LARC NEWS Posted: 10/10/2021 2:31:42 AM



        Rosenthal Ranch’s Powerful Favorite had a triumphant return to Southern California as he outdueled a terrific field in the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship here on Saturday night.

         After racing at Ruidoso Downs in the summer months, Powerful Favorite’s first start back in Orange County was full of flair and style, as he beat a lineup that included five Grade 1 winners in route to his 16th career win and seventh in a stakes race at Los Alamitos. With this effort, Powerful Favorite became only the second horse to win the Invitational Championship and its winter counterpart, the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship, in the same year. He joins 2009 AQHA World Champion Freaky as the only horses to sweep both Grade 1 Championships. Freaky won both of these races in 2010.

        The 3-1 second choice in the wagering on Saturday, Powerful Favorite was second at the start from post number six in the 440-yard race before wrestling away the lead from 2020 Champion of Champions winner Apollitical Pence while also dealing with multiple stakes winner Other World, who was in the mix for the top spots as the only sophomore in the race.

          As the race unfolded, Powerful Favorite battled Apollitical Pence for the next 250 yards, before going ahead to take the lead for good, while also holding off the late charge of the eventual runner-up Other World. Apollitical Pence was third across the finish line and was followed by Nomadic, Chocolatito, Really First Down and Cattail Cove to complete the top seven spots. You Can Run and Circle City finished in a dead heat for eighth with Bail Czech completing the field.

        Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Powerful Favorite earned $62,500 for the win to take raise his career bankroll to $1,065,097.

           “I can’t begin to tell you who would think this would have happened,” said Connie Rosenthal, wife of the late Quarter Horse owner Bob Rosenthal. “I didn’t. I never thought on those terms. We always had small little claimers, but this has just been the most exciting time of my life and to do it without my husband, it’s something else. I hope I’m representing him and our horses well by letting them run where they need to run.”

           With wins in the Robert Boniface and Brad McKinzie Championships, the Dr. Steve Burns and James Markum-bred Powerful Favorite has now earned two presumptive berths to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions to be held here on December 11. His victory in this race gives Go Man Go Handicap winner You Can Run a spot in the Champion of Champions as well.

           For Powerful Favorite, a gelding by Favorite Cartel out of Remember Me Rose, this was a thoroughly professional effort from gate to wire.

          “He wears a flipping halter so you have to go in the gate first no matter what starting position you have,” Nicasio said. “The horse never moved. I tried to wake him up a little bit while he was inside the gate because it takes time to load the other horses in the gate. When he breaks, I was like, ‘Come on, you can do it.’ He came from the Ruidoso Mountain, and he had air, he had everything. I felt that he was ready for this race. He was feeling good, and he made it. He was a little tired after the race, but he’s ready for the Champion of Champions.”

          “He’s such a cool customer,” O’Dell added. “We had trouble with his feet, but I learned a something. We figured out how to fix his feet a little bit. I had a feeling he would do well tonight. His feet dried up and we got rid of the abscess that was bothering him. He’s in good shape. We’ve changed his diet. He’s not carrying as much weight as he carried before. He’s tucked up a little bit. Things are lot smoother.

        In addition to Powerful Favorite, O’Dell has returned to Los Alamitos with 24 horses.           

        “We got nine in the Golden State Million trials tomorrow,” O’Dell said. “We did some good at Ruidoso and looking forward to being here at Los Alamitos. (Connie) supplies me with good horses. We want to be where the (big races) are run.”

        Owned and trained by Valentin Zamudio, Other World earned $21,250 for running second. The 3-year-old Foose gelding out of the Thoroughbred mare Celestial Being came in with a four-race win streak and he continued his great form with a second-place finish against the top horses on the grounds. Ruben Lozano piloted the Ed Allred-bred runner.   

 Owned by Dunn Ranch and trained by Monty Arrossa, Apollitical Pence earned $12,500 for running third. The winnings by the Apollitical Jess gelding take his lifetime tally to $1,140,201. Ridden by Armando Cervantes in this race, Apollitical Pence has finished in the money in 21 of his 27 career starts.

     Allred’s Nomadic ran a strong fourth from post number one as was followed by stablemate Chocolatito from the outside post number 10. Nomadic earned $8,750, while Chocolatito added $6,250.



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