LARC NEWS Posted: 9/11/2023 2:17:41 AM



     In only her third career start, Kolleen Ledgerwood's Cowgirl Upp was sensational in her winning trial effort, as the filly by Favorite Cartel posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 2, $265,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

     Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Cesar DeAlba, the filly out of multiple graded stakes winner Kiddy Up Cowgirl won the fourth of five trials by 1 1/2 length while covering the 350 yards in :17.707. Now a winner in two of her three outings, the David and Leah Nelson-bred runner topped a talented list of qualifiers that also includes Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity winner Double Down 123 and Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity winner Political Rivalry. Five trials were contested on Sunday night featuring 40 juveniles with the horses with the 10 fastest times advancing to the final to be held on Sunday, October 1.

     Double Down 123 and Political Rivalry entered the night of trials as the two top names on the card. By the time the night concluded, no horse was more impressive than the Oregon-bred Cowgirl Upp (left). The filly began her career with a fifth-place finish at 220 yards on May 20 before returning to post a 1 3/4 length win against maidens on June 17 followed by this daylight victory under a big stage.

     "I always liked her to go longer just like her momma did," said DeAlba, who as a jockey won 1,001 Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos. "I knew 220 wasn't going to be her game. We've taken good care of her and saved her for the longer races. I think she's going to get better. She's very professional. I learned a lot from getting on (horses) every morning when I was riding. You just try to teach them good experiences and be calm and gentle with them. Patience, patience and try to read every horse differently and single them out, see what their tendencies are and what they need more help with, whether it's the gate or galloping in company. You just try to get to know every horse independently and working with them."

     Taos River Ranch and Randy Young's Double Down 123 (right) and Keith Nellesen's Political Rivalry know how to win races at Los Alamitos. They each won their respective PCQHRA Breeders Futurity trial while extending their individual winning streaks. Double Down 123 has now won four consecutive races, while Political Rivalry is now undefeated in five career starts. Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, Double Down 123 won her trial by a head while posting the second fastest qualifying time of :17.727. The Flying Cowboy 123 filly has won four out of her six outings.

     "She's just a good individual," said Young of Double Down 123. "She's got a big heart and she's just awesome. I've never had a horse that's had four in a row. I'm excited and pretty blessed. She's the best horse I've ever had. She's smart. When they broke her, (Arrossa's assistant) Romero Fregoso told me that she's very smart and didn't make mistake. ‘She's our kind of horse,’ he said. From the start he said, 'You have another nice filly.' We're really excited and I hope it continues."

     Arrossa saddled the winner of last year's PCQHRA Breeders Futurity in Chicks First Flash.    

     With Jose Nicasio up for trainer Heath Taylor, Political Rivalry won his hard-fought trial by a neck in the eighth fastest time of :17.880. Making his first start since winning the Ed Burke Million on June 18, Political Rivalry was second at the break of this race marking the only time there's ever been a horse ahead of him at any point during his race. The son of KVN Corona took the lead shortly after the start and went on to win this hotly contested over MV Royal Pappasito and Talk Bout Somethin, who dead-heated for second place in this trial.

      Steve Burns' Winners Share, who was second in the California Breeders Freshman Stakes in his previous start, won the third trial by 3/4 lengths while posting the third fastest time of :17.771. Nicasio piloted the son of Seperate Interest for trainer Mike Casselman. P.J. Schlagel's Optical Illusion won the opening trial by 3/4 lengths in route to posting the seventh fastest qualifying time of :17.829. This was his first victory in six career starts. Victor Salazar rode the Seperate Interest gelding for trainer Paul Jones. 

     The complete list of qualifiers to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity is as follows: Cowgirl Upp (:17.707), Double Down 123 (:17.727), Southern Divine (:17.749), Winners Share (:17.771), Warrior Soul (:17.797), You See That (:17.823), Optical Illusion (:17.825), Political Rivalry (:17.880), MV Royal Pappasito (:17.906), Talk Bout Somethin (:17.906), and Send In A Favor (:17.909).








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