Chance To Fire, Well Good and several homebreds shine
Making his ninth start in a stakes races, Abigail Kawananakoa’s talented gelding Chance To Fire scored his first ever stakes victory after holding off Vince Genco’s Madam Of Fire Mv by a neck to win the $25,000 Sprint Stakes for 3-year-olds and upwards on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
The Ed Allred-bred gelding by Walk Thru Fire started fast from post number two before taking the lead a few strides out of the gate. From there, he led every step of the rest of the 350-yard race, while improving his career record to six wins in 20 starts. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Chance To Fire earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $348,986.
“Chance To Fire has always had a lot of talent, but when you hook the best horses in America it’s hard to beat them,” O’Dell said. “There were some tough horses in this race, but he got in the clear and that helps. He got a decent break. With Quarter Horses it’s all at the gate, that’s the biggest part of it. If you have a nice horse and get out clean, you are in good shape. Ms. Abigail will be happy with this win.”
As a 2-year-old, Chance To Fire finished third in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity, second in the Governor’s Cup Futurity, and fourth in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity. As a 3-year-old, he was second in both the Governor’s Cup Derby and PCQHRA Breeders Derby. He ran fifth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship earlier this season.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Jose Flores, Madam Of Fire Mv earned $5,625 for running second. First Royal Cartel, My Favorite Cartel, The Revenant, Ray Donovan, Firey Colt, and Remember The Rose completed the field.
EG High Desert Farms swept the Freshman Stakes and Freshman Stakes for fillies on California Breeders Champions Night with a pair of homebreds. The Temecula-based racing operation won the $25,000 race for fillies with the 5-1 choice A Mere Bail before scoring in the Freshman event with the 9-1 longshot El Angel Corona over a strong field that included Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity winner Chayito Cartel and the unbeaten Up And Coming. Both winners for EG High Desert Farms were ridden by Luis Sandoval Ramirez and trained by Jesus Nunez.
“It’s always an extra nice win when it’s a surprising win,” said Enrique Gonzalez of EG High Desert. “It was a difficult race, but we were very fortunate in that El Angel Corona had a nice start and no trouble at all. I purchased his dam (the Special Leader mare Special Ela) in Oklahoma and I’ve always liked her a lot. She’s beautiful mare with nice class. I felt she made a good cross with my veteran stallion Corona Czech and when we’ve done those type of crosses, it has worked out.”
El Angel Corona earned $13,750 for the win after covering the 350 yards in :17.779. He’s hit the board in all five of his career starts.
EG’s green and gold silks were also in the winner’s circle in the evening’s third race when A Mere Bail covered the 350 yards in :18.0. The daughter of A Mere Chocolate was picking up her first win in four starts.
“The filly is still a little green,” Gonzalez said. “She didn’t post the fastest of times, but she made some money and enjoyed a nice victory. I have to thank my team because they really have done a good job. Jesus Nunez has been very easy to work with.”
As for winning rider Sandoval Ramirez, he enjoyed his first two stakes wins at Los Alamitos.
The complete order of finish in the Freshman Stakes is as follows: El Angel Corona, Favorite Illusion, Best Yet, Up And Coming, Tell Cartel, Chayito Cartel, Wrong Impression, Diamond Rock, Corona Lake, and Mister Tornado.
The complete order of finish in the Freshman Fillies Stakes is as follows: A Mere Bail, Jess A Favorite Kiss, Kick It On Back, My Diamond Foose, Mia Cartel, and Fayvorite Chick.
The sophomore races went to homebreds as well, as Mesa Valley Farms’ Bolt For Gold (photo) scored a head win in the $25,000 Jens List Memorial Stakes, while Jesus Daniel Padilla’s Baby Special Corona, an easy ¾ length winner in the $25,000 Debutante Stakes.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Mark Skeen, Bolt For Gold bumped at the start, but quickly recovered to catch early leader Anas Image before holding off the fast closing Red Hawk Cartel. A gelding by Favorite Cartel, Bolt For Gold came into this race after running in the trials to the Governor’s Cup Derby. Sent off at 8-1 odds, Bolt For Gold covered the 400 yards in :19.873. The runner-up in the Corona Chick Handicap for 2-year-olds last year, Bolt For Gold earned $13,750 for this victory. He has now earned $41,590 while winning four of 13 career starts.
Martha Wells’ Red Hawk Cartel, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, earned $5,625 for running second. Accommodating finished third and was followed by Anas Image, Cavuto and Callender.
In the Debutante Stakes at 350-yards, Baby Special Corona recorded her second win in a row after defeating multiple stakes winner Striver by ¾ lengths in a time of :17.613. The daughter of Two Corona Special and out of Da One came into this race after breaking maiden in her sixth career start on July 6.
“She’s improved every time and I had a lot of trust on the filly tonight. I thought she had a good chance to win and she got it done,” trainer Felix Gonzalez said. “We’ll play it by ear with this filly and see what opportunities come up.”
Now a two-time winner in seven starts, Baby Special Corona earned $13,750 in the Debutante to more than double her career earnings to $22,410. Julio De La Torre piloted the full-sister to Champion of Champions finalist Da One Two Special to victory. Mayas Signature, Miss Montielita, Quick To Royalty, and Razzel Dazzel completed the field.
Ed Allred’s homebred Well Good continued his strong 2019 campaign with a half-length victory in the $20,000 California Breeders 550-Yard Stakes for 3-year-olds and up. The Kiddy Up gelding enjoyed his fourth win in five starts this year with three of those victories coming in a stakes race. He also won the Cypress Handicap at 350 yards on January 25 and the $35,000 Kaweah Bar Handicap at 350 yards on May 4. This was his second win at 550 yards this season and avenged his runner-up finish in last year’s California Breeders 550-Yard Sophomore Stakes.
“He likes the distance, but he’s not a great 550-yard horse,” trainer Scott Willoughby said. “He’s a 500-yard horse. They were eating him up there at the end, but he’s such a great old horse that just tries as hard as he can every race he goes. Last year he was second in seven starts, but this year he’s having a lot of success winning several races. I’m really happy with him.”
Ridden by Vinnie Bednar, Well Good earned $11,000 for the win to take his career earnings to $122,854. He’s won seven of 30 career and has finished in the top three in 24 of those outings. Well Good covered the 550 yards in a hand time of 27 seconds flat. Ballast Point ran second and was followed by Newport Coaster, Dustys Classic Dash, Sepertist Dash and Favorable Separation.
The $17,500 Sophomore Claiming Stakes went to Ed Allred’s Topock Gorge, who edged Laguna Coaster by a nose. Ridden by Jonathan Roman for trainer James Glenn, Jr., Topock Gorge covered the 350-yards in :17.716. The Foose gelding earned $9,625 for the win.
The all-sources handle for the 12-race California Breeders Champions Night was a season-high $1,951,251. That figure represented a 1.6% increase from last year’s all-sources handle of $1,920,811 for the 12-race Champions Night card.