APOLLITICAL PENCE WINS REMATCH VS. FLASH BAK, SCORES IN BRAD MCKINZIE
Dunn Ranch’s Apollitical Pence, the newly crowned Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Horse of the Year for 2021, did not make any mistakes while defeating Valeriano Racing Stables’ Flash Bak in their anticipated rematch in the Grade 1, $152,700 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship here on Sunday night.
It was a rather perfect race from Apollitical Pence, as the son of Apollitical Jess displayed razor sharp focus while in the starting gate and then flew away from there to take a 1 ½ length lead just a few strides after the start. Apollitical Pence remained well ahead of his pursuers after the first 300 yards before needing all his might to hold the tremendous late charge from Flash Bak. Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, Apollitical Pence crossed the wire a ½ length ahead of Flash Bak in the Brad McKinzie, making this win his fourth in a row dating back to his Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials in mid-November.
Since that win, Apollitical Pence has done nothing but win. He won the $600,000 Champion of Champions over the late running Flash Bak on December 11, and from there he posted the fastest qualifying time to the Brad McKinzie on January 30. Winning the Brad McKinzie in the meet’s fastest 400-yard time of :19.450, which is also the fastest in this race since Good Reason SA won the 2011 running in :19.320. This win also gives Apollitical Pence a presumptive berth to this year’s $750,000 Champion of Champions, as he looks to become only the second to win the Champion of Champions three times. Bred by Dunn Ranch and Womack Cavender Farms, Apollitical Pence has won the last two running of the Champion of Champions.
“The horse was standing perfect,” Cervantes said of Apollitical Pence. “He’s always been a nice horse at the gate. I felt that if we took off that he would be tough. Flash Bak closes really hard, but good thing that we got out the gates. We were way ahead. I was just trying to keep him focus to the wire and win. After the first 100 yards, we were gone.
“I’ve been seeing this horse run a long time and it’s just a dream come true to ride him,” Cervantes added.
Apollitical Pence earned $64,134 for the win to take his career earnings to $1,516,985. He’s now won 14 of 31 career starts.
“He’s a real sound horse,” Arrossa added. “His feet can be a little delicate but his horseshoer, David Vargas, has worked with the horse and keeps his eyes on the horse. It’s thin soles. He’s a very sound horse but if there’s anything that we pay attention to it’s been his feet. David has been instrumental in keeping the horse going at the highest level. The horse is super sound.”
Apollitical Pence will now take a few weeks off before the next plan begins to take shape.
“(The Brad McKinzie) has been our main focus and to get there,” Arrossa said. “You take a chance after winning the Champion of Champions to bounce right back. The horse came out of the Champion of Champions so good that we thought we might as well take a chance. We didn’t last year. We took him back to Oklahoma and ran him at Remington. It’s a privilege to win this race. It’ a great race to win. The Debbie Schauf Remington Park Championship is a race we’ve tried to win before. We’ll consider that race next.”
Ridden by Oscar Peinado for trainer Jaime Gomez, Flash Bak earned $29,959 for flying from sixth to second place in this event. Making only his second start for new owners, Flash Bak’s career earnings now stand at $1,076,374. The gelding by Moonin The Eagle won the Los Alamitos Winter Derby and Los Alamitos Super Derby and was second in the Champion of Champions last year.
Ed Allred’s homebred Circle City ran a solid race and was third the whole way. Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Scott Willoughby, the son of Favorite Cartel earned $18,324. The multiple graded stakes winner has earned $466,517 in his 24-race career.
Cattail Cove, You Can Run, Stolen Lives, Mister Tornado, Gotta Corona Jess, La Estrella Corona and Just A Dasha Hero completed the field.