THE LATE MATT TELFORD’S HANDPICKED RUNNER
WINS PCQHRA BREEDERS FUTURITY
Racing for Five Livestock Company LLC and Steve Wright, Favorite Honey gave his owners their richest Quarter Horse win ever after outdueling S&S Horses’ Corona Yo by a neck in the Grade 2, $320,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
For Dr. Melinda Dawson Roche of Five Livestock Company, Favorite Honey’s sweet moment was in honor of her soulmate and love of her life, Matt Telford, who passed away at the age of 56 on August 30. Known by those closest to them as Doc and Tilly, the two met 12 years ago and Quarter Horses was one of the things that brought so much joy in their lives together.
“He handpicked this horse last year,” Roche said. “This is the horse he wanted. We both loved this horse.”
Purchased for $34,000 at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale, the Silver Racing Farm LLC-bred gelding by Favorite Cartel covered the 350-yards in :17.614 on the way to becoming the second futurity winner out of the mare Coronas Fast Honey this year. Favorite Honey’s half-sister, Fire Fast Honey, won the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity on May 16 with the same jockey/trainer combination of Armando Cervantes and Monty Arrossa. Prior to this futurity win, Favorite Honey ran third, although with Jesus Rios Ayala aboard, in the Governor’s Cup Futurity here on July 31.
“I knew (2020 Ed Burke Million finalist) Fire Fast Corona was out of this mare,” said Roche, who operates Roche Equine Veterinary Services in Filer Idaho, while serving as the track vet at Jerome, Idaho. “When Matt and I saw (Favorite Honey) in the catalog, we wanted to look at the Favorite Cartel out of that mare. I was the vet for the other horse for Randy Young and Dennis Jensen and really liked him. We partnered with Steve Wright and got him. We were going to run (Favorite Honey) at home and then we decided we were going to bring him out here. This horse was Matt’s baby. We called him ‘Sweetness’. It drove Steve crazy, but Matt nicknamed him ‘Sweetness’.
“The last thing Matt and I got to do together was come here and watch in the Governor’s Cup. Our home raised colt then won our first futurity win in Malad, Idaho on Sunday, August 7 before I had to admit Matt in the hospital. He got to see a third in a graded futurity and won the Malad Futurity with a home raised colt out (Chicks Dashin Bandit) of the mare that started it all, First Prize Chicks. He bought me that mare for my 40th birthday. He asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted a yearling from the Heritage Place Sale. That’s what started it all. Matt got as addicted as me to horse racing. He was a cattle buyer. This is what we loved to do together. He’d been a cattle buyer his entire life, a trade he learned from his father. He was buyer number five at all the sale auctions in Idaho because he had been a buyer for so long. We started Five Livestock Company.”
Telford and Roche had made it a tradition to visit Los Alamitos on the weekend of the Equine Sale.
“We were always here for this sale,” Roche added. “We always had horses running in the Wild West trials. We would be here for this sale every year since he bought First Prize Chicks for me at the Heritage Place Sale. She came and ran in the Wild West, then we won the last two Kip Didericksen handicaps. We won it with First Prize Chicks and with Stellar, who was Matt’s favorite horse. It was fun on Intermountain weekend because all our friends were here. All these people we met through racing have been amazing. I’ve been a veterinarian for a long time and worked for people. I fell in love with them working on them and we met the most amazing people. That was the thing about Matt. He could come out here and people he only saw once a year, he was friends with. He always had a smile on his face. He’s the best man I’ve ever known.”
Steve Wright has partnered with Five Livestock for the last two years to race horses. The PCQHRA Breeders race represents his first futurity win.
“I’ve been doing this for over thirty years, and I’ve run second, third, all the way down, but I’ve never won one,” said Steve Wright of Northern, Utah. “This is the best one to get. I own a lot of horses. I do a lot of chariot racing. Melinda and I have two that are running. I bought one today, so we’ll keep running.”
For Cervantes, who was unable to ride Favorite Honey in the Governor’s Cup final, it was a thrill to have the opportunity to pilot ‘Sweetness’ once again.
“I’ve liked this horse since the beginning,” Cervantes said. “I qualified him to the Governor’s Cup. I had an accident, so I wasn’t able to ride him. I thank Monty for giving me another chance to ride him. He qualified with the second fastest time. I was looking at the (past performances) and I saw that all the others had tailwind. Mine was the only one that didn’t have tail wind. I felt that if he left sharp and he doesn’t go in, he runs straight, that we would have shot to win it. That’s what happened. The horse that I thought would be more trouble for me was the outside horse (Precysion). I didn’t see Corona Yo, I was just focusing on my horse. I’m thankful we got to the wire first.”
Favorite Honey earned $130,200 for the win to take his career earnings to $176,770. He’s now won four of six career starts.
Trainer Roman Figueroa had a big night as well. His trainee, Corona Yo, ran a tremendous race to finish second in the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, and his other charge in the race, Woman Secrets, finished a solid fourth. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for S&S Horses, Corona Yo earned $52,700 for running second, while Noe Cano’s Woman Secrets earned $21,700 for finishing fourth. Cano acquired Woman Secrets via a $12,500 claim after the Separate Secrets gelding won the Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity on August 22.
Cesar Nunez’s Precysion finished third for trainer Valentin Zamudio and jockey Ruben Lozano. The gelding by Mr Jess Perry earned $37,200 for his effort from the outside post number 10. The top four finishers were followed by World Famous Mia, Dasha Good Reason, Favorite First Down, El Tio Angel, Dynamic Jess, and FG Jess Seis.