LARC NEWS Posted: 12/21/2023 3:24:08 PM

FLORES DEFENDS TRAINING TITLE AND MENDEZ BACK ON TOP AMONG LEADING HORSEMEN OF 2023 RACING SEASON

LOS ALAMITOS RACE CYPRESS, CA… Jose Flores, the third all-time leading trainer at Los Alamitos Race Course, successfully defended his Quarter Horse training title after saddling 57 winners from 357 starters during the recently concluded 2023 season at the Orange County track.

     Flores (photo), who has been a leading trainer at Los Alamitos for the past 25 years, enjoyed his first Quarter Horse training title in 2022 and followed it with a strong and consistent campaign this year. His top winners included Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap winner Famous Shining Star as well as the standout mare Jess Dream Of Me.

     Flores’ career includes two Champion of Champions wins and two Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity wins. He has ranked in the top three in the Quarter Horse standings at Los Alamitos nearly every year for the past 15 seasons at Los Alamitos. His 1,604 Quarter Horse wins place him only behind Blane Schvaneveldt and Paul Jones in the all-time list here. Flores is also one stakes win shy from reaching 100 at Los Alamitos for his career. He would become only the fifth trainer to reach triple digits in stakes win at the Cypress oval.

    He is the first trainer to repeat as leading Quarter Horse trainer since Paul Jones won eight consecutive crowns from 2011 to 2018.

    Monty Arrossa finished second in the Quarter Horse standings in wins with 56 victories. Arrossa led all trainers with 18 stakes wins this season. The race for the title was closely contested as Heath Taylor was third with 55 wins, while Paul Jones was fourth with 51 victories.   

     Cruz Mendez, who is Flores’ go-to-rider, won the fifth Quarter Horse riding title of his career and first since 2015. Mendez finished the year with 56 victories from 270 mounts, two more than Armando Cervantes’ 54. For his career, Mendez has won 1,087 Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos, a figure that ranks him 15th all-time here.

      Second in wins, Cervantes was first in stakes wins for the meet with 15. Jesus Rios Ayala, last year’s leading Quarter Horse rider, finished third this year with 47 wins. Henry Reynoso Lopez was fourth with 41.  

      Ed Allred won the Quarter Horse owner title after picking up 41 wins from 285 starters, while Johnny Trotter, owner of Famous Shining Star, was second in wins with 18 wins. Allred top runners included Restricted Grade 1 winner London Toby and stakes winner Remember Her. Dunn Ranch finished third in the standings with 17 wins, while Keith Nellesen completed the top four with 15 victories. Dunn Ranch’s top horses included Grade 1 winners Apollitical Pence and Take A Swig Of This and Grade 2 winner Ain’t He Tempting. Nellesen’s barn was headed by multiple graded stakes winner Political Rivalry.    

      In the Thoroughbred standings, Edgar Payeras topped the year-end leaderboard with 21 victories, while Cesar Ortega followed with 14 wins. The ultra versatile rider Henry Reynoso Lopez and Ricardo Ramirez, last year’s leading Thoroughbred pilot, finished third with 13 wins each.

       Angela Aquino accomplished a nice double in the Thoroughbred rankings as she finished as the leading trainer with 29 wins and leading owner with 12 victories. This Aquino’s third training title with Thoroughbreds at Los Alamitos. Jesus Nunez, Sergio Morfin, and Jesus Uranga all finished in a tied for second in the Thoroughbred trainer standings with 12 wins each. In the owner standings, Ashley Garcia was second with eight wins and Margarito Farias was third with seven wins.  

      In the Mixed-breed ranks, trainer Jesus Uranga topped the standings for the second straight year with 32 wins. Sergio Morfin was second with 29 while Milton Pineda was third with 17 wins. Uranga and Battle Born Racing tied for the leading owner title with 12 wins each in the Mixed-Breed standings. Battle Born Racing’s top winner in this category was Tizlightning, who won both the Summer and Winter Championships at 1,000 yards while also posting a track-record time. The racing partnership of Belico Racing LLC and Lizbeth Medina completed the top three in the owner rankings with 11 wins.  

      The 74th  year of racing at Los Alamitos will open on Saturday, December 30th 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 7 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.     

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