Dr. Steve Burns and Jose Flores’ Sass Go Blue gave first year sire Seperate Interest his first open graded stakes winner after upsetting a talented field of 2-year-olds in the Grade 2, $355,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity at odds of 25-1 on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez from post number one, Sass Go Blue broke on the lead and never looked back in route to a ¾ length victory over 12-1 longshot Tell Cartel. The California-bred gelding covered the 350-yards in :17.584, while posting his third victory in a row. Sass Go Blue’s win came at perfect time for Burns Ranch’s Seperate Interest.
“That’s big for (Seperate Interest),” Dr. Burns said. “He needed a big runner. He’s had a lot of nice ones, but he needed a futurity winner. “
Flores purchased Sass Go Blue for $12,500 at the Ruidoso Yearling Sale last year, but it didn’t take long for Dr. Burns to join him in the partnership.
“This colt came in (to the sale ring) and he’s out of the Grade 1 stakes winning champion mare (Sass Me Blue). He was a nice looking horse, but it early in the sale and he just wasn’t bringing anything at all in the bidding. We were standing with Jose and we decided to buy him. I don’t think we paid too much for him. It was a really good deal.’
Flores, who also trains Sass Go blue, added a few more details to the story.
“I had just bought the horse and Dr. Burns walked up pointed at the sale papers and said, ‘We are partners on this horse’,” said Flores with a laugh. “I just said ‘You got it.’ I’ve known Dr. Burns for a long time, going back to when he worked at the Double Bar S Ranch. It’s been a lot of years. Dr. Burns and his wife, Jo, they are great people. They’ve been there for me a lot over the years and have always helped me as much as possible my small breeding program. They’re special people and it’s a joy for me to enjoy this win with them.”
The owners always knew that there was something special about Sass Go Blue.
“I remember on California Breeders Champions Night, I put him in the first race in the book – a maiden race – and he crushed them in :17.63 at 350 yards,” Flores said. “Right there I knew we had something nice. Now we’re here. He got it done in the trials with a big victory and now he’s won this final. This horse left the gate flying. That’s him, he can leave the gate. We took the blinkers off this horse and it’s really made wonders for him. My other horse, (Ed Burke Million Futurity winner) Flokie, it looked like he broke up in the air. He just didn’t leave. You lose when you don’t leave like you’re supposed to leave.
“It looks like he’s getting better and better,” Dr. Burns added. “He ran a big race (when finishing second) in his Ed Burke trial and almost qualified to the final. He’s now won three in a row. This has been great. Next for this horse, it’s up to Jose. He’s the managing partner.”
“We have him in the Golden State Futurity trials,” Flores added. “I’ll have to talk to the Burns. Whatever they tell me, we’ll do.”
Earlier this year, horses bred by Dr. Burns finished in the top three spots in the running of the Governor’s Cup Futurity.
“It’s great being the breeder of them,” he said. “But it feels kind of nice to own one of them.”
Bred by Lucky Seven Ranch, Sass Go Blue earned $144,900 for the win to take his career bankroll to $156,376. His career record now reads three wins from seven starts.
As previously mentioned, this impressive win should provide a nice boost for the Seperate Interest yearlings that will be offered at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale on Sunday. Seventeen yearlings sired by Seperate Interest will enter the sale ring on Sunday and 15 of them are consigned by Burns Ranch. They include Hip 194, a colt out of All American Futurity finalist Crooked Path; Hips 221 and 223, a filly and a colt out of the dam of PCQHRA Breeders Derby runner-up Chocolatito; Hip 311, a colt out of Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity winner Little Talks; and Hip 354, a half-brother to El Primero Del Ano Derby winner Ocean Cartel.
Ridden by Erasmo Gasca for trainer Matt Fales, the Favorite Cartel colt Tell Cartel earned $58,650 for his second place finish in this race. Martha Wells owns and bred Tell Cartel, who is now a four-time winner this year.
J. Francisco Diaz and Flores’ Flokie earned $41,400 for his third place finish. The Favorite Cartel gelding increased his career earnings to $478,700. Denny and Sandy Weigt’s Loose On Katella finished fourth and was followed by Governor’s Cup Futurity winner Pitbull, Up For Speed, One Sweet Change, Up And Coming, Fire By Night and Mental Error.