CHAMPION KISS THRU FIRE, RED HOT JET WINGS ONE HEAD INAUGURAL ABIGAIL KAWANANAKOA STAKES ON SUNDAY
AQHA champion aged mare Kiss Thru Fire and the red-hot multiple stakes winner Jet Wings One will face off for the third time this season when they headline a field of seven female Quarter Horses in the inaugural running of the $100,000 Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes at 400 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
The Kawananakoa is the biggest single addition to the revamped and strengthened stakes schedule in the filly and mare division this season. The event has given Los Alamitos a triumvirate of $100,000 races for the distaff division, an element in the stakes schedule unmatched nationally in Quarter Horse racing.
The field for the first running of the Kawananakoa is highlighted by the rematch between Gentry Farms’ champion Kiss Thru Fire (photo) and Connie Moon’s high-flying Jet Wings One. Kiss Thru Fire, the reigning queen of the distaff division, has finished behind Jet Wings One in their previous two meetings, as the EC Jet One mare outdueled her in the $35,000 Denim N Diamonds Handicap on February 26 before holding her rival’s strong late challenge in the $50,000 Miss Princess Handicap on May 8. The stakes are higher in the $100,000 Kawananakoa, as Kiss Thru Fire will look to add this rich race to her victory in the $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap in January, while Jet Wings One will look to make it three stakes wins in a row in this division while going after her first ever $100,000 stakes win.
Jesus Rios Ayala will pilot Kiss Thru Fire for trainer Juan Aleman from post two, while Armando Cervantes will be aboard Jet Wings One from post six for trainer Monty Arrossa. Johnny Trotter’s Famous Shining Star, winner of the Virginia Hyland Stakes and third in the Miss Princess, is among the top contenders in this race. She also finished in the top half of the Las Damas Handicap last year. Recent allowance winner Up For You, PCQHRA Breeders Derby winner College Scandal, plus talented mares Suite Expectations and Inaudible will also race.
NEW STAKES HONORS OF AQHA HALL OF FAME MEMBER
Princess Abigail K. Kawananakoa, a celebrated breeder of racing American Quarter Horses and direct descendant of the Hawaiian royal family, will be recognized at Los Alamitos each year with the running of a $100,000 race for fillies and mares named in her honor. The Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes will be held for the first time on Sunday, June 12 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
A 2018 inductee to the AQHA Hall of Fame, Kawananakoa's accomplishments stands at the top echelon in the history of the sport. She has been among Quarter Horse racing's most productive owners and breeders, campaigning a stable of stars during the mid-1990s. In 1994 and 1995, Kawananakoa was voted AQHA Champion Owner based on the resounding success of her runners. Her Evening Snow won the inaugural running of the Los Alamitos Million Futurity in 1995, a race that has since grown and evolved into the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Evening Snow took some time off after the end of his juvenile campaign before triumphantly in 1996 to become the first horse of any breed to sprint a quarter of a mile from a standing start in less than 21 seconds.
Kawananakoa also campaigned A Classic Dash, the 1993 winner of the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and Dash For Cash Futurity at Los Alamitos. Other top runners to carry Kawananakoa's red and gold silks have included track record holder Divide The Cash and stakes winners Chance To Fire, Time For Royal Cash, Native Tea Rose, Racy High Roller, Significant Heart, Staggering Stride and Royal Miracle Dip. The acclaimed has also raced in her name over 1,500 Quarter Horse starters for over $3.6 million in earnings. Her runners have won 220 races and have finished in the top three in over 630 occasions.
For many years, Kawananakoa has also directed her energy and philanthropic resources toward the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian language, culture, and history. She also has been a lifelong devotee of horses, and as a young woman was a talented equestrian, a passion that inspired her to promote research and teaching in equine musculoskeletal health at Colorado State University.
She would go on to earn an honorary degree from Colorado State University for her longtime support of global equine health and for leadership in preserving native Hawaiian culture. She received the diploma for her honorary doctorate during a special presentation on the night of the 2016 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. Kawananakoa is also a recipient of the Frank Vessels Memorial Award presented by the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association for her overall contributions to the sport of Quarter Horse racing in 2011.