LARC NEWS Posted: 6/13/2021 1:26:04 AM


        The trials to the Grade 1, $154,200 Vessels Maturity featured a pair of surprising winners with Butte Crest Ranch and Rod Lowe’s Up Is Up winning the opening trial at 10-1 odds and Roque Gonzalez’s Spirit Foose winning the other trial at 13-1 odds on Saturday at Los Los Alamitos.   

      Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer James Glenn, Jr., Up Is Up trailed in fifth place at the start but gained on leader Mental Error with each yard. At the wire, Up Is Up finished a head in front of the fast-closing Grade 2 Golden State Derby winner Circle City with multiple stakes winner Mental Error holding on for third. A full brother to Grade 1 stakes winner Kiddy Up Cowgirl, the $41,000 Los Alamitos Equine Sale purchase in 2019 covered the 400 yards in the fastest qualifying time of :19.775. The lightly-raced 4-year-old gelding was making only his sixth career start, but he’s already impressed with several big wins at Los Alamitos. His maiden score was a 1 ¾ length decision in April of last year. He also won an allowance event by 1 ¼ lengths in his final start as a 3-year-old on June 20.

          Returning to action in this year’s Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 1, Up Is Up lost all chance to challenge eventual winner Mental Error after getting bumped a couple of times early on and then lacking racing room along the way. In his Vessels trial, Up Is Up had a much cleaner journey and the good trip paid off in a big way. The David Martin-bred runner will now lead a field in the Vessels Maturity to be held here on July 3.

          “He ran big,” Glenn said. “We’ve had high hopes for this horse all along. He’s had a few issues and we’ve had to be patient with him. It looks like it’s paid up. Jesus Rios Ayala has really liked him a lot and has said that he’s one of the better older horses on the grounds. He got to show what he could do. It’s pretty exciting.

          Last time, we could not get a race in him, so we had to run in the Kaweah Bar. He broke pretty good, but the outside horse came in and run over the top of him. The jockey had to check him. You know, if he would have broke a little sharper maybe he’s not in that kind of trouble. He needed the race. We were hoping that with a clean trip that he could show what he got, and he did. I think he should be at his best in three weeks. For a big horse he can really leave the gates. If he gets tighter, gets a clean break, he’ll be tough to handle in the Vessels final.”  

          Glenn was thrilled to qualify to the Vessels for Lowe, who is the director of racing at Grants Pass in Oregon, and Chris Galpin of Butte Crest.

          “I’ve known Rod thirty years,” the trainer said. “We go back forever. I rode races for him when I was a kid. He’s had buddies of mine train for him, I’ve trained for him off and on. He’s doing quite a job up there at Grants Pass. He’s the one putting a lot of things together up there, as far as the contruction and rebuilding things. Up Is Up is the first big horse he’s ever had so hopefully we can keep going forward.

          “Chris is a really good guy,” Glenn said of Galpin. “He’s had a few good ones. He had Armyguy back in the day, but it’s been a long dry spell. They’re both at Grants Pass and both from the Medford, Oregon area. It’s pretty exciting.”

          A stakes placed runner, Armyguy won eight races and earned over $95,000 in his 33-race career.

          Ridden by Ruben Lozano for trainer Paul Jones, Spirit Foose had a half-length advantage early on in his trial and he never gave it up, eventually crossing the wire a half-length ahead of multiple graded stakes winner Eagles Fly Higher. Spirit Foose is best known for his success at the 110-yard distance, but this time he made his early speed hold up all the way to the finish line for owner Roque Gonzalez, who is Jones’ long-time assistant trainer.

          “He’s always been very fast out of the gate, and it seems like he’s had a little trouble finishing,” Jones said. “He ran in the Kaweah Bar at 350 and I thought he ran a really good race. Tonight, I was a little worried about him going 400 yards and be able to finish. He broke like a rocket like he normally does and held on. We are real happy for Roque to see his horse win. He works really hard and he deserves it. We are glad to have in the final.”

          This will be Gonzalez’s first runner in a Grade 1 race.

          Spirit Foose finished as the sixth fastest qualifier after covering the distance in :19.837. He’s now won four of 18 career starts.

          Here’s the complete list of qualifiers to the Vessels Maturity: Up Is Up (:19.775), Circle City (:19.788), Mental Error (:19.790), Redneck Ryan (:19.817), Made Over (:19.831), Spirit Foose (:19.837), Eagles Fly Higher (:19.897), Cattail Cove (:19.900), Mister Tornado (:20.011), and Cartel Rocks (:20.170).



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