NEW JOCKEY IN TOWN PILOTS DOCTOR GENE TO TOWN POLICY WIN
A wide-open running of the $25,000 Town Policy Handicap turned into a showcase race for Ed Allred’s homebred Doctor Gene, as the gelding by Favorite Cartel pulled away from his rivals after the first 200 yards on the way to a 1 ½ length victory in the 400-yard event on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Luis Valenzuela for trainer Scott Willoughby, Doctor Gene broke sharply and had a half-length lead on the sharp stakes placed filly Chocolate Divinity. Doctor Gene responded to the encouragement of his rider and he swiftly pulled away from Whatawaytogo Stakes runner-up Chocolate Divinity to increase his lead to a length and then eventually to deciding 1 ½ length margin. Now a winner in three of nine career starts, Doctor Gene was picking up the first stakes victory of his career.
“He’s really come around,” Willoughby said. “It took him a long time to come around, but towards the end of this year he’s really picked himself up and has done really well. My other horse in this race, Bono Is Good, I though he would be tough, but it was Doctor Gene who was the better of the two tonight.
“Luis is doing a good job,” said Willoughby of the winning rider. “He came down here and I put him to work when he got here. He’s riding second call for us and doing a fine job. I didn’t know him before he came out here, but he came highly recommended. He started galloping and he’s doing great.”
The 19-year-old rider grew up around horses in his home state of Arizona. His family has always loved and kept horses leading Valenzuela to choose a professional riding career when he was 16 years old.
“I started with Quarter Horses,” he said. “My parents always had Quarter Horses. This is my first stakes win at Los Al. I have won a couple in other states - Minnesota and Arizona. I ride both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. I won a Thoroughbred race earlier today. It was (Doctor Gene’s) time to fire. It was his shot. I took him out a couple of times in the mornings. I’ve schooled him before. He was sitting back a little bit, but when it came time with the other horses, he was standing nicely and broke away from them. He took off from there.”
Valenzuela has won 25 Quarter Horse races in his career for earnings of $261,393. Nine of those Quarter Horse wins have come this year including a pair aboard the Jason Olmstead-trained Dickey Bob. Valenzuela rode Dickey Bob to wins in the Cash Caravan Stake and Bob Morehouse Stakes both at Canterbury Park. He has also ridden 49 Thoroughbred winners for earnings of $586,009. Thirty-one of those wins have come in 2020. Prior to his win on Doctor Gene in the Town Policy, he rode the Thoroughbred Son Of A Queen for owner Mike Flory to victory in a 4 ½ furlong test.
A half-brother to AQHA champion aged mare Quirky, Doctor Gene earned $13,750 for the win to take his career earnings to $32,207. Wilson Ruiz’s Chocolate Divinity, second to Allred’s Hot Little Kiddy in the Whatawaytogo, ran a strong race from gate to wire to earn $5,625 for finishing second for trainer Felix Gonzalez and jockey Jonathan Roman. Chayito Cartel, winner of the 2019 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, finished third and was followed by Invader, Long Time Favorite, Sass Go Blue, Spring Favorite and Bono Is Good.