Francisco Guzman’s Remembering Spence followed his tremendous performance in the trials to the Grade 1 $231,650 Los Alamitos Winter Derby with a hard fought nose victory over Robert Williams’ Perrys Affair on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Francisco Rubio for trainer Arnold Pulido, the even-money favorite Remembering Spence broke just a tad behind Perrys Affair from post one, but he was quick into stride and stayed within striking distance of the leader. Remembering Spence caught up to Perrys Affair with about 100 yards left in the 400 yard derby and from there the two dueled with every stride. In the end, Remembering Spence was first to the wire by the narrowest of margins to earn the biggest victory of his career. Bred by Ed Allred, the son of TR Dasher out of Sables Bono covered the distance in :19.587 while earning his fourth victory in seven career starts. Pulido also saddled Perrys Affair to give him the top two finishers in this race.
A graduate of the 2011 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, Remembering Spence has never finished out of the money and his record includes a victory in the Ed Burke Memorial Juvenile and a third place finish in the Governor’s Cup Futurity on July 28. That outing was his final start of 2012 and when he came back for his 3-year-old season he was gelding ready for action in the Winter Derby trials on January 26.
“A friend of mine with experience in horse racing suggested gelding him,” Guzman said. “I listened to the advice and it worked. I didn’t expect this victory, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Guzman noted that he was well aware of the meaning behind Remembering Spence’s name. Allred named the horse in honor of his mentor and friend Spencer Childers, the Hall of Fame breeder and owner who passed away in July of 2009. Remembering Spence’s mother is Sables Bono, a mare with deep roots in Childers’ outstanding breeding program. Sables Bono’s sire is Bono Jazz, a stakes winner that Childers campaigned. Her mother is Sables Secret, who won the La Primera Del Ano Derby for Childers in 1993. Sables Bono’s granddam is Black Sable, the winner of the 1979 Rainbow Derby and that year’s champion 3-year-old filly. Childers campaigned Black Sable as well.
Remembering Spence’s Winter Derby win earned him $97,380 to take his career earnings to $167,210. The bay sprinter is also eligible to compete in the trials to the PCQHRA Breeders Derby on September 13.
“We are looking forward to seeing this horse try his best and give it his all,” the owner added.
For Pulido, the 1-2 finish in the Winter Derby ranks as one of the best moments of his training career. He also enjoyed a big night during last year’s California Breeders Champions Night, as he saddled Twelve Stepper to victory in the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap and Eskimiss to victory in a Claiming Stakes race.
“I worked as a groom at Los Alamitos for trainer Brian Koriner,” Pulido said. “Brian taught me a lot. I also helped my brother Ramon Pulido train his horses for about five years in the Northern California fair circuit. Over the years I’ve learned that the easiest way to go is to have great teamwork. With this horse, I think the time off after the end of his 2-year-old campaign helped him a lot. It helped make his mind better and that’s helped work with him in the gate. He’s looks good so far.”
Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Perrys Affair earned $39,380 for his runner-up finish in the Winter Derby. The gelding by Mr Jess Perry also won his derby trial in eye-catching form and he nearly pulled off the upset at 8-1 odds. Double Bar S Ranch’s Creole Williams earned $27,798 for running third. The son of Jess Louisiana Blue was last at the start, but he ran like a monster from there to finish in third place for trainer Paul Jones. Balgo Racing Team’s Gold Flames On Fire finished fourth. The complete order of finish is as follows: Remembering Spence, Perrys Affair, Creole Williams, Gold Flames On Fire, Fires Blazin, Blistering Speed, High School Secrets, Stel My Corona and Buy Buy. Jabuti Eagle SA was scratched.