GOLDEN BOI FINISHES STRONG TO WIN SGT PEPPER FEATURE IN RETURN START
M&G Farms, Inc’s Golden Boi, the AQHA champion 2-year-old colt last year, displayed his powerful late kick, rallying from behind to win the $35,000 Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Making his first start since winning the Grade 2 El Primero Del Año Derby on March 27, Golden Boi started slowly in the Sgt Pepper from the outside post nine. He was fifth out of the gate and sixth after the first 130 yards, but then began to pick up speed in a hurry with jockey Ruben Lozano at the controls. By the time the colt by Favorite Cartel had crossed the finish line, he was ¾ lengths ahead of Da Special One, who finished in second place. Trained by Valentin Zamudio, Golden Boi covered the 350 yards in :17.489. He covered the final 220 yards in a strong :09.460.
“He came back great,” Zamudio said. “We knew the 350-yard distance was not enough for him. He was facing a lot of fast horses. To be honest, we have a lot of respect in the way he finishes because the takeoff is not his strength. He handled things well and he came great. The horse was doing great. He was feeling good the entire time that he was training. We have a lot of pressure because he is Golden Boi. We are now expecting to win every race because of who he is. He’s a fighter and we are thankful on how things worked out.”
Bred by his owners, Golden Boi has now won seven of nine career starts and his earnings now stand at $602,741. He earned $19,250 for winning the Sgt Pepper Feature, while picking up his third win in as many starts this year.
“I was really nervous coming into this race,” Lozano said. “I know he’s going to be even better than he was tonight. We needed to give him a race before the big races coming up. The horse leaving from post number eight, La Beverly Hills, she flew ahead of us, but we eventually zoomed by her easily. He’s such a strong finish. I am thrilled with the way he ran and to come away from this race with a victory.”
Zamudio added that Golden Boi will now be pointed to the trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby on October 16.
“We have a little bit over 45 days to get him ready for the trials,” Zamudio said. “I feel pretty good about that right now.”
Golden Boi was named the top 2-year-old colt in the nation last year after winning four of six starts with earnings of $488,791. He won the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and was the fastest qualifier to the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity.
Alfredo Alonzo’s Da Special One earned $7,875 for his second-place finish. The gelding by Two Corona Special won the Jens List Memorial Stakes and came into this race having won each of his last three starts. He has finished third or better in each of his last eight starts. Jose Nicasio piloted the Hector Padilla-bred runner from post number one for trainer Jaime Gomez.
EG High Desert Farms’ homebred La Beverly Hills, one of only two fillies in this race, was outstanding in the final 100 yards, moving from fifth to finish third. The Corona Czech filly has hit the board in three consecutive stakes races now. She was second in the Debutante Stakes and second in the Check Her Twice Stakes, both races coming against fillies. She stepped up in fine way in this race against males. Ridden by Irving Lara for trainer Santos Perez, La Beverly Hills earned $4,375.
Up The Ladder, One Jenuine Cartel V, Eye On The Sky, Nevada Charles, All Ways, and All Pointz Bulletin completed the field.