WILLOUGHBY COMPLETES BIG YEAR WITH NOMADIC’S WIN
IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DERBY
The Southern California Derby was a fitting way for trainer Scott Willoughby to wrap up his outstanding 2020 Quarter Horse meet at Los Alamitos Race Course. Willoughby, who won his first Los Alamitos Quarter Horse training title this year with 55 wins, put the exclamation point to his outstanding campaign with a victory in the Grade 2, $152,550 Southern California Derby courtesy of Ed Allred’s Nomadic here on Sunday night.
“It’s fifteen years training Dr. Allred’s horses this week,” Willoughby said. “And this is one of our best year. I don’t know if it’s our best year as far as money goes but it’s one of our best. We’ve had a great year across the board. The derby horses have done great, Chocolatito ran great races this year. He got smashed around in the Champion of Champions bad. He ran fourth and ran a fantastic race just to light the board.
“(Kiss Thru Fire) was in front of us early on,” Willoughby said. “She was out there. She left there running. We left there great, but she did too. I wasn’t sure we were going to catch her. Nomadic dug in, ran a great race. It tops off a heck of a year. This is my first trainer’s award – it’s my first leading trainer ever anywhere. I’ve never been leading trainer. It’s special. Los Alamitos has been a great home for me. I came out here 22 years ago. I’ve trained for Doc (Allred) 15 years now. I had some really good horses before Doc with the Singletarys and have had some great horses with Doc since then. Los Alamitos is a great place to race.”
Ridden by Oscar Andrade Jr. from the outside post number nine, Nomadic was second at the start behind Kiss Thru Fire, just like Willoughby said in his post-race comments, but caught the talented Gentry Farms owned and bred filly in the final 50 yards to win the 400-yard dash. Sired by Favorite Cartel and out of the stakes winning mare Moonlight Corona, Nomadic beat Kiss Thru Fire by a neck and covered the distance in :19.678. A winner in the Governor’s Cup Derby on July 26, Nomadic earned $64,911 for this win to take his career earnings to $311,009. He’s won six of 13 career starts.
“When we got the outside post, I wasn’t sure how I felt about because he’s run great on the rail and has had his best races from there,” Andrade said. “I knew I had to hustle him and keep going because you can’t lose track in these races. I got hooked up with (Kiss Thru Fire) for a while. It was a good battle between us. He had a bad break in the Super Derby. The (Southern California) trials really helped him. He needed that race and it prepared him for this race. He just kept rolling through.”
Nomadic was one of four horses from the Allred/Willoughby stable to make the Southern California Derby final. Stablemates Circle City, Up For Speed, and Just Be Real finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively here. Nomadic will now be pointed to the trials to the Grade 1 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship which are scheduled for Sunday, January 24.
“I know this horse is extremely fast,” Willoughby added. “He just needs to mature a tiny bit more and leave the gate a little better. I wouldn’t choose between Nomadic and Circle City today. Circle City didn’t get away. He came flying but it was too late.”
Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Juan Aleman, Kiss Thru Fire had the early lead and just missed collecting her first stakes victory. The Walk Thru Fire filly out of the outstanding mare Fredaville, Kiss Thru Fire earned $26,273 for this effort to raise her career earnings to $388,253. She was second in the All American Oaks in the summer and ran in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby on November 8.
Martha Wells’ Old School Icon, who was second in the El Primero Del Año Derby earlier this year, finished third here. Ridden by Luis Valenzuela and saddled by Matt Fales, the gelding by Texas Icon earned $18,546 for his effort. The top three finishers were followed by Runforyourlife, Cattail Cove, Circle City, Up For Speed, Just Be Real, and Southern Wagon. Mental Error was scratched before the racing program began.