Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire (left) was named PCQHRA Horse of the Year and top aged gelding in California at the annual awards banquet at Los Alamitos on Thursday night.
Last To Fire won the Champion of Champions, Vessels Maturity and Go Man Go Handicap on the way to ranking as the number one Quarter Horse in the top 10 national poll for older horses.
“He showed his talent as a 2 and 3-year-old, but he grew into a mature star as a 4-year-old,” said Jesus’ son, Jose Avila.
Avila and Cuevas also received the owner special achievement award, as they campaigned Golden State Million Futurity winner Turbulent Times.
Vince Genco received the Frank Vessels, Sr. Memorial Award in recognition of an Outstanding Contribution to the Sport of Quarter Horse Racing. Genco serves on numerous racing committees at the national and state level and for many years has been a driving force in helping to popularize American Quarter Horse racing in Brazil. He has been involved in sending noted stallions like Holland Ease to Brazil for breeding and has also managed the stables for leading owners like the late Gianna Samaja, Benny Rosset and many more. Genco was not able to be at the Awards Banquet because of a previous commitment in Brazil. Other horses that Genco has been connected with include Champion of Champions and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity winner Good Reason SA, All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here, champion Stylish Jess BR and Grade 1 winner Strength In Numbers.
Ed Allred was named the owner and breeder of the year, while Paul Jones was recognized as the trainer of the year. Leading rider Cruz Mendez was named the jockey of the year, while three-time Champion of Champions winning rider Eduardo Nicasio received the jockey special achievement award. Ron Hartley was presented with the breeder special achievement award.
Top horses that were recognized featured top 2-year-old colt Five Bar Cartel, winner of the Ed Burke Million Futurity; top 2-year-old filly Up For It, winner of the Governor’s Cup Futurity; top 2-year-old gelding Foose Cash SR, winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. In the 3-year-old division; Los Alamitos Super Derby winner Matabari was named the top 3-year-old filly. Golden State Derby winner Far Niente was recognized as the top 3-year-old gelding, while Southern California Derby winner Jabuti Eagle SA was the top 3-year-old gelding. Check N Fetch, winner of the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap and Grade 1 Merial Distaff Championship, was named the top aged mare. Hez Our Secret, who ran second to the great Ochoa in the Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, was named the top aged stallion.
Other equine awards included PCQHRA Breeders Derby winner Significant Heart being recognized as the Most Improved Horse and Ronsepi being named the Iron Horse of the Year. PCQHRA presented La Presita LLC’s Takin Some Gold with the James V.A. Carter Award for Outstanding Broodmare. Takin Some Gold is the mother of Two Million winner Foose Cash SR. The sire of Foose Cash SR, the freshman stallion Foose, was presented with the Three Bars Award as the outstanding stallion. Foose is represented by a syndicate.
Raul Valenzuela, who made a tremendous splash during the second half of the Los Alamitos season, was presented with the Val Tonks Award for up and coming Quarter Horse jockey. Orlando Gutierrez, the track’s marketing and publicity director, received the Sam Thompson Award, which is presented to an individual who displays leadership within the Los Alamitos racing community. Gerardo Prado’s Vodka With Ice was recognized as the Intermountain Horse of the Year at Los Alamitos.
Awards for the top Thoroughbred horsemen were given to owner Mike Flory, trainer Charles Treece and jockey Ramon Guce. The leading Quarter Horse horsemen in the Northern California Fairs were also recognized on the night. They are owner Isauro Guillen, trainer Miguel Gonzalez and jockey Jesus Arriaga. Awards for leading money winning Cal-bred in 10 difference divisions were also presented on the night night. They are as follows:
LEADING MONEY-EARNING TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED COLT: FLYING TOP FUELER
Cal-Bred Breeder: Patricia Visscher
LEADING MONEY-EARNING TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED GELDING: VIVA MI CORAZON
Cal-Bred Breeder: Bob and/or Jerry Gaston
LEADING MONEY-EARNING TWO-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED FILLY: UP FOR IT
Cal-Bred Breeder: Edward C. Allred.
LEADING MONEY-EARNING THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED COLT: HENOSHERSECRET
Cal-Bred Breeder: P. Jones / Thompson Racing, Inc.
LEADING MONEY-EARNING THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED GELDING: REMEMBERING SPENCE
Cal-Bred Breeder: Edward C. Allred
LEADING MONEY-EARNING THREE-YEAR-OLD CAL-BRED FILLY REVV ME UP
Cal-Breeder: Paul C. Jones and Keilani Farms
LEADING MONEY-EARNING AGED CAL-BRED STALLION: HEZ OUR SECRET
Cal-Bred Breeder: Vessels Stallion Farm, LLC
LEADING MONEY-EARNING AGED CAL-BRED GELDING: LAST TO FIRE
Cal-Bred Breeder: Estate of Spencer Childers
LEADING MONEY-EARNING AGED CAL-BRED MARE: CHECK N FETCH
Cal-Breeder: Mr. or Mrs. Judd L. Morse
LEADING MONEY-EARNING CAL-BRED HORSE OF THE YEAR: LAST TO FIRE
Cal-Bred Breeder: Estate of Spencer Childers