Legacy Ranch’s Mister Appolitical held off a monster late charge from Ed Allred’s Chocolatito to win the Grade 3, $150,000 PCQHRA Breeders Derby by a nose on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Piloted by leading Quarter Horse Jesus Rios Ayala, Mister Appolitical broke sharply from post number two and opened up a half-length advantage over Chocolatito. The two remained as the leaders in the race with Mister Appolitical, who entered the race as the fastest qualifier, continuing to hold a half-length advantage over his rival. With about 75 yards to go, Chocolatito found his next gear and began to close in on the leader. Rios Ayala went to work, moving Mister Appolitical slightly outward to be closer to Chocolatito while continuing to push the son of Apollitical Jess. The two hit the wire almost in unison, but the photo finish determined that the Terry Knight-trained homebred crossed the finish line first, while covering the 400-yard distance in :19.74.
For Legacy Ranch, the win marked the second time that the racing operation had won the PCQHRA Breeders Derby. The first came with the Brian Koriner-trained Daily Triple in 1994. Mister Appolitical’s derby win came in his second outing after taking time off following his fourth place finish in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby in February. He returned with a brilliant 1 ¼ length victory in the trials for this race before returning with this victory.
“After the Winter Derby, we took (Mister Appolitical) back to the ranch and just put him out in the sun and put him in a paddock and just gave him some time,” said Pete Parrella of Legacy Ranch. “We just let him get his mind right. That was Terry’s idea. He thought this horse really had a lot of potential. We thought (stablemate and Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity winner) Wicked Affair was the better horse, but as time went on she started having a hard time getting out of the gate, while this horse jumped up. He proved tonight that he was best. We were really fortunate to win this race. Ed Allred has a really nice horse.”
“He’ll run the rest of the year. He’s in the Los Alamitos Super Derby trials (on October 19). Terry is the one that thought that there was a lot there with this horse that for some reason had not shown yet. The fact that we stopped on him instead of just tried to racing, you can see what’s happened since he’s come back. He ran an incredible trial race off of a long layoff, I thought. We felt he could improve tonight. He ran great and we got lucky. He held off the closer. He won by a short nose. We’ll see about Wicked Affair. We’ll probably breed her next year. She’s a really nice filly.”
A winner in six of 11 starts, Mister Appolitical earned $58,800 for his effort. Out of the Corona Cartel mare Lr Miss Atina, he has now bankrolled $216,426 in his career. For Parrella, who along with wife Evelyn, breeds and races both Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses in Southern California, this was another moment to treasure in the sport.
“We really love both ends of it,” he added. “Terry has done just a great job since taking over as manager of the ranch. With his background of Quarter Horses, he really gave an incentive for Ev and I to stay in the game and see if we could elevate ourselves and improve on the quality of horses that we have. Terry has done a great job putting mares with the stallions. We just have to show up, get out of his way, and write a few checks.”
Ridden by Vinnie Bednar for trainer Scott Willoughby, Chocolatito earned $23,800 for his runner-up finish. The son of Favorite Cartel has now finished in the money in seven of nine career starts. The Steve Burns-bred runner has earned $69,176 in his career.
Chocolatito was not the only Allred runner with a big late run in this race. The Willoughby-trained Transcend also closed powerfully, moving from fifth place to finish third with Oscar Andrade Jr. up. The Walk Thru Fire gelding earned $16,800 for the effort. The top three finishers were followed by Conquering Marie, Red Hawk Cartel, Ali Babe Foose, Wicked Affair, and Jess Flashee.