American Quarter Horse Association, February 13, 2014 – Top runners fill the $196,600 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) and $156,250 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1), set to run Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at Los Alamitos.
In the Winter Derby, trainer Trey Wood brings out two powerful contenders – SS Paydirt and Viva Mi Corazon.
Richard Frandsen’s homebred SS Paydirt (Carters Cartel-Mia Ta Fame by Dash Ta Fame) is close to being undefeated. The gelding’s record shows five wins from seven starts, though his two losses came when he was disqualified from the win in the $114,656 Bitterroot Futurity (RG3) at Les Bois Park and then finished fourth at 2-1 odds in the $151,500 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos after being knocked around at the start.
In his first start for Wood, SS Paydirt dominated his Winter Derby trial by a length over fellow qualifier Ms Perry (Mr Jess Perry-Runaway Shaker by Runaway Winner) and set the fastest qualifying time of :19.476 for 400 yards.
Viva Mi Corazon (First Down Dash-Miss Sin Tacha by Mr Jess Perry) is owned by 2013 champion owners Johnny Trotter and Burnett Ranches LLC, and has found a winning home at Los Alamitos. He has four wins from five local outs, including in the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2), and a second place in the $1,916,525 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) as the 8-5 favorite.
Also preparing for the race are the stakes-placed Dynasty Of Habits, who was second to Viva Mi Corazon in the PCQHRA Futurity, and stakes runners Mr Its Country Time and Moonist.
In Sunday’s Los Alamitos Winter Championship, the 4-year-old mare Nellie Delaney faces the battle-tested 9-year-old geldings Rylees Boy and Vodka With Ice.
Those two aged veterans combined have 100 starts, 35 wins and earnings just shy of $1.9 million.
Nancy Yearsley and J. Garvan Kelly’s homebred Nellie Delaney (FDD Dynasty-Fleeting Touch by Tres Seis) will try for her fourth consecutive win in a streak that includes a dead-heat win in the Southern California Derby (G1) and the fastest-qualifying time for the Winter Championship. In the trial, she defeated Rylees Boy by a nose.
The winner of the 400-yard Winter Championship receives the first invitation to the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) in December.
Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s champion Rylees Boy (Heza Motor Scooter-Pipistrelle by Rocky Jones) won this race last year. In December, the three-time champion ran second to eventual world champion Last To Fire in the Champion of Champions.
Gerardo Prado’s Vodka With Ice (Stoli-Hips So Fine by Extra Easy) in November won the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) over former world champion Cold Cash 123, and won his Winter Championship trial by a neck over Rosa Barboza’s Grade 1-winner Remembering Spence (TR Dasher-Sables Bono by Bono Jazz).
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