Q-Racing Journal, January 25, 2012 – This weekend’s trials for the $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) and $232,650 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) themselves have a Grade 1 feel, as a number of champions will be on display.
Champions Rylees Boy, Cold Cash 123, Jess You And I and Hez Our Secret are all set to run at Los Alamitos. The horses with the 10-fastest times will return for the finals on February 16-17, and the Winter Championship winner receives the year’s first invitation to the Champion of Champions (G1) in December.
In the Winter Championship trials, the first provides a matchup of Rylees Boy with El Aguila Real.
Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy (Heza Motor Scooter-Pipistrelle by Rocky Jones) rallied to catch Flame N Flash to win the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) by a head on December 15. He was rewarded as the champion aged horse and champion aged gelding. It was the second-straight year he was named the champion aged gelding.
Javier Molina’s El Aguila Real (Corona Czech-I Am All That by Lanes Leinster) started a three-race winning streak when he won last year’s Winter Championship at 10-1 odds. That winning streak concluded with his victory in the $200,000 Vessels Maturity (G1).
In the second trial, 2011 world champion Cold Cash 123 meets the class-filled veteran Jess You And I and the recently named champion 3-year-old colt Hez Our Secret.
T-Bill Stables’ homebred Cold Cash 123 (Oak Tree Special-Hot Cash 123 by Takin On The Cash) had a throw-out race in the Champion of Champions when he broke slowly and then lacked racing room. The gelding finished eighth as the 19-10 favorite. He earned that favoritism after winning the Go Man Go Handicap (G1) and finishing a close third in the Los Alamitos Championship (G1) in his only other starts at Los Alamitos for trainer Denny Ekins.
The Grade 1 derby season starts Saturday night with Bobby Cox’s homebred The August Heat, a close second in the $2,024,275 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1), returning in the trials to the $232,650 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1).
The August Heat (Corona Cartel-Jess Genuine by Mr Jess Perry) got hot this winter in his latest two starts when he won his Los Alamitos Two Million trial by 1 1/2 lengths and then just missed the win in the Los Alamitos Two Million, the richest race during the yearlong season at Los Alamitos. In the 400-yard Two Million, The August Heat battled with Matabari and suffered a very narrow defeat in the tight finish between the top-four runners.
The August Heat races in the second trial and faces $398,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (RG2) runner-up JR Dynasty Mountain (FDD Dynasty-Prissy B Panther by Panther Mountain) and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity third-place finisher and fellow Million qualifier Far Niente (FDD Dynasty-Shahayla by Chicks Beduino).
The first trial brings together PCQHRA Breeders Futurity winner Stel My Corona (Stel Corona-Ocean Express by Fishers Dash) and $375,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) winner Secretly Hot (Walk Thru Fire-Secret Reflection by Raise A Secret).
Arnold Gonzalez’s Fires Blazin (Walk Thru Fire-Thatsa Blazin Chick by Chicks A Blazin) is very well seasoned at the Grade 1 level after qualifying for the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million, Golden State Million and the Los Alamitos Million futurities. The gelding’s best effort was a second-place finish, beaten by a length, behind world champion One Dashing Eagle in the Ed Burke Million.
Fires Blazin drew into the fourth trial against Wild West Futurity winner Checkspeed (Check Him Out-Speedy Speedette by Red Hot Rhythm), who has been first or second in his latest four starts for trainer John Wells.
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