LARC NEWS Posted: 1/5/2020 10:55:55 PM

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           When it came to Grade 1 stakes races at Los Alamitos in 2019, no one could match the combination of jockey Eduardo Nicasio and leading trainer Chris O’Dell. Nicasio and O’Dell combined to win three Grade 1 stakes events and each win came with a different superstar runner.

            Their success at the elite stakes level started in the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap last year with the outstanding mare Thermonuclear Energy. It was quickly followed by a win in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby with Powerful Favorite and would later be completed by their win with Runforyourlife in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity. Nicasio would add one additional Grade 1 stakes win when he piloted Katies Easy Moves to victory in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity.

            O’Dell, who won a meet’s best 70 Quarter Horse races last year, was the only trainer with three Grade 1 stakes wins. He also finished as the meet’s leading Quarter Horse conditioner in money earned with $2,104,070. He was the only trainer at Los Alamitos with over $2 million in earnings.

            Monty Arrossa, Bill Hoburg and Scott Willoughby each finished with two Grade 1 stakes events. Arrossa saddled the aforementioned Katies Easy Moves and also won the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship with Zoomin For Spuds. Bill Hoburg won both of his Grade 1 stakes races with the outstanding BH Lisas Boy in the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Go Man Go Handicap. Willoughby won the Grade 1 Champion of Champions and the Restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap with He Looks Hot.

            Other Grade 1 stakes winning trainers in 2019 were Jose Flores (Flokie in the Ed Burke Million Futurity), Mike Casselman (Tequila Sangria in the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap), Justin Joiner (Flash And Roll in the Los Alamitos Super Derby), and John Cooper (Cartel Jess Rockin in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity).

            In the money earned category for trainers, Willoughby ranked second with $1,565,975 and Jose Flores was third with $1,432,793.

            Jesus Rios Ayala, Oscar Andrade, Jr. and Vinnie Bednar were the only other riders with more than one Grade 1 stakes win at Los Alamitos in 2019. Ayala, who finished as the leading jockey for the third straight year after picking up 75 victories last year, won Grade 1 aboard Tequila Sangria in the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap and Zooming For Spuds in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship. Andrade Jr. piloted BH Lisas Boy in both the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Go Man Go, while Bednar got his Grade 1 wins on He Looks Hot in the Spencer Childers and Champion of Champions. Other riders with Grade 1 victories to their name at Los Alamitos in 2019 were Cody Jensen (Flash And Roll in the Super Derby), Juan Pablo Leon (Cartel Jess Rock in the Two Million) and Jairo Rangel (Flokie in the Ed Burke).   

            Nicasio finished 2019 as the leading jockey in money earned $1,853,812. Rios Ayala followed with $1,513,866 and Bednar was third with $1,429,173.

            Here are the Grade 1 stakes winning horses in 2019 at Los Alamitos: Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy (2), Ed Allred’s He Looks Hot (2), Ron Hartley’s Cartel Jess Rockin, Scott Bryant’s Flash And Roll, Caballo Rapido and Caballo Rapido and Five Live Stock Company’s Katies Easy Moves, J. Francisco Diaz and Jose Flores’ Flokie, Rosenthal Ranch’s Powerful Favorite, Rosenthal Ranch’s Runforyourlife, Steve Burns’ Tequila Sangria, Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Thermonuclear Energy and Jim Walker’s Zoomin For Spuds.

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