IMPRESSIVE TRIAL WINNERS AINT HE TEMPTING, QUIRKY BITTY JESS TOP ED BURKE TRIALS
Aint He Tempting
Dunn Ranch’s Aint He Tempting posted a two length victory in the opening trial to the Ed Burke Million Futurity and his winning time of :17.641 remained the fastest qualifying time for the entire evening Sunday at Los Alamitos.
A full brother to the multiple graded stakes winner Aint She Tempting, the bay colt by Tempting Dash ran with the same flair that his sister showed in many of her victories throughout her career, as he left sharply from the outside post number eight before increasing his lead after the midway point. Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, Aint He Tempting has now won both of his career starts and will now be one of the headliners in the $1 million final to be held on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19.
A total of 76 horses competed in the 350 yard trials with the runners with the 10 fastest times advancing to the $1 million final. Aint He Tempting was one of six trial winners to earn a top 10 spots with the second place finishers in four of the trials also moving on to the Ed Burke final. The other five winners to qualify were Jesus Nava’s Navaja, the sixth place finisher in the Robert Adair Kindergarten final on May 15; the J. Francisco Diaz’s undefeated stablemates El Aventurero and Quirky Bitty Jess; Juan H. Moya and Armando Ulloa’s Dk Double A, a ¾ length winner in his trial; and Clanfield Act Stables’ Frivolous, who won her trial at 11-1 odds. The other four to qualify were JAG Stables’ Party Politics, who was second to Frivolous; Steve Burns’ Escalated, who finished behind Quirky Bitty Jess; The Quarter Company’s Apollitical Jet, the winner of the West Texas Juvenile Stakes at Sunland Park; and M and G Farms’ Eyetinerari, who’ll look to give her owners their second straight win in the Ed Burke following Golden Boi’s golden score last year.
Bred by McColee Land & Livestock LLC, Aint He Tempting was purchased for $120,000 at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale last year. The Utah-bred colt won his debut by a ½ length on April 30 before his flawless effort in the opening Ed Burke trial. His sister, Aint She Tempting, won five of 12 starts for earnings of $727,427 in her career. She won the Grade 2 Oklahoma Futurity at Remington Park and the Grade 2 Golden State Derby at Los Alamitos and was second in both the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity, Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity and the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Oaks. She finished out of the money once in her 12 races.
“You know, both have really good disposition,” Arrossa said. “They both like to train a lot. I think she was a little sharper earlier. She was a little quicker away from the gate. I think he might be a little stronger at the end. They’re both good to work with.”
Seeing Aint He Tempting draw the outside post for this race gave Arrossa some concerns.
“Both outs he’s drawn the outside,” Arrossa said. “First out he kind of lugged out a little bit. I was concerned about that, but he broke real straight and ran really strong in his trial race. I’m very happy with him.”
Racing for the father and son team of owner J. Francisco Diaz and trainer Lindolfo Diaz, Quirky Bitty Jess was one of the most impressive winners of the night. The Texas-bred filly by Apollitical Jess was tremendous from post number five in the trials, as she flew out of the gate on the way to winning by 1 ¼ lengths in the second fastest time of :17.644. Ridden by Alberto Zepeda, the Homar Prieto-bred filly won her other start by a half-length with Zepeda also in the irons.
“She ran huge,” Lindolfo Diaz said. “She broke straight, she broke sharp. She’s a good breaker. She surprised me how she finished. She finished really strong. Hopefully she pulls up good. We wish everybody luck in the final.”
The Diaz and Diaz duo will also be represented by the Docs Best Card gelding El Aventurero, who they purchased for $31,000 at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale. With Jesus Rios Ayala up, El Aventurero won his trial by ¾ lengths and in a time of :17.822, which was the sixth fastest of the night.
“That horse had a little bit of trouble,” the trainer added. “It seemed like the hopped a little, a slight hop and went in at the break. It cost him a little but quickly recovered and ran well. It looked like he was finishing strong and hopefully he gets a little better break in the final. He’s a good horse.”
In partnership with trainer Jose Flores, J. Francisco Diaz won the Ed Burke final in 2019 with Flokie.
“That was with our good friend Jose Flores,” the trainer added. “We have some good babies this year. Hopefully the final is a clean race for all of us and the better horse can win it.”
Flores qualified one for this year final in the Favorite Cartel colt Dk Double A, who won the fourth trial by ¾ lengths. Bred by La Presita LLC and LJM Ranch Inc., Dk Double A came in after winning his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths. He won his trial in the third fastest qualifying time of :17.770. His dam, Corona Crystal, finished fifth in the 2005 Ed Burke final.
“He’s still a little green coming out of the gate, but I think he’ll start to improve as he gets older and the more mature he becomes. He should have a little shot in the final. We’ll hope that things go a little better at the start and we’ll go from there. He’s out of a great mother and what can you say about Favorite Cartel, he’s one of the best stallions ever. If Dk Double A improves a little more, he’ll be tough in the final. Monty and Lindolfo have some tough ones in the final.”
Two of the top fillies racing in next Sunday’s $1,000,000 Ed Burke Million hail from the barn of trainer Felix Gonzalez. The Jesus Nava-bred Navaja won the second trial with Jose Nicasio up, while Henry Reynoso Lopez was aboard Frivolous in trial number five. Navaja finished with a time of :17.798, while her stablemate finished sharply to get the win in a time of 17.794. In the top 10 board, the two were right next to each other with Navaja ending with the fifth fastest times and Frivolous just ahead of her with the fourth fastest clocking of the night.
“This is why we work so hard and give it our all, in order to have these results,” Gonzalez said. “It all begins with talented horses.
“Navaja responded nicely. She’s small, but she’s beautiful and honest. Frivolous has not left the gate sharply, but I knew she had talent. I worked them together during training and they were side-by-side. I knew what they could do, and they showed it to everyone (on trial night).”
The Allred-bred Frivolous is a full sister to the 2020 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity winner Monopolist. Meanwhile, Navaja is the first runner bred by Nava. She’s out of the late mare Jess Flashee, who Nava raced with success from 2018 to 2020.
“I’m thrilled,” Nava said. “We didn’t expect this much from Navaja. We lost her mother (the stakes finalist Jess Flashee) but by then Navaja was already eight months old. She was pretty much already on her own. OF course, we wish so much to still have Jess Flashee with us. We would have loved to have more babies out of her. Unfortunately, we only had one baby out of her, but she left us a great runner in Navaja.”
In addition to Jess Flashee and Navaja, Nava has also raced Luv On The Run, Brimmin Corona, both of whom qualified to big races. “They were not expensive horses,” Nava added. “We’ve done well. Navaja is our first homebred and hopefully things continue nicely.”
The complete list of quaifiers is as follows Aint He Tempting (:17.641), Quirky Bitty Jess (:17.664), Dk Double A (:17.770), Frivolous (:17.794), Navaja (:17.798), El Aventurero (:17.822), Escalated (:17.822), Eyetinerari (:17.867), Party Politics (:17.872), and Apollitical Jet (:17.898).
The all-sources handle for the 10-race Ed Burke Million card was $2,117,423.