STOLEN LIVES GIVES KESSINGER FIRST STAKES WIN SINCE 2014
Lila Kessinger enjoyed her first stakes win at Los Alamitos since 2014 after Stolen Lives, a 4-year-old horse she co-owns with Jo Burns, outdueled Martha Wells’ Fayvorite Chick by a head in the $20,000 Cypress Handicap on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for trainer Mike Casselman, Stolen Lives bumped at the start but recovered quickly to hook up with the leaders before finishing strongly in this 350-yard dash. Stolen Lives covered the distance in :17.804, while recording his third win in 10 starts. He earned $11,200 to take his career earnings to $30,855 for Burns and Kessinger.
“He did really good,” Casselman said. “I thought Cruz did a nice job with him. He fits him really well. He’s real patient with him, warming up, and just lets him relax. He’s really good with the horse.”
Stolen Lives is by the outstanding Seperate Interest, who was Kessinger’s last stakes winner at Los Alamitos. Seperate Interest won three stakes races at the Orange County for the owner, starting with the Town Policy Handicap in 2013 and then the Grade 3 Kaweah Bar Handicap and the Z. Wayne Griffin Invitational Stakes in 2014. He also finished second in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity and fourth in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity for Kessinger in 2012. Now owned by Dr. Steve Burns, Seperate Interest stands at Burns Ranch and is the sire of stakes winners Constituent, Sass Go Blue, Number One Interest, No Sandbaggin, and now Stolen Lives.
Unraced during his 2-year-old year, the Dr. Steve Burns-bred runner Stolen Lives made his racing debut on June 6, 2020 and has been steadily busy since then. He broke his maiden on June 26 in only his second start, faced some of the toughest sophomores on the grounds in late summer and early fall, and eventually scored his second victory, this one at the allowance level, on November 6. He came into this race after a solid runner-up allowance effort to Ed Allred’s Wambui on December 5.
Casselman, who trained the great Seperate Interest, was all smiles when it came to talking about saddling another stakes winner for Kessinger.
“She stays involved and goes to the sales,” he said. “She comes out to the Los Alamitos Equine Sale and is really involved. Her and Jo partnered up on this horse last year after he had a setback before his first start. We just gave him a bunch of time off. They had a lot of patience with him. He’s been real solid since then. I thought it would be a longshot to put him against these horses, but it turned out to be a good spot.”
Stolen Lives ended up as the even money favorites following the scratches of Hes Sizzling BB and Redneck Ryan from this race.
Racing for newly crowned 2020 AQHA champion owner Martha Wells, Fayvorite Chick ran solidly from post number two to earn $4,600 for her runner-up effort. The mare by Favorite Cartel was making her first start since a fifth-place finish in the Las Damas Handicap on November 21. She was second in the Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap last year.
Anita Bramlette’s Mr Bill finished third, while Parsons Family’s Terra Fire was fourth.