Abel Reyes’ homebred filly La Reina Del Sur 1 dominated early and cruised to the finish line from there to win the $25,000 Freshman Stakes by a length during opening night of California Breeders Champions Night on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
The only filly among the seven that raced in the Freshman Stakes, La Reina Del Sur 1 flew out of the gate to establish an unsurmountable 2 ½ length lead. Ridden by Juan Pablo Leon, who also won the Governor’s Cup Futurity on Saturday, the Favorite Cartel filly scored her third win in five starts while covering the 350-yards in :17.713. She also gave trainer Sally Rivera her biggest Quarter Horse win.
“This is my first Quarter Horse stakes win,” Rivera said. “I ran a Quarter Horse over at Santa Rosa and set a track record, but it was only an allowance race. This one is exciting.”
Fourth in the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity earlier this year, La Reina Del Sur won her trial to the Governor’s Cup Futurity by ¾ lengths on July 11, but her final time of :17.87 missed the top 10 by 7/100ths of a second.
“She should have been in the (Governor’s Cup Futurity), but that’s horse racing,” Rivera said. “She’s only going to improve. I’m a small trainer. I only have one Quarter Horse.”
Rivera began training 40 years ago in Arizona.
“I’ve trained mostly Thoroughbreds but had that one 870 Quarter Horses that set the track record at Santa Rosa. I’ve been around a long time. I was an assistant trainer here to Junior Nicholson. When I was in my 20s, I had a horse named Fleeting Fortune for (Hall of Fame jockey) Gary Steven’s dad. I was talking to Gary about it and I told him that his dad had a horse (Fleeting Fortune) with me once. Gary told me, ‘Sally, that’s the picture I have hanging over my fireplace. That’s (one) of the first stakes wins I ever won.’ I didn’t know that. I’ve always had good luck, but I’ve always had really good owners. That’s what counts. Now I am older. I just have a couple of owners. I do it more for fun now.”
La Reina Del Sur 1 earned $13,750 for the win to take her career earnings to $38,971.
Ed Allred’s Monopolist earned $5,625 for running second. Flex Jet, Faruk, EG Domingo, From Above and Fool This Kid completed the field.
The Freshman Stakes was one of four California Breeders Champions stakes events contested on Saturday night. The others were the Governor’s Cup Futurity, Sprint Stakes Stakes and $10,000 Claiming Stakes for Sophomores. Three more stakes races will be contested on Sunday including the Governor’s Cup Derby.
GOLDEN BOY GONZA SPRINTS TO UPSET STAKES VICTORY
Dispatched as the longest shot on the board at 30-1 odds, EG High Desert Farms’ Golden Boy Gonza upset the seven rivals to win the $25,000 Sprint Stakes on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Making his first start in six months, the homebred gelding by Fast Prize Cartel broke on top and never looked back on the way to a ¾ length win in the 350-yard dash.
Golden Boy Gonza was ridden by Mark Jasso for trainer Jesus Nunez. This was Jasso’s first Quarter Horse stakes win at Los Alamitos.
“I thought the horse could something in this race,” Jasso said. “All you want is a chance.”
Golden Boy Gonza came into the race after a solid :18.20 drill on June 27. He had previously finished second against $30,000 claimers on January 25 and was allowance winner here in late December. He was seventh in the Grade 2 Golden State Derby last year. He won the Sprint Stakes in a sizzling time of :17.412.
“He was ready to go,” Nunez said. “His owner was going to pick him up and take him back to his ranch, but I asked him to leave him here for this race. He’s had people offering to buy him, but he doesn’t want to sell him. He knows he has a good horse. It worked out pretty good for us.”
Golden Boy Gonza earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $50,761. This was his fourth win 19 starts. He’s finished second or better in 11 of those outings. For EG High Desert Farms, the Temecula-based racing operation is no strangers to blowing up the toteboard on California Breeders Champions Night. In 2016, their Unclaimed Dividend won the Governor’s Cup Derby at 37-1 odds, one of the biggest upsets in stakes history.
Genaro Martinez’s Alamode, the winner of the Mr Jet Moore Stakes earlier this year, earned $5,625 for running second. Favorite Illusion, Deceiver, Chicks Fayvorite, Ali Babe Foose and Sacred Nation completed the field.
J. Francisco Diaz’s Check My Cartel put on a show in the $10,000 Claiming Stakes for Sophomores, winning the race 350-yard race by ¾ lengths after leading it by a length most of the way. The gelding by Favorite Cartel covered the distance in :17.746 to win the $9,625 first place share of the $17,500 purse. His big effort was not a surprise. After the race, there was a 12-way shake for the rights to claim Check My Cartel for $10,000. Owner Margarito Farias won the shake for the four-time winner of 11 starts.