LARC NEWS Posted: 11/15/2021 12:44:16 AM


         Dunn Ranch’s Apollitical Pence will have a chance to defend his Champion of Champions title after posting the second fastest time in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials to collect one of the two presumptive berths up for grabs on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

          The other presumptive berth went to Rick Sumner and Dunn Ranch’s sophomore gelding Candy Blood (right), who won the first division of the Z. Wayne Griffin at 400 yards in the fastest time of the night of :19.491. Apollitical Pence. a 5-year-old gelding by Apollitical Jess, joined his stablemate in the Champion of Champions field after winning the second division in a time of :19.494.

          With the two Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial winners joining the lineup, the following nine horses have presumptive berths to the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions, which will be held here on Saturday, December 11:

          - Powerful Favorite (Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship winner & Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Winter  Championship winner)

          - Cat Daddys Lil Girl (Junos Request Stakes winner)

          - Circle City (Vessels Maturity winner)

          - Instygator (All American Derby winner)

          - You Can Run (Go Man Go Handicap winner)

          - Reason To Fly Mv (Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap winner)

          - Flash Bak (Los Alamitos Super Derby winner)

          - Candy Blood (1st Division of Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial winner)

          - Apollitical Pence (2nd Division of Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial winner)

          Empressum, the winner of the Ruidoso Derby, was invited to the Champion of Champions by the Los Alamitos selection committee, but his connections opted for the trials to the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby on November 5. Empressum shined impressively in his trial on the way to posting the fastest time to the $393,415 derby final to be held on November 27.

          An announcement is forthcoming on which horse will complete the field to the Champion of Champions.

          Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Monty Arrossa, Candy Blood bumped at the start but had no trouble taking the lead shortly after that in route to winning the opening division by ¾ lengths. The son of Apollitical Blood has now won two of his four starts at Los Alamitos. Earlier this meet, he won the Holiday Handicap before running second to Flash Bak in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on February 13. He then traveled to Remington Park and Ruidoso Downs where he qualified to three derbies, finishing second in the Oklahoma Derby and third in the All American Derby.

          With Armando Cervantes up for Arrossa, Apollitical Pence (right) broke on top and never look back, winning the race by a daylight. This was his first win at Los Alamitos since posting neck victory at 12-1 odds in the Champion of Champions last year over a field of nine Grade 1 stakes winners. Bred by Dunn Ranch and Womack Cavender Farms, Apollitical Pence has won 11 of 28 career starts.

                Ed Allred’s Nomadic posted the third fastest time in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials of :19.645. The Favorite Cartel gelding finished second to Candy Blood in the first heat. The fourth fastest time was set by Dunn Ranch’s Really First Down of :19.655. The First Down Dash gelding was second to Apollitical Pence.

          Walker Family Trust’s Zoomin For Spuds finished out of the money in the second division, as he was trying to qualify to the Champion of Champions for a record sixth time. The 8-year-old gelding won the Champion of Champions in 2016.


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