LARC NEWS Posted: 3/20/2021 4:09:46 PM


         The 49th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions for 3-year-olds and upward at Los Alamitos Race Course will feature key changes to how its starting field is assembled in 2021.

            The most important change will be moving from a system of mostly presumptive starting berths to a format that will include not only presumptive starting berths in five Los Alamitos-based Grade 1 stakes race, but also the introduction of an “invitational” aspect to its format.

            The Champion of Champions format still offer the winners of five Grade 1 races at Los Alamitos with a presumptive starting berth to the 440-yard classic. However, the starting berths associated with these races still do not a guarantee that the winner will receive an automatic invitation to race in the final.

             Here’s where the invitational piece of the format will come into play, as every presumptive starter in the Champion of Champions will be subject to regulations as listed on the Los Alamitos Race Course Equine & Rider Safety Enhancement Plan, plus a hair follicle test conducted at Los Alamitos prior to the running of the Champion of Champions. In addition, the owner/trainer of the Quarter Horse must be in good standing per house rules at Los Alamitos Race Course.

            Los Alamitos Race Course will also establish a Champion of Champions selection committee that will consider all 2021 Grade 1 stakes winners for 3-year-olds and upwards on a national level. The selection committee will select three Grade 1 stakes winners to receive presumptive invitations to the Champion of Champions. The criteria for the selection committee to consider in its process may include: 

* An extensive year-long evaluation of the top Quarter Horses in the nation through watching races and monitoring the national rankings.

* Head-to-head results and results versus common foes.

* Strength of races.

* The quality of wins and losses.

            The selection committee may offer additional invitations based on its original invitations being declined.

            The five Grade 1 races at Los Alamitos offering presumptive berths into the Grade 1 Champion of Champions for 3-year-olds and upwards, which will be held on Saturday, December 11 are as follows:  the (G1) Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which was held on February 14 and won by Rosenthal Ranch’s Powerful Favorite;  the (G1) Vessels Maturity on July 3; (G1) Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap on September 19; (G1) Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 9; and (G1) Los Alamitos Super Derby on November 7.

           As in recent years, the Grade 1 $100,000 Go Man Go on August 29 remains part of the Champion of Champions format. If any horse wins more than one race with a presumptive berth to the Champion of Champions, that berth will go to the winner of the Go Man Go. If the connections of a horse with a presumptive berth decline their possible opportunity to run in the Champion of Champions, that berth would also revert to the winner of the Go Man Go.

          At least two presumptive berths to the Champion of Champions will be offered in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials to be held here on November 14. The horses with the two fastest times in the trials will advance to this year’s renewal of the Champion of Champions. The winner of the Champion of Champions, which is regarded as the most prestigious Quarter Horse race for older horses, will earn $300,000.

         The Champion of Champions was first contested in 1972 when Mr Jet Moore edged champions Kaweah Bar and Charger Bar. Since then, 30 of its 48 winners have been crowned World Champion by the AQHA.  For more info call 714-820-2690.


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