LARC NEWS Posted: 2/19/2024 1:22:10 AM


           Ed Allred's homebred London Toby has been spectacular many times during his racing career, but he topped all his previous efforts thanks to a come-from-behind victory in the Grade 1, $134,500 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday night.

The son of Favorite Cartel got smashed hard from both sides leaving the gate in the 400 yard race and soon found himself 1 1/4 lengths behind EG High Desert Farms' Marcelo. He was still far behind the leader at the midway point, and just when it seemed that there would be no catching Marcelo, London Toby began to bridge the gap. Even with 50 yards left in the race, it appeared that Marcelo would have enough to win the Grade 1 event, but jockey Gabriel Gomez Lara and London Toby had a different idea. 

"(London Toby) was flying late in the race, and was closing so hard and on his own," said the 28-year-old Gomez Lara, who only began riding full-time last year. "I was thinking ‘I’m going to catch him; I have to catch him.’ The horse was responding to me. From the moment he left the gates, the horse had the idea that he was going to win. Marcelo is so fast at the start and at 300 yards, and just so quick. He started coming back to us at the end. At the finish line, I was so happy. (London Toby) is just so good. It’s the first time I’ve been on this great horse."

By the time London Toby crossed the wire, there was not even a need to check the photo finish. Sent off at 5-1 odds, The sensational sorrel was a clear neck ahead of Marcelo, giving Gomez Lara the first stakes victory of his career. A native of Veracruz, Mexico, Gomez Lara has only had 79 mounts in his career, and this was his 12th win. Gomez Lara's first Grade 1 stakes win also came against his cousin, Irving Lara, who did a great job taking Marcelo to the lead in the Brad McKinzie at odds of 44-1. As track announcer Michael Wrona pointed out after the race, the "cousins exacta" paid $232.40. 

"Scott Willoughby gave me an opportunity in December and we’ve been working great together," Gomez Lara said.

Willoughby and his staff have done a tremendous job caring for the beautiful sorrel London Toby. The Allred-bred raced only twice during his juvenile campaign in 2020 before making two winning starts during his sophomore season. Those wins included a daylight win to earn his maiden diploma followed by an incredible four-length allowance victory at 330 yards. That would be it for 2021 campaign before posting two more victories as a 4-year-old in 2022, including a two-length win in the Grade 3 First Down Dash Handicap. Allred, Quarter Horse racing's all-time leading owner and breeder, was so impressed that he said, "I think he's the best horse I’ve ever owned.”

The gifted and talented London Toby has also had to deal with some troubling stomach ailments Allred said after that First Down Dash start. “He’s been a patient of the University of California Davis a couple of times,” Allred said. “He has a special diet. Every race we get out of him is a joy."

London Toby's winning effort in the Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship is his 16th career start. He's now won six times and has career earnings of $195,056. London Toby earned $56,868 of that amount in the Brad McKinzie, which he covered the distance in :19.770. The effort also puts the now 6-year-old gelding out of London Laura on course to race in the Grade 1, $700,000 Champion of Champions on December 14.

Watching the replay of the Brad McKinzie, Willoughby was in awe of London Toby's effort. 

"He got hit, but right here, I thought he had plenty of room and I know he has a great kick on him," Willoughby said while watching the replay of the early part of the race. "He started reaching. (Marcelo) was out in front of him quite a way, but he ran him down. This horse is fast. He’s always been one of the fastest horses I’ve ever trained. He’s had some unfortunate problems that kept him from being one of the best horses. He’s going to love 440.

“We don’t have to run him again until we want to. We backed off him and didn’t run him in the Z. Wayne Griffin Trial (last year). He wasn’t 100 percent. He was like 90 percent, and it takes 100 percent to beat those horses. We didn’t worry about the Champion of Champions last year and just figured we would get ready and try to beat them this year. I wasn’t able to get a race in him before the (Winter Championship) trials. It worked out great to have trials. He ran a solid race, and you could see him finishing strongly in the trials. He got a little tired, but he was set up pretty well.

"I give Gabriel all the credit in the world for not giving up on this horse in that race," Willoughby added. "It would have been pretty easy to just let him coast down through there after getting hit. He’s done a great job all year."

Marcelo, a gelding by Fast Prize Cartel, earned $23,018 for his runner-up effort. Trained by Jesus Nunez, the EG High Desert Farms-bred runner was superb early on as he outdueled Ed and Von Zae McNelis' Grade 1 winner Scoops Dynasty for second place. Trained by Monty Arrossa and ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, Scoops Dynasty earned $16,248 for running third. The top three were followed by Hes Chickless, Future Version, Jeriko, Mahomes Magic, Mr Racy Perry, and Take A Swig Of This. Bobby Cox's Jeriko, the even money favorite, was off slow after swiping the gate on his way out. The winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby entered the race as the fastest qualifier from trials night.





More/Less News...

More/Less News...

More/Less News...

More/Less News...

More/Less News...

CalRacing Promos