CIRCLE CITY GIVES ALLRED AND WILLOUGHBY A THIRD VICTORY IN THE KAWEAH BAR
Owner Ed Allred and trainer Scott Willoughby joined forces to win the running of the $35,000 Kaweah Bar Handicap for the third time in the last four years thanks to Circle City’s powerful finish in the 350-yard stakes on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Allred and Willoughby won the 2019 edition with Well And Good and the 2020 renewal with Chocolatito. Ironically, Allred, the sport’s all-time leading owner had not won the Kaweah Bar prior to Well And Good’s victory four years ago. Previously called the Inaugural Handicap, this race was first contested in 1952 during the second meet ever held at Los Alamitos.
Fast forward nearly 70 years later and the now four-time graded stakes winner Circle City added the Kaweah Bar to resume after holding off the always tough Cattail Cove to win by ¾ lengths and in the meet’s fastest time at this distance of :17.471. Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala from post three, Circle City’s winning time bettered Rocket Seventeen’s :17.495 set in the trials to the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on February 6.
Circle City posted his excellent time even though he had to overcome a less than perfect start. As the race got underway, Circle City went up in the air while still in his stall but once he got going, there was no denying him the win.
“He popped his head up a little bit from the gate,” Willoughby said. “He’s done that on me a couple of times, but he really runs at the other end. He finished well. We are going to work on that and hopefully we can get by it. We don’t want him to do that in the big races. It’s a thrill to win the Kaweah Bar. Kaweah Bar was a great horse and we’ve been lucky to have some great horses in it.”
Circle City $19,250 for the win to take his career earnings $485,767. Now a winner in nine of 25 starts, Circle City has won the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity, the Restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap and the Grade 2 Golden State Derby. He also competed in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions last year and was third in the Grade 1 Brad McKinzie Los Alamitos Winter Championship.
“He’s got a pretty nice kick at the end and run 400 yards really well,” the trainer said. “I think we’re going to be pretty solid in the big races.”
Willoughby said the plan is for the Favorite Cartel gelding to go after a second win in a row in the Vessels Maturity this summer. Trials for the Vessels will be held on Saturday, June 11.
Owned by Link Newcomb and bred by Dr. Steve Burns, Cattail Cove earned $7,875 to raise his bank account to $540,682. Always among the top finishers in high level races, Cattail Cove has now hit the board in 15 of 27 career starts. He was the runner-up in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity back in 2019 and he’s been a top three finisher in races like the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap, All American Invitational Stakes, California Breeders Sprint Stakes, First Down Dash Handicap, Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial and Moonist Handicap. Juan Aleman trains the son of Favorite Cartel.
MJ Farms’ Valiantt, a finalist to the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby last year, earned $4,375 for running third for trainer Valentin Zamudio. Up Is Up, Bail Czech, Mister Tornado and Just A Dasha Hero completed the field.