Martha Wells’ Yanque is carving his nice as the best 550-yard horse on the grounds at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The son of Favorite Cartel easily won the Scott Lewis Handicap at this distance back on November 8 and he was at it again in the Paul Ford Handicap on Sunday night. Ridden by Ruben Lozano for trainer Matt Fales, Yanque broke sharply and took the lead 50 yards into the Paul Ford. The good-looking homebred gelding extended his lead with every stride, opening up a length advantage after 440 yards and eventually crossing the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of distance star Run Raging Rhino Run in the Paul Ford.
In picking up his seventh career victory in 30 starts, the 4-year-old gelding covered the distance in a hand-timed clocking of :26.60. The track record at 550 yards is owned by El Corona Ariero of :26.544 and while this race was hand-timed, just being in the vicinity of the track record goes to show how impressive Yanque was in the Paul Ford on Sunday night.
“He’s done well his last two outs,” Wells said. “He’s found his kick again. If you remember, in his 2-year-old year he had it, but then he lost it. He’s found it again. In the saddling paddock, he was so sweet. He just put his head down. He’s such a sweet horse. I love him.”
Wells also owns and bred Chicks Fayvorite, who finished third in this race. Fales also saddled the son of Favorite Cartel.
“Matt and his entire team, it’s like the old days when we all worked together and are on a team,” she said. “I’m happy. I was thinking of running him in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship, but we’ll take a look at the Barbra B Handicap (at 550 yards) as well.”
Yanque, who was second in the Los Alamitos Winter derby in 2018 and competed in that year’s Champion of Champions, earned $8,250 for the win to take his career earnings to $149,761. Chicks Fayvorite earned $1,875 for running third.
Dan Wilson’s Run Raging Rhino Run, the winner of the Barbra B Handicap earlier this year, ran gamely to earn $3,375 for his runner-up finish. The gelding by FDD Dynasty was ridden by Minor Arana for trainer Felix Gonzalez. CM Once Ina Blue Moon and A Mere Icon completed the field.