Those following the two-year-old racing program at Los Alamitos Race Course would be wise to familiarize themselves with some of the owners who will be sending out large numbers of juveniles this year. Such an owner is Stanley Watkins, who currently has six two-year-olds in training.
Of his six freshman runners, only one has started thus far, but many others are gearing up. Exit Strategy, a two-year-old filly by A Regal Choice out of the Raise A Secret mare Elans Secret might be his most qualified. Her dam has produced a trio of winners, including Exit Strategy's half-sister Ladies Boots. A four-year-old daughter of Spanish Boot, Ladies Boots is still racing at Los Alamitos and has earned $39,355 so far in her 19-race career. "I bought Exit Strategy at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale for about $25,000," said Watkins. "She's training well right now and will be starting in the Kindergarten Futurity trials."
Watkins believes he has the best chance with a pair of fillies named Alotaredahotta and Easily Regal. Alotaredahotta, which Watkins bred, will be in action in Saturday's ninth race. "Alotaredahotta has shown the most promise out of all of ours so far," commented Watkins. "I've also been impressed by Easily Regal, but she's been pretty sore of late and it's unclear when she'll make her first start. She still hasn't gotten her first workout in yet."
Originally from the small town of Graham, Texas, Stanley Watkins moved to California at the age of eleven. "Right now my wife and I live just outside of Porterville, California and it's kind of hard for us to make it out to Los Alamitos for the races," Stan added. "It's quite a drive from here in central California to Orange County, but we still get out about once a month. If we have something running and we're not able to be there, then we watch it on TVG."
Watkins currently works as a dog behaviorist, but admits that racing horses is his passion. "I've been with trainer Dennis Ekins since 2001 and have really enjoyed it," said Watkins. "We like to breed most of our horses rather than purchasing them and Denny has been a huge part of that from the start. He's really helped us to elevate our breeding program with his guidance and instruction." Ekins even advises Stan on the purchasing of broodmares and has helped him to make buying decisions with the best interests of his breeding operation in mind.
"A while back Spencer Childers and I were traveling together and he told me the secret to making money in horse racing: start with a lot of money," Stanley said with a laugh. "I know I haven't been in the business for all that long, so I'm always happy to hear suggestions and advice from some of Denny's other owners. "I'm just trying to have some fun."