For the second time this year, World Champion Racing Stables LLC’s Dimes And Nicks (left) was money in a major trial race, as delivered fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1 $227,600 Golden State Derby on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Rodolfo Arvizu for trainer Eloy Navarro, Dimes And Nicks covered the 400 yards in :19.539 – the fastest from among the 22 sophomores that participated in the trial. The son of Azoom out of the champion millionaire Corona Cash had previously posted the fastest time to the El Primero Del Ano Derby back in April. Headed by Dimes And Nicks, the horses with the 10 fastest times will return for the Grade 1 final to be held here on Sunday, August 24.
Navarro is hoping that Dimes And Nicks’ fortune will improve in his second attempt to win a derby. In the El Primero, the Henry Brown-bred gelding was bumped several times and could never get going on his way to finishing in ninth race. Dimes And Nicks enjoyed a clean trip from the outside post in this event, cruising to a 1 ¼ length win at 9-1 odds over Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes winner Another Oatie and Governor’s Cup Derby runner-up Foose Is Loose, who finished in a dead-heat for second.
“He came out of the gate real sharp,” Navarro said. “He seems to like the outside post. If he comes back nicely from this race, I think he’ll be fine in the final.”
Ron and Jeryl Hartley’s Moonist, the winner of the Governor’s Cup Derby two weeks ago and also the El Primero, and the Golden State Million Futurity finalist Solid Connections won the other two derby trials and will also see action in the derby finale.
“It’s going to be a tough final,” Navarro said. “Moonist wil definitely be one of the toughet horses we’ll have to deal with in the final. He’s one of the top horses on the grounds. He beat Dimes And Nicks once in derby, but we’ll see if we can beat him in this match-up.”
Navarro was pleased to have shared Dimes And Nicks’ strong victory with Rodolfo Arvizu, a young pilot that arrived here after plying his trade at Turf Paradise.
“I met (Rodolfo) at Turf Paradise and I invited him to come to Los Alamitos to ride,” Navarro said. “His parents were a little hesitant to see him go, but I told them that I would help him as much as possible. Rodolfo has been doing well since he got here. He’s very likeable and he’s a good, young rider. I’m happy with him and he’s happy being here.”
L.E.M.A. Racing’s Another Oatie crossed the wire tied second place in this trial and finished with the third fastest time of :19.75. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire was making his first start since his victory in the $112,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on February 23.
“I also met Raul Valenzuela at Turf Paradise and I invited him to Los Alamitos as well,” Navarro added. “He’s done great here. I’m happy to have met these two great kids at Turf Paradise. They’re great to work with and talented riders.”
Thompson Racing and Paul Jones’ Foose Is Loose shared the third fastest qualifying time of :19.75 with Another Oatie.
Sunday featured the biggest and brightest moon of the year – a Supermoon –on display in the sky above Los Alamitos and on the racetrack as well, as the super talented Moonist delivered another top effort en route to posting the second fastest qualifying time.
NASA’s website explains that when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it closest to the Earth at a time when the moon is also in its full phase, the 31,000 mile difference in proximity makes for a supermoon. A supermoon at Los Alamitos is now known at the track simply when the two-time derby winner Moonist delivers another impressive victory against top rivals. Moonist posted a 1 ½ length victory in the first to three Golden State trials in a sparkling time of :19.556. The effort improved his winning streak to five straight while taking his 2014 record to six wins in seven starts. The gelding was also making a quick return to the track after winning the Governor’s Cup just two weeks ago on July 26.
“After the race, (jockey) Cesar De Alba came to me and said, ‘let’s run him next week,’” Hartley said. “We thought about skipping this race. But what happens when you pass a race to wait for another one and then something happens? The horse might get sick or something like and then you miss the one you skipped and the one that you were waiting for. Anything can happen in racing. He was ready to run so we decided to go for it.”
“He’ll be good in the final,” trainer John Cooper said. “Of course, everything is great for these next two weeks, but we’ll see how he does in the final. Ron is right about running him now that he’s feeling and doing great. If you wait, then sometimes things happen. A horse might get an abscess or he’ll cough one morning, a lot of things can happen. He’s doing great right now and he ran another good race again. I’m happy for Hartley.”
Hartley has been in racing for over 50 years, and he’s owned a lot of horses over that time.
“I have no idea how many I’ve owned,” Hartley said. “I won a lot of races, which has been nice. To get a horse like Moonist now, the feeling is super. It’s indescribable. My wife is a big supported. I couldn’t do it without her.”
De Alba was also aboard the other trial winner of the night, Paulo Otavio Freire MacEdo’s Solid Connections, who crossed the wire first by a neck over Dont Walk Peacefully in second heat. The filly by Mr Jess Perry covered the distance in the fifth fastest time of :19.771. This was her second victory of the season – her first being a neck victory against allowance foes on June 13. Paul Jones saddled the winner of three of seven career starts. Jones also saddled the third fastest qualifier Foose Is Loose.
The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Dimes And Nicks (:19.539), Moonist, (:19.556), Another Oatie (:19.750), Foose Is Loose (:19.750), Solid Connection (:19.771), A Corona Sunset (:19.779), Dont Walk Peacefully (:19.815), Look Of A Dasher (:19.831), Mystic Rose (:19.831), Kokomo Beach (:19.874).