LARC NEWS Posted: 3/14/2022 12:00:58 AM


         Los Alamitos Race Course enhanced its stakes program for fillies and mares for 2022 and so far the support for the races in this division has been outstanding. From the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap and the Dashingly Stakes, which were both held on January 2, to the February 26 Denim N Diamonds Handicap and Sunday’s $35,000 Virginia Hyland Stakes, the average field size for these four stakes events for fillies and mares has been an outstanding 9.5 entrants per race.

          The quality of the fields has been terrific as well, as AQHA Champion Aged mare Kiss Thru Fire has started in both the Charger Bar and the Denim N Diamonds, while stakes winners like College Scandal, Astranomical, Go To Girl, Jet Wings One, Lynnder 16, Jess Fortunate, etc. have all participated in at least one of these stakes events for distaffers.

          The results from these four races have also produced two brand new stakes winners in Jess Fortunate in the Dashingly and Famous Shining Star in the Virginia Hyland on Sunday night. Owned by Johnny Trotter and trained by Jose Flores, Famous Shining Star was all heart in the Virginia Hyland, as the 4-year-old mare by champion One Famous Eagle fought hard from gate to wire to outduel the talented College Scandal by a nose in the 350-yard race. Nine talented runners competed in the Virginia Hyland, which is one of six brand new stakes races added this season for fillies and mares ages 3 and up.  Ridden by Cruz Mendez, Famous Shining Star bumped leaving the gate, but she was rolling in a hurry to take on Grade 2 Las Damas Handicap winner Astranomical for the early lead. Famous Shining Star was on the lead at the midway point and from there she was all out to hold her advantage to the wire against the late flying College Scandal.

          Bred by Julianna Hawn Holt, the royally bred Famous Shining Star covered the distance in :17.687 while winning for the fourth time in 11 career starts. Out of Mr Eye Opener mare Thewayouwantmetoo, who won the 2004 Rainbow Futurity, Famous Shining Star added a stakes win to her record after coming close to doing so in her previous start. She was second to Jess Fortunate in the Dashingly earlier this season and before that she was a troubled fifth in the Las Damas.  

          “She’s been such a hard knocker,” winning trainer Jose Flores said. “We need to win something (stakes) with her. She’s just been missing a stakes win. She’s been right there. She gave us a valiant race tonight. It had been a while since she ran (on January 2).

          “She only had a 220-yard work coming into this race. It was a really good work,” Flores added on the :12.20 bullet drill on January 29. “Cruz really took care of her. We thought she was going to run earlier (after that work) but she didn’t. She came up and showed her class today.”

          Races like the Virginia Hyland and the upcoming Dashing Folly Stakes on April 10 give new opportunities for fillies and mares to add that often elusive stakes win to their record.

          “Thankfully, there’s this new program that Dr. Allred put together for the fillies and mares,” Flores said. “It’s a great program for everybody. I think it’s going to set us up to do better with the mares. Anyone who has mare, this is the place to come. It’s a great program. If you have a talented mare, they should be a part of this program.”

          The $25,000 Dashing Folly is for runners 3 and up, while sophomore fillies can point to the $35,000 La Pacifica Stakes on May 7. The purse money rises from there with the Miss Princess Handicap offering a $50,000 purse for fillies and mares on May 8 and the inaugural running of the $100,000 Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes coming up next on June 12. The Abigail Kawananakoa is also for fillies and mares.  

          Flores will look for Famous Shining Star to continue to be a major factor in this lucrative division.  

          “I think she’ll continue to improve and continues on this path,” Flores said. “I hope we can see her throughout the year in these good races. She should be tough.”

          Famous Shining Star earned $19,250 for the win to take her career earnings to $44,850.

          Gentry Farms’ College Scandal, who has now finished in the money in 13 of 21 starts, earned $7,875 for her second-place finish in the Virginia Hyland. The Coronas Leaving You mare has now gone over the $100,000 mark in earnings. The 4-year-old mare has now earned $107,516 in her career.

              Bobby Simmons’ Elphaba earned $4,375 for her third-place finish, her second in the money finish of the season at Los Alamitos. The Kiss My Hocks mare, who ran a solid third in the Dashingly, has been a fixture in stakes races for this division at the Orange County oval, having participated in five stakes events here since September 19.  The top three finishers were followed by In My Heart, Astranomical, Cotton Cartel, La Estrella Corona, Cartel Fire Two, and Go To Girl.  


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