IT’S THE BIGGEST WEEKEND OF THE 2017 QUARTER HORSE RACING SEASON
THE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16 & THE LOS ALAMITOS TWO MILLION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17
The year-long Quarter Horse racing season comes to a close this weekend at Los Alamitos Race Course with its two most important races of the year on tap on Saturday and Sunday night. On Saturday night, 2015 AQHA world champion Heza Dasha Fire will look to score his second victory in the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions when he leads a 10-horse field in the prestigious 440-yard race. Trained by Jose Flores for S-Quarter K LLC, Heza Dasha Fire won the 2015 running of the Champion of Champions and was second in this race last year. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire is one of the all-time greats in Quarter Horse racing and an eight-time Grade 1 stakes winner. Heza Dasha Fire is winner of over $2 million in his racing career and with a victory in the Champion of Champions on Saturday he could have a chance to become the breed’s all-time leading earner in 2018. He’s one of only six horses to win back-to-back runnings of the Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and one of only two since 1969 to win consecutive runnings of the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap.
Heza Dasha Fire’s chief rival in the Champion of Champions figures to be Bill Hoburg’s BH Lisas Boy, who is a perfect six for six in 2017. After winning three stakes races – two of them in Grade 1 stakes – during the first half of the year, BH Lisas Boy required surgery in early July to remove bone chips in his knee. He returned from the surgery to the second division of the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on November 19. He’ll look to make it a perfect seven in 2017 on Saturday night.
“I have been poor my whole life and I've turned down more money (this year) for this horse than I ever thought I would ever turn down," Hoburg said. "This is a dream I've had for 40 years to have a horse like this. I'm just not going to sell my dreams. I can throw hay over the fence at him for the rest of his life. The berth to the Champion of Champions means more than the money,"
Closing night of the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse meet is Sunday evening and it will be highlighted by the running of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity for juveniles. The fastest qualifier is Call Me Cole, who will race from the outside post 10 for trainer Mike Robbins. Bookending the field will be the Jaime Gomez-trained J Fire Up, who will start from the rail, a spot that she’s enjoyed success from this year. J Fire Up has won the Golden State Million Futurity and Governor’s Cup Futurity this year. She was second in the Ed Burke Million Futurity earlier this campaign.
There are two giveaways on closing weekend at Los Alamitos. Sweatshirts will be given away to fans on Saturday after 5 p.m. with a paid admission, while wall calendars are the promotional item on Sunday starting at 10 a.m. with a paid admission. The new meet kicks off at Los Alamitos on Friday night, December 29.
The Champion of Champions was first contested at Los Alamitos in 1972 when Mr Jet Moore edged champions Kaweah Bar and Charger Bar. Since then, 28 of its winners have been crowned World Champion by the AQHA, including the 2015 Champion of Champions winner Heza Dasha Fire. Jim Walker’s Zoomin For Spuds won last year’s running of the Champion of Champions. Easy Date, Dash For Cash, Refrigerator, SLM Big Daddy, Tailor Fit and Blues Girl Too are among the World Champions that have won the sport's most prestigious race for older horses.
For complete rules and requirements please visit the updated Los Alamitos Stakes book at losalamitos.com or call 714-820-2788. Horses participating in the 2017 Champion of Champions must be on the grounds at Los Alamitos Race Course three weeks prior to the race. All participants will be hair tested.