FAVORITE HONEY GETS DERBY WIN ON CALIFORNIA BREEDERS CHAMPIONS NIGHT
Winner of the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity last year, Five Livestock Company and Steve Wright’s Favorite Honey won the Restricted Grade 2, $180,000 Governor’s Cup Derby on Sunday night after shaking off some early bumping on the way to solid victory in the 400-yard race at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, Favorite Honey was in front of the pack from the despite the early bumping. After the first 100 yards, the son of Favorite Cartel led a tightly bunched group that included Nevada Charles, Bizarrely, and Watch Out, maintaining a neck advantage for the entire first half of the race.
From there the gelding out of Silver Racing Farm’s broodmare Corona Fast Honey began to pull away from his rivals. At the wire, Favorite Honey was a ½ length ahead of Ed Allred’s Watch Out. The Governor’s Cup Derby was the richest of four stakes contested on the second night of California Breeders Champions Weekend on Sunday at Los Alamitos. The others were the $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap won by Allred’s Up And Atem, the $40,000 Matron Stakes won by Gentry Farm’s AQHA champion aged mare Kiss Thru Fire, and the $25,000 Debutante for 3-year-old fillies won by Allred’s fast rising star Nymphette.
Now a winner in seven of 13 starts, Favorite Honey earned $73,500 for the win to take his career earnings to $357,988. He covered the distance in :19.852.
“The break was critical,” Arrossa said. “He got bumped a little bit, but he got out of there, got his position, and finished strong. He has such a great mind. He bounced back great after the trials and came into this race super strong. It was a strong field of horses. It got tight there leaving, but it looked to me like he had the front right away from the gate.”
Favorite Honey will take a couple of weeks off before being pointed to the PCQHRA Breeders Derby trials in early September.
Watch Out, trained by James Glenn, Jr. and ridden by Oscar Peinado, finished strongly to move from fifth to second place at the wire. The gelding by Fly Thru The Fire earned $29,750 for running second, the same placing he earned in last year’s running of the Governor’s Cup Futurity. Allred’s Nevada Charles earned $21,000 for running third. Valeriano Racing Stables’ Sweet Dasha Fire was fourth, while Allred’s She Goes Up was fifth in her attempt to sweep the Governor’s Cup Derby and Futurity. The top five finishers were followed by Letty Cartel, Knockout Cartel, Bizarrely, Favorite Habit, and Insider.
UP AND ATEM OUTDUELS STABLEMATE MONOPOLIST IN SPENCER CHILDERS
Horses owned by Ed Allred finished 1-2 in the Restricted Grade 1, $100,000 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap after Up And Atem enjoyed his first victory since October of 2019, while upsetting even money favorite Monopolist by a head in the 400-yard race on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Armando Cervantes and trained by Scott Willoughby, Up And Atem was second at the start and third with about 100 yards to go before launching a huge finish to win the Spencer Childers at 8-1 odds. The Favorite Cartel gelding out of the talented mare Up For It had not visited the winner’s circle since his trial to the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity on October 20, 2019. Up And Atem finished fourth in the Golden State Million final and would then qualify to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, where he finished 10th.
“He was one of our best 2-year-olds in 2019 and then got sick last year and we didn’t run him at all,” Willoughby said. “It’s been a long road coming back and he’s been fantastic.”
Up And Atem raced just once in 2020 before missing the entire 2021 racing season. Prior to this win, the Allred-bred dead-heated for third in the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and had finished third in a couple of stakes trials. The $47,000 he earned for winning took his career earnings to $193,151. He covered the 400 yards in :19.655.
Monopolist, ridden by Oscar Peinado and trained by James Glenn, Jr., has finished second in all three of his starts this season. Previously, he ran second to AQHA champion Empressum in the Vessels Maturity. His earnings of $20,000 here took his career bankroll to $434,075.
Link Newcomb’s Cattail Cove finished a game third after the leading for the first 150 yards. The Juan Aleman trainee earned $10,000 for his top three finish. Both Monopolist and Cattail Cove were sired by Favorite Cartel, meaning that the great stallion sired the top three finishers in this Restricted Grade 1 race.
You Can Run, Bail Czech, Circle City, Other World, BF Outfoosed, and Mister Tornado completed the field. Circle City won this race last year and was looking to become only the third horse to win back-to-back runnings of this race.
KISS THRU FIRE PROVES SHE IS STILL THE TOP MARE
Gentry Farms’ AQHA champion aged mare Kiss Thru Fire won the $40,000 Matron Stakes for the second year in a row after breaking sharply from post number three and continuing powerfully to post a ½ length victory over EG High Desert Farms’ La Estrella Corona. With the victory, Kiss Thru Fire joins 2018-19 Matron winner Thermonuclear Energy as the only mares to win consecutive running of this race.
After winning a total of four stakes races last year, the champion mare is enjoying another great campaign in 2022. Over the past two years, Kiss Thru Fire has won a total of seven stakes at Los Alamitos. In addition to this Matron win, the daughter of Walk Thru Fire has also won the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap and the Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes this year. Ridden in this race by Jesus Rios Ayala, Kiss Thru Fire covered the 400 yards in :19.774. The Juan Aleman trainee earned $22,000 to take her career earnings to $658,025.
EG High Desert Farms’ La Estrella Corona earned $9,000 for running second. She was followed by Rite On Time, More Thank Looks, Up For You, Looks On Fleek, and Walking Alone.
IMPRESSIVE NYMPHETTE WINS DEBUTANTE STAKES
In a two-week span, Ed Allred’s Nymphette has shown a sensational closing kick, winning both of her career starts in dazzling come-from-behind fashion at Los Alamitos. The Fly Thru The Fire filly broke her maiden with an eye-catching comeback on July 16. She followed it up with a rallying win in the $25,000 Debutante Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday.
Ridden by Henry Reynoso Lopez for trainer James Glenn, Jr., Nymphette broke slow and found herself in seventh place out of nine fillies racing in the Debutante. She then drifted out while racing from post number nine, but she found a higher gear from there and flew to the wire to win by a neck.
“She’s amazing,” Allred said. “She must get over breaking slow, but she can finish. I’m excited about Fly Thru The Fire. He doesn’t get 20 or 30 (mares) a year, but all his sons and daughters are good, hard-knocking runners. He has a nice son in Watch Out (the Governor’s Cup Derby runner-up). He’s got to get more numbers.”
Nymphette is a half-sister to Frivolous, the winner of Saturday’s Governor’s Cup Futurity, and of Monopolist, a Grade 2 stakes winner, and the runner-up in both the Vessels Maturity and Sunday’s Spencer Childers.
“She’s giving heart attacks away from there,” said Glenn of Nymphette’s starts. “Last time, I just wanted to walk away from the monitor, but then halfway down she exploded. Tonight, Henry said that she didn’t have a horse beat at the start. Halfway down you could see her winding up. She has that tremendous kick. Frivolous kind of runs the same way. She breaks so-so and then she flies late. It’s pretty exciting. She’ll go 400, 440. She’s not very big but she just has that gear late. It’s pretty special. Hard to find one with that kind of a gear.”
Nymphette covered the 350 yards in :17.729. EG High Desert Farms’ La Beverly Hills earned $5,625 for running second with Cruz Mendez up for trainer Santos Perez. Majority Interest, Lovely Evening, Rumorsa, Up To Good, Svelte, Budget Buster, and Race Thru The Fire completed the field.
Dutch Masters III won the inaugural running of the Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity last year with the homebred Woman Secrets, a gelding by Separate Secrets and out of the mare Brownleggedwoman. Dutch Masters III will look to make it back-to-back wins in the