Ed Allred’s Time To Leave held off a strong group of fillies and mares to win the $35,000 Denim N Diamonds Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
The 4-year-old mare’s victory gives Allred his 98th career stakes victory. Back on February 8, Allred became the first to reach 1,500 Quarter Horse wins as owner. He is now two win shy of becoming the first owner to reach 100 Quarter Horse stakes victories. Time To Leave earned $19,250 for the win to more than double her career earnings to $36,448. Sired by Walk Thru Fire and out of the Raise A Secret mare Departing, the homebred mare was picking up her third career win in 16 starts.
Sent off at odds of 18-1, Time To Leave covered the 350 yards in :17.514 from post number one for jockey Ramon Sanchez and trainer Scott Willoughby. Time To Leave finished a neck ahead of C.K. and Laurel Allen’s Strawfinders Jessee, the winner of the Denim N Diamonds last year. Allred’s Tough To Figure, the winner of the Stablewoods Farm Stakes last year, finished third with Grade 2 stakes finalist Chowchilla Chickadee running fourth and Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap winner Thermonuclear Energy finished fifth after bumping at the start. On Our Way, Chickakid and La Rusa completed the field.
Willoughby is nearing some impressive numbers as well. The trainer is now seven wins away from becoming only the 17th trainer to saddle 600 Quarter Horse winners at Los Alamitos. Sanchez’s winning ride was his 145th in a stakes race at Los Alamitos. Eddie Garcia is the only rider with 150 stakes wins at Los Alamitos.
Time To Leave is a half-sister to four-time stakes winner Snitcher, who won the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap and Grade 1 Vessels Maturity in 2011. Prior to scoring her first career stakes win in the Denim N Diamonds, Time To Leave defeated allowance runners on December 30 and was second against $25,000 claimers on November 2.
“She has been picking herself up lately and getting better and better with every trip,” Willoughby said. “We thought she was a good filly earlier and she just had not come out. She took her own time to get her mind right and she’s starting to really run and get away from the gate. She really has changed over the last two to three months. I really like the way she’s come around. Time To Leave and Tough To Figure both ran really well.”
On closing in on the personal milestones, Willoughby added that “We’ve had a great time here at Los Alamitos. It’s a great place to race.”
Ridden by Eddie Garcia for trainer John Cooper, Strawfinders Jessee earned $7,875 for running second. The One Sweet Jess mare was making her first start since September 23. This was her 20th in the money finish in 30 career starts. She’s earned $134,267 in her career.