ILUSHION EAGLE IS FOR REAL AFTER IMPRESSIVE MAIDEN STAKES TRIAL VICTORY
Salome Gallegos’ Ilushion Eagle was the star of the night during the trials to the $101,250 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes after posting the fastest time of :17.415 while posting an eye-catching final 220-yard time during his trial win here on Sunday night.
Ridden by Oscar Peinado for trainer Jaime Gomez, Ilushion Eagle (left) covered the final 220 yards of his 350-yard effort in :09.32, a sizzling time for this distance. As a comparison, Terrific Temper had the meet’s fastest 350-yard clocking in 2020 when she posted the top time to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on September 13. Her winning time on that night was :17.30 and her final 220-yard clocking was :09.39. Tell Cartel had the meet’s fastest 400-yard time last year when he won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby in :19.32. His time final 220-yard clocking on that night was :09.32. Ilushion Eagle was flying at the end of his 350 yards just as fast as the AQHA champion 3-year-old of 2020 was flying at the end of his Grade 1 Super Derby win at 400 yards. Ilushion Eagle won his trial by two lengths.
“Ilushion Eagle is what you call a natural runner,” Gomez said. “I think he’s one of the nicest 3-year-olds I have right now. This horse has grown since I first got him. We took our time with him and that patience has paid off. That final 220 yards is one of the fastest times I’ve seen at this distance. Peinado said he was tired at the end of the race. The horse ran his heart out and gave it his all. He’s paid to the All American Derby and if he continues like he is right now we might supplement him to the Los Alamitos Super Derby. He’s also AQHA Challenge eligible. Maybe we give him some time off and pay him to the Super Derby. He’s going to be fun. At least that’s what I hope for because the owner is a really nice person.”
Bred in Mexico by Darling Farms, Ilushion Eagle is by One Fabulous Eagle and out of the Thoroughbred mare Oklahoma Rain. After running at Ruidoso Downs, the bay gelding finished second to the stakes winning Counting The Ways in a trial to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on November 22. He came back to win his maiden by ¾ lengths here on December 18 before scoring a daylight victory against allowance competition on January 10. He’ll be one to beat in the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes final on February 21.
“He was a little antsy before the start and left a little slow, but he was very strong at the end of his race,” Peinado said. “He’s a very good horse.”
A total of 34 horses competed in these trials with the horses with the 10 fastest time returning for the 350-yard final. Horses had to be maidens as of December 1, 2020 to compete in these trials. Ilushion Eagle met the qualifications to be in this race and as previously mentioned, he has been nothing but a winner in his three starts since December 1.
Carlos Avalos’ Outta Dodge also played a starring role in the Maiden Stakes trials, winning his heat by a length in the second fastest time of :17.564. Ridden by Erasmo Gasca for trainer Jose Flores, Outta Dodge was picking up his second consecutive victory after breaking his maiden by a half-length on December 5. A gelding by Favorite Cartel, he is a full brother to 2020 Los Alamitos Winter Derby runner-up You Can Run. Avalos claimed Outta Dodge for $16,000 back on June 12.
Abigail Kawananakoa’s Special Royal Eagle, who finished second to Outta Dodge, was the third fastest qualifier with a time of :17.731 for trainer Chris O’Dell. The gelding by One Famous Eagle was ridden by Eduardo Nicasio.
Alejandro Ibarra’s Too Sass For You (right), who posted an upset win in the opening trial at odds of 25-1, finished with the eighth fastest time of :17.764 for trainer Matthew Fales. Armando Cervantes rode the upset winner. Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Sullee also qualified after winning his trial by a nose over Adolfo and Eduardo Perez’s Communicate. An O’Dell-trainee, Sullee finished with the sixth fastest time of :17.751.
Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes: Ilushion Eagle (:17.415), Outta Dodge (:17.564), Special Royal Eagle (:17.731), Secretly Love (:17.741), Up For You (:17.750), Sullee (:17.751), Communicate (:17.752), Too Sass For You (:17.764), Chance It Now (:17.794), and Steamy (:17.810).