Owned and bred by Christian and Ru Anna Singletary and Joleen Hales, Tres Of Linda won the first major Quarter Horse stakes race of the year thanks to a flying start and a gutsy finish in the Grade 2 $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves and trained by Scott Willoughby, Tres Of Linda broke cleanly from post four at odds of 9-1 and right away started battling with Onemoreglassofwine in the 400-yard dash. Tres Of Linda took the lead with about 150 yards to go and from there she needed all her might to hold off the fast closing Thisfeatureisspecial in the final yards. Tres Of Linda covered the distance in :19.770 while earning her fifth win in 11 career starts. The 4-year-old daughter of Tres Seis earned $50,000 for the win to take her career bankroll to $142,061.
“This is a race that I’ve always wanted to win,” said Ru Anna Singletary. “We met Joleen on an internet racing group many years ago. We started meeting at the Quarter Horse sales and now we stay together at Ruidoso Downs in the summer and we keep some of our broodmares at her place. She’s originally from California, but she lives in Madill, Oklahoma and owns Texoma Quarter Horses there where she stands several stallions. She’s the one that had the breeding to Tres Seis and she called me one day to see if we were interested in partnering and breeding our mare Lindas Dasher to Tres Seis. That’s how we got Tres Of Linda and it was her breeding to Tres Seis.”
Tres Of Linda enjoyed an outstanding sophomore campaign in which she finished second or better in five of seven starts. She won the Adequan California Derby Challenge and she qualified to the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby, where she finished in fifth place.
“She stumbled at the start of the Super Derby, but she stayed with them in the Derby for the first 300 yards,” Willoughby said. “Those tough boys (Deniro and Hez Our Secret) were too much for her at the end. She broke as good as I’ve seen any horse break this year in the Charger Bar and that was huge for her. It was going to take a great horse to catch her. This was a tough bunch of mares – the best in the nation. Flame N Flash was in this field and she ran second in the Champion of Champions. Tres Of Linda can be a little flighty, she can be a little nervous. We took our time to get her ready last year and she seems to be carrying her weight a lot better this year. She’s maturing and that has a lot to do with it. She’s gotten better each year.”
It seems like Tres Of Linda is winning the races that her mother, Lindas Dasher, came so narrowly close to winning during a productive racing career in the mid 2000s. Lindas Dasher’s only stakes win came in the Huntington Beach Overnight Handicap, but she finished second in the Governor’s Cup Futurity and Derby, Ed Burke Memorial Futurity, PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and Las Damas Handicap.
“Lindas Dasher came in second in so many graded stakes races so to win one with her daughter is a special thing,” said Christian Singletary. “It’s special because of the class of horses that she was facing: Flame N Flash, Getit Together, Thisfeatureisspecial and all the other great runners in this race. We sat there and looked at all of them and we couldn’t throw any of them out. All we could say was that if she got out of there that we knew that she would give us her everything. She had time off coming into this race, she was rested and relaxed. She just gave us a great start for the year 2013.”
For the Singletaries to enjoy great fortunes with Willoughby on their side is nothing new. During Lindas Dasher’s freshman campaign in 2004, Willoughby also qualified the couple's Heza Secret Diamond and Quick To Jitter to Grade 1 futurities at Los Alamitos. Quick To Jitter ran in the Grade 1 Kindergarten, while Heza Secret Diamond won the Ed Burke Memorial.
“I remember Dr. Ed Allred walking down the stairs to talk to us and ask us how many 2-year-olds we had that season,” Christian recalled. “I told him that we had only bought the three. He looked at me and said, ‘You only bought three and they’ve all qualified to Grade 1 futurities? You know that that doesn’t happen very often?’ Scott deserved a lot of credit for those horses. Scott is a great horseman and he knows how horses are feeling just by looking at them. He’s just fabulous.”
Tres Of Linda is eligible to compete in the trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Sunday, January 27. Her schedule could only include the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap and she’s eligible to the Bank of America Racing Challenge.
“We’ll take it as it comes,” Christian Singletary added. “Hopefully she’s feeling good and comes out of this race in great shape for the Winter Championship trials. Hopefully she qualifies to the Winter Championship and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Trained by Paul Jones for Mauro Eli Zaborowsky, Thisfeatureisspecial played the role of bridesmaid again at Los Alamitos. The talented 6-year-old mare was second toFredaville in the Merial California Distaff Challenge last August and was second to Flame N Flash in the Mildred Vessels last year. She probably would have won the Charger Bar Handicap if this was a 440-yard race.
“She was coming after us,” Tres Of Linda’s jockey Rodrigo Aceves said. “I’m just thrilled that we got to the finish line before it was too late. My horse is tough to beat when she leaves like she did tonight.”
Ridden by Ramon Sanchez, Thisfeatureisspecial earned $17,000 for running second. Mimi Wells’ Getit Together, second in last year’s Charger Bar, settled for third place this year. She earned $10,000. Shez Jess Toxic, Onemoreglassofwine, Feature Jessie Gail, Touch Of Paso, Separate Thoughts, Royally Sandra and the even money favorite Flame N Flash completed the field.
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