and the team that surrounds me have been great. I’m very blessed. We’ll now look at the trials to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and then the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.”

Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Runforyourlife earned $43,200 for running second for jockey Eduardo Nicasio and trainer Chris O’Dell. Link Newcomb’s Cattail Cove finished third and was followed by Cartel Jess Rockin, Max My Bullets, A Mere Felix, Up For Speed, Bono Is Good, Lebowski, and Come Forth.  

POWERFUL FAVORITE DOMINATES ANOTHER DERBY, WINS GOVERNOR’S CUP

            Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Powerful Favorite won his third derby of the year, while improving his 2019 record to perfect six for six after posting a dominant 1 ½ length victory in the $195,000 Governor’s Cup Derby on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

            Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, the 2-5 favorite Powerful Favorite broke on the lead from post number 10 and was never challenged from there on the way to covering the 400 yards in :19.565. The gelding by Favorite Cartel had previously won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby and the Grade 3 El Primero Del Año Derby. The track record for most derby wins is four set by Moonist in 2014. Powerful Favorite also became the eighth horse to win both the Governor’s Cup Futurity and Derby. He’s the first to sweep the two races since Hot Hitter in 2009-10.      

            “We are (Los Alamitos) Super Derby bound,” said O’Dell when asked about the horse’s future. “(Connie Rosenthal) made the $30,000 late payment to make him eligible to the Super Derby trials. (The Governor’s Cup) is a nice race ecause he won the futurity last year and we like to support the California-bred program. The derbies are close to each other – the Golden State Derby trials are next week – so you can’t run him in both. I have a nice filly, Terrific First Down, who is not California bred. I chose to run her in the Golden State Derby trials and put him in this race. He’s rolled off six wins now. When he broke it was over. He’s learned how to leave there. He’s so quiet in there. When (Galloping Goddess) broke through I thought it might bother us a little bit, but he’s turned into a professional. His heart must be as big as a watermelon. You can’t beat the Favorite Cartels down the track. This horse can run.”

            “He’s an amazing horse,” winning rider Eduardo Nicasio added. “He’s getting better and better with each race. He was in the gates for a long time, but he never moved. For a second I was nervous and I started thinking that maybe he wouldn’t break, but he left there beautiful. What else can I say? After the 300 yard mark it was easy. He’s a nice horse. I hope he stays sound and go to the Los Alamitos Super Derby.”

            Powerful Favorite earned $79,800 for the win to take his career earnings to $579,935. He’s now won nine of 15 career starts.

“It was my birthday two days ago,” Connie Rosenthal said. “This was a nice birthday present.”

            Rosenthal paid a nice chunk of change to make Powerful Favorite eligible to the Super Derby trials on October 19, but the owner said that there was never any hesitation in her mind to make the late payment.

“Chris said ‘I need $30,000 to put him in the Super Derby trials. Can you mail it to me today?’ So I did,” the owner said. “I put all my trust and faith in Chris. I knew about horse racing only through my husband (the late Bob Rosenthal), but I didn’t follow it or was a student of the sport like he was. This whole process has made me a student of it. My husband always trusted his trainer, from H.L. Hooper to Blane Schvaneveldt and now to Chris O’Dell. We couldn’t have asked for better trainers. Hooper taught us about the business. Blane took us through it. Chris has brought us to here. I can’t be any happier about what has happened. It been a marvelous journey.”

            Steve McIntyre and Marin Pura’s Cole Man 47 earned $32,300 for finishing second to take his career earnings to $239,338. Ruth Barbour, Colten O’Dell, and Wendy O’Dell’s Tac Me Up earned $22,800 for running third. Wicked Affair, Stel A Gambler, Galloping Goddess, Hot Little Kiddy, You Caught My Eye, Jess Bein Me and No Telling completed the field.

                        -30-               


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