LARC NEWS Posted: 5/3/2020 12:24:09 AM


               Ed Allred’s Chocolatito was spectacular in his 2020 debut, as he outdueled a field of top aged runners while posting the meet’s second fastest 350-yard win in the Grade III, $35,000 Kaweah Bar Handicap on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Vinnie Bednar for trainer Scott Willoughby, Chocolatito covered the distance in :17.399, a time bettered this meet only by Alamode’s :17.392 clocking when he won the Mr Jet Moore Handicap on March 21. In the Kaweah Bar, it was Cypress Handicap winner Tac Me Up who had the early advantage before Alamode took control at the halfway point. From post number one, Chocolatito began to make his big move, locking horns with Alamode before outdueling his rival by a head.

“He smoked down through there,” Willoughby said. “I had to work him twice going 350 and I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to have him fit enough. He looked good. The horse is a fantastic horse. He is just getting better every time. He loves distance. He is not a big horse, but he is built perfectly. He is built for distance.”

A 4-year-old gelding by Favorite Cartel and out of the Walk Thru Fire mare Enjoy The Walk, Chocolatito won the Dillingham Handicap last year and finished second in the Grade III PCQHRA Breeders Derby. He finished fourth to Legacy Ranch’s Mister Appolitical in the Grade II Southern California Derby on December 13, which was his previous before his return in the Kaweah Bar. Willoughby added that Chocolatito will now be pointed to the trials to the Grade I Vessels Maturity on Sunday, June 14. The Vessels Maturity carries a berth to the prestigious Grade I, $600,000 Champion of Champions. 

Chocolatito earned $19,250 for this win to take his career earnings over the $100,000 mark. A winner in six of 13 career starts, Chocolatito has earned $101,585.

John and Carol Cooper’s Alamode earned $7,875 for his runner-up effort. The Kiddy Up gelding has now finished third or better in nine consecutive starts. Ruth Barbour, Colten O’Dell and Wendy O’Dell’s Tac Me Up added $4,375 to his bank account for his third-place finish in this race.


Handle for the nine-race program on Saturday night was $2,812,029, the second highest figure ever at the Orange County track. The card also featured some of the highest figures ever for the track’s popular Pick Fours. The Late Pick Four handled $244,772, a record for the Late Pick Four wager. The previous mark of $203,647 was set June 10, 2018. The Early Pick Four on Saturday of $424,500 is the track’s second highest ever only behind last Saturday’s $442,781.



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