LARC NEWS Posted: 2/28/2022 2:10:37 AM



     Eight days after Scoops Dynasty provided Ed and Von Zae McNelis with their first ever Grade 1 stakes victory, the owners celebrated another big money victory after their homebred My Game Plan shook off a bit of trouble at the start to pull away to a 1 ¼ length victory in the $98,250 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on Sunday night.

     An Idaho-bred gelding by One Sweet Jess and out of the mare Rumpled Britches, My Game Plan broke in and brushed with El Best Tornado at the start before straightening out and opening a ½ length advantage. He continued to increase his lead with every stride, racing a full length ahead of Da Special One with 110 yards to go in the 350-yard race before crossing the wire comfortably ahead of the late flying filly Glass Ceiling. Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, My Game Plan covered the distance in :17.528 while posting his third career victory.

    While My Game Plan was the star of the night in the Maiden Stakes, the complexion of the race changed when 8-5 morning line favorite Rocket Seventeen broke through the gate before the star and ran loose around the track. He would eventually be caught by the outrider and taken back to his barn safely, but he was scratched from the race because of the incident.

     With Rocket Seventeen out of the Maiden Stakes, My Game Plan dominated the race.

   “I feel really bad for the connections of Rocket Seventeen,” said Arrossa after the race. “That’s tough. I just feel really for them. It would have been a great with that horse. Our horse ran a nice race tonight, but I do feel bad for the connections.”

     Valentin Zamudio, who trains Rocket Seventeen believes that the horse was a startled by a noise in the starting gate.

     “He heard a noise, and he took off,” Zamudio said. “He wanted to break. We think it was the noise when they closed the back of the gate stall. He had never done anything like that.”

      Zamudio noted that Rocket Seventeen is eligible to run in the trials to the El Primero Del Ano Derby to be held next Sunday night.

      “That’s something that I’ll have to talk to Mr. (Jim) Hernandez in the next day or two,” the trainer added.  

      My Game Plan made $41,265 for the win, a sum that is four times the amount of his previous career earnings. His bank account now stands at $50,733.    

     “The McNelis are small breeders and I am happy for them,” Arrossa said. “I’m proud of them, Idaho proud. They’ve worked hard for a lot of years and they have a lot of nice mares like Bye Sweet Girl and Rumpled Britches, who is a sister of Scoops Dynasty and the mother of My Game Plan.

     “I really have to thank Ed (McNelis). We were having trouble with him early. He wasn’t mature. He was kicking in his stall. I called (Ed) and said, ‘I think we should turn him out.’ He said that he was paid into all the big races, and I said that I didn’t think he would do any good. We turned him out and he came back a new horse. He grew up, he quit some of his antics in the stall. He decided that he wanted to do things right.”

    My Game Plan was turned out at Dean Frey’s ranch in Sanger, California, Arrossa added. The game plan for this horse is to look at the Adequan California Derby Challenge, the Golden State Derby and the Los Alamitos Super Derby.

     Owned by Legacy Ranch and trained by Lindolfo Diaz, Glass Ceiling made a tremendous late move to earned $16,702 for running second. The Favorite Carte filly was eight at the start and fifth early on before making a big move in the final 110 yards to finished second. Jesus Rios Ayala rode Glass Ceiling.

    There was a dead-heat for third between Alfredo Alonzo’s Da Special One and Juan Escobedo’s El Best Tornado. Each horse earned $9,334 for tying for third place. Wasp, Yard House, Shady Rae and Stel Favorite completed the field.







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