LARC NEWS Posted: 10/3/2022 2:35:43 AM


         Melinda Roche of Five Livestock Company LLC and Steve Wright won the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity for the second year in a row thanks to the Idaho-bred Chicks First Flash’s strong finish in the 350-yard race on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

          Ridden by Armando Cervantes for trainer Monty Arrossa, Chicks First Flash was bumped from both sides leaving the gate, but he recovered quickly and from there he was too tough to hold off, winning the $325,000 futurity by ¾ lengths and in a time of :17.749. It was Favorite Honey who won this race last year to give the owners their first PCQHRA Breeders Futurity win.

          Their second win came courtesy of the young “Flash” gelding sired by First Moonflash. Bred by Five Livestock Company, Chicks First Flash came into this race after running third in a tough trial won by Hes Chickless back on September 11. Complicating things for Chicks First Flash was being placed on the vet’s list right after that trial effort. To be allowed to enter in this final, Chicks First Flash had to work 220 yards prior to the entries closing for the Sunday card.

        “He showed heart tonight,” Arrossa said. “He did have a tough trip in the trials. He got bumped behind that horse in the trials. Hes Chickless is fast. He tried to come around him and he kind of helped us by dragging us into the final. We had to work him in between. It’s been a stressful three weeks for us. We had to breeze him on Tuesday to get off the vet list. He had an easy breeze of a 220 work. He did it well. Armando did a great job because that’s a hard spot. You have to work in a certain amount of time, you have to make time. Armando did a good job taking care of the horse and get him through there while saving some for the final. He worked in :12.70. We were fortunate enough to make it work.

      “The horse has handled it great. He’s been eating and has been happy. His groom, Esgar (Ramos), has lived with him for three weeks. He’s been amazing. I give him a lot of the credit. He loves the horse and has taken great care of him.

      “I can’t say enough about our team,” Arrossa said. “Our assistant Jessie Castillo and this horse’s groom, Esgar Ramos, and all of our team. They’ve all pitched in and helped.”

Chicks First Flash is Melinda Roche’s baby.

      “I raised him,” she said. “He’s out of my mare, First Prize Chicks, who is a mare my late husband, Matt Telford, bought me as a present for my 40th birthday. We weren’t at the sale, but Monty picked her out at the (Los Alamitos Equine Sale.” I had asked for a racehorse because I’d never had one before. We ran her, she was a stakes winner here and then I started breeding her. I have a 3-year-old out of her that is a stakes winner that I run in Idaho, but (Chicks First Flash) is the first one that I’ve brought out to California. I’m a reproductive equine vet so I bred him, I foaled him out and I handled him every day of his life. Matt helped him get out of the gate tonight. I kept asking him, ‘get this horse out of the gate tonight.’ ”

     Melinda Roche has a partner on Chicks First Flash in longtime owner and breeder Steve Wright.

    “I’m just thankful for Melinda to let me buy half of him,” Wright said. “My requirement was that he had to run in California. Melinda likes to run in Idaho. I knew the breeding on the horse, and she was great enough to let me buy and I talked her into running in California so it’s a two-fer.”

    “That’s true,” Roche said. “I was going to run him in Idaho because I didn’t know what I had. That’s why he’s not paid into anything here. Matt always said ‘be careful with a homebred, you don’t know what they’ll be like.’ Steve wanted to go to California. I was nervous about it but it’s worked out.”

    Arrossa was leaning towards giving Chicks First Flash some time off.

    “I’ll talk it over with the owners and maybe we’ll give him a break and look at the Los Alamitos Winter Derby,” he said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. The horse has performed every single time. I think he’s earned a break. I think we can let him down, give him some time off and bring him back for a winter campaign.”

      Chicks First Flash earned $132,300 for his winning effort. He’s won four of seven starts, three of them stakes events. He also finished second to Valiantli in the Grade 2 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity.

    Javier Barragan, Enrique Becerra, and Miguel Gomez’s Mornings With Maria finished second following a solid effort in which the Separate Interest filly earned $53,550. She’s now earned over $92,000 in her career, not bad for a $12,500 purchase at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale last year. Adrian Loza piloted Mornings With Maria for trainer Juan Aleman.

     Taos River Ranch and Dennis Jensen and Randy Young’s Valiantli earned $37,800 for her third-place finish. The winner of the Kindergarten earlier this year, Valiantli was ridden by Cruz Mendez for Arrossa. One Sweet Bar, Turbeau, Quirky Bitty Jess, Hes Chickless, and Frivolous completed the field.


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