EMPRESSUM, CYBER ATTACK AMONG STARS DURING OUTSTANDING 2022 MEET
The 50th running of the Champion of Champions held on December 10th lived up to all the expectations surrounding its billing as “A Race For The Ages”. Featuring the richest field in the history of Quarter Horse racing, Steve Holt and Jeff Jones’ Empressum won the Champion of Champion in impressive fashion, while establishing the race as one the major highlights of the 2022-night meet at Los Alamitos, which closed on Sunday, December 17.
The 50th running of the Champion of Champions also set a record for most money wagered in the race in its history and Empressum’s win was the fourth fastest in the event’s history. Trained by Heath Taylor, Empressum, a 4-year-old gelding by Apollitical Jess, also posted the fastest winning time in the Champion of Champions since his sire won the 2007 running. Empressum (left) also won the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap during his stellar campaign at Los Alamitos in 2022.
Rosenthal Ranch’s Cyber Attack won California’s richest horse race of any breed in 2022 with a dominant performance in the $1,884,225 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on December 11. Cyber Attack’s older brother, Bomb Cyclone, won the Two Million last year. Also owned by Rosenthal Ranch, Bomb Cyclone won the meet’s biggest derby of the meet, the Los Alamitos Super Derby on November 6, as he did his part to make it a huge year for their sire Favorite Cartel and their dam, Remember Me Rose. Cyber Attack also finished second to JGA Racing Stable’s Party Politics in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity in one of the closest finishes of the year. Party Politics had previously won the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity, making him a winner of two races this season featuring a purse of more than a million dollars.
The winter Grade 1 stakes events went to Dunn Ranch’s Apollitical Pence in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship; Ed and Von Zae McNelis’ Scoops Dynasty in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby; and Gentry Farms’ Kiss Thru Fire repeating as the winner of the Charger Bar Handicap for fillies and mares. The other Grade 1 event of the meet for fillies and mares went to Robert Harrison’s Pattys Saint in the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap.
Other Grade 1 winners for 2022 included Apollitical Pence in the Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship; Ed Allred’s Up And Atem in the Restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship; Clainfield Act Stables’ Frivolous in the Restricted Grade 1 Governor’s Cup Futurity.
In other racing highlights, John Cooper, the fourth all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer at Los Alamitos, retired following a successful training career at Los Alamitos that spanned over 50 years. Cooper won his final race, saddling Boondarbian to victory in the Grade 2 Southern California Derby on closing night, December 17.
The Pick Fours continued to be the most popular wager at Los Alamitos, with some of the highest pools anywhere in night racing. Los Alamitos also enjoyed higher handles in its traditional Pick 6 wager with total pools following one-day carryovers often going over the $100,000 mark.
Handle on the Los Alamitos live program plus its night simulcast imports for the 100 racing nights topped the $150 million mark. Los Alamitos hosted 100 live racing program during the course of the 2022 season.
The 73rd year of racing at Los Alamitos will open on New Year’s Eve on Saturday, December 31st with the running of the Holiday Handicap for Quarter Horse juveniles. The first Grade 1 stakes race of the meet is set for Sunday, January 1 with the running of the Charger Bar Handicap for mares ages 4 and up. Live racing will be conducted on a Saturday and Sunday night basis. For more info, please contact 714-820-2690.