FASTEST KINDERGARTEN QUALIFIER VAL FRIDA
GIVES OWNER VALDEZ HIS BIGGEST CAREER WIN
Val Frida vs. Beduino Surprise and Midnite Fling
Owner/breeder Jose Luis Valdez, who has campaigned Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos since 2011, enjoyed the biggest victory of his career after his homebred filly Val Frida won her trial to the Grade 2, $297,900 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity in the fastest qualifying time of the night of :15.53 here on Sunday night.
Valdez, a native of Queretaro, Mexico, has started 180 horses over the years, enjoying 13 wins in the process. His homebred runners can be recognized by their name, as they often begin with the word Val at the beginning of their names. In recent years, he has campaigned the likes of Val Bank, Val Kiria, Val Frida, Val Sierrita, Val Peligrosa and Val Kiky. Val Frida is the first one to reach the top echelon of the sport, as she outdueled Beduino Surprise and Midnite Fling to win the sixth of nine trials to the Kindergarten final. A total of 64 runners competed in the trials with the horses with the 10 fastest clockings returning here for the final on Sunday, May 16.
Sired by Stel Corona and out of the Favorite Cartel mare Favorite Strawfly, Val Frida came into the trials after running fourth to Hitters Count in her debut on April 2. A continuing storyline at Los Alamitos this season is how well runners have improved in their second start. Trained by Jesus Nunez and ridden by Adrian Loza, Val Frida improved in a big way, as she was second at the start before hitting a higher gear at the midway point of the race and then going on to win by a half-length. She was an 8-1 choice in this trial.
“We are thrilled,” said Valdez’s cousin, Jorge Correa Valdez. “The filly just keeps improving more and more. We are so happy and thankful to be in the big leagues of racing now. We think we are going to have a very good year. Our family came to enjoy the race and it is great to see her race that way. Jose Luis Valdez never gave up on his horses and that is the key. Thomas Edison had 1,000 failures before he invented the lightbulb. My cousin has worked hard and now he’s starting to reap the rewards of his hard work.”
The runner-up in that Val Frida race was Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ homebred Beduinos Surprise, who finished with the second fastest qualifying time of :15.595, for jockey Ruben Lozano and trainer Valentin Zamudio. Beduinos Surprise is a gelding by Turbulent Times and out of the Royal Quick Dash mare Shelbys Surprise. Turbulent Times won the 2013 Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity for Avila and Cuevas. This was his first career start and if the trend holds up, look for a big improvement for this horse in the final.
La Feliz Montana Ranch LLC’s La Blue Amore (left) posted the third fastest qualifying following another outstanding winning effort at Los Alamitos. The Kiddy Up filly is out of Amore La Blue, who was third in the Golden State Million final in 2012. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, La Blue Amore covered the distance in :15.597 while leading from start to finish on the way to a half-length victory over Kindergarten finalists Fire Fast Honey and Valente One.
“I just talked to La Feliz Montana and they’re pretty pleased,” O’Dell said. “She can get nervous in the gate, but she is fast out of it. We schooled, schooled, and schooled her. She was charging in the gate before they kicked. Once she’s out of the gate, she acts like she can run down the track. She seems to be doing everything great. I’m here at Ruidoso right now and I really appreciate Jimmy Glenn for helping me out with her at Los Alamitos. I plan to come back to California and watch her in the Kindergarten (final).”
O’Dell is preparing some of his horses to participate in the upcoming training races at Ruidoso Downs. He also plans to start multiple Grade 1 winner Powerful Favorite in New Mexico a couple of times before returning with him for the Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and the Grade 1 Champion of Champions.
Legacy Ranch’s Midnite Fling finished with the fourth fastest qualifying time of :15.608 after running third to Val Frida. Like Beduino Surprise, Midnite Fling was making her first start in the trials and an improvement in the final is likely for the homebred filly by Apollitical Jess. During morning works, Midnite Fling posted the meet’s fastest 220-yard gate drill by a 2-year-old when she covered the distance in :12.0 on March 27.
No trainer has enjoyed more success in the Kindergarten Futurity than Jaime Gomez, who holds the stakes record with eight victories. Gomez, who won the race last year with La Jaconde, qualified three juveniles to this year’s final. His trio of finalists are trial winners Southern Best, Docs Fast Lane and FG Jess Seis, who also finished with the fifth, sixth, and seventh fastest qualifying time, respectively. Dutch Masters III owns both Southern Best and FG Jess Seis, while Javier Chavez, Carlos Lopez and Jimmy Negrete campaign Docs Fastlane.
Dutch Masters III have won the Kindergarten four times, all of them with horses under the care of Jaime Gomez. They’ve been Secret Card (2000), Sassy Smith (2001), Gold Nugget Rd (2005), and Twin Spires (2009). Gomez says that smart horses are the secret to his Kindergarten success.
“When we start breaking horses, I look for the horses that are catching on fast,” Gomez said. “The horses that are smart and figure things out quickly, those are the ones that we point to the Kindergarten. With this being early in the year, you want horses with good minds. That’s a big key. Having said, Docs Fast Lane was a little green tonight, but he’s a pretty talented horse. I’m glad to have a couple of qualifiers for Dr. Streelman of Dutch Masters III. To get in this race means a lot to Dr. Streelman.”
Southern Best, a gelding by Docs Best Card won his trial by a half-length in :15.62. Also sired by Docs Best Card, the gray gelding Docs Fast Lane won the opening heat of the night by a neck in :15.632. The Tres Seis gelding FG Jess Seis showed his terrific finishing kick once again to win his trial by 1 ¼ lengths in a time of :15.645.
The final three spots to the Kindergarten final went to Dennis Jensen and Randy Young’s Favorite Fast Honey, who covered the distance in 15.659 when second to La Blue Amore; Link Newcomb’s Corona Cartel gelding Valente One, who posted a time of :15.670 after running third to La Blue Amore; and Stephanie and Butch Webb’s Resurrection Man, who was second to Docs Fast Lane in the opening trial in a time of :15.675.
Here’s the complete list of qualifiers: Val Frida (:15.530), Beduino Surprise (:15.595), La Blue Amore (:15.597), Midnite Fling (:15.608), Southern Best (:15.620), Docs Fast Lane (:15.632), FG Jess Seis (:15.645), Fire Fast Honey (:15.659), Valente One (:15.670), and Resurrection Man (:15.675).