Newly crowned AQHA champion trainer Chris O’Dell and jockey Eduardo Nicasio have enjoyed an outstanding string of successes at Los Alamitos over the past three years. The jockey/trainer combination has won 126 Quarter Horse races from 453 mounts for an outstanding win ratio of 27.8% and earnings of over $3.3 million.
O’Dell and Nicasio kept on rolling on Friday night with a pair of victories, first with the impressive filly Whats Rockin in the fifth race and then with the now multiple stakes winner Tac Me Up in the $25,000 Cypress Handicap in the eighth race. Racing for Ruth Barbour, Colten O’Dell and Wendy O’Dell, Tac Me Up scored his seventh career win and second stakes victory after outdueling Rite Quick by a half-length in the 350-yard race for older horses.
For Nicasio and O’Dell, the win could be a sign of things to come this weekend. The two will once again join forces with the likes of 2019 Grade 1 winners Runforyourlife and Powerful Favorite in the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Saturday and Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday.
“Last year was a very good year and I had a chance to ride a lot of nice horses,” said Nicasio, the meet’s leading rider in money earned here in 2019. “I rode a lot of nice babies and some standouts like Runforyourlife, Powerful Favorite and others who’ll also be strong this year. Tac Me Up will be right there in 2020 and should be one of the better horses in handicaps. He was always nervous inside the gate. Now he’s pretty good. Hopefully he’ll be one of the top horses at this level. I think he’ll be one of my best horses this year.”
Tac Me Up earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $137,534. The 4-year-old gelding by Kiddy Up is out of Tacatrina and was bred by Garrett Firth.
Nicasio was asked to talk about his strengths as a rider.
“I ride a lot of nice horses. I feel like I’m a pretty good rider, but I feel pretty good for owners. I want them to be happy.”
Alberto Rosiles’ Rite Quick, a 5-year-old gelding by Favorite Cartel, earned $5,625 for finishing second. He has finished second or better in eight of his last 11 starts. Dr. Steve Burns, the 2019 AQHA champion breeder, bred the gray gelding out of Iba Quick Chick.
Keith Nellesen’s Jess Send It, who ran a huge after a troubled start, finished in a dead-heat for third with One Proud Eagle. Eagles Policy, Singles Cruise and CM Boom Shakalaka completed the order of finish.