ED BURKE WINNER PARTY POLITICS OUTDUELS CYBER ATTACK TO WIN GOLDEN STATE MILLION AT LOS ALAMITOS
JGA Racing Stables’ Party Politics is in position to make Los Alamitos history after edging fastest qualifier Cyber Attack by a nose to win the Grade 1, $1,087,250 Golden State Million Futurity here on Sunday.
No horse has ever been able to sweep the million-dollar futurities at Los Alamitos, but Party Politics could accomplish the elusive feat after adding the Golden State Million to his victory in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity earlier this year. Bred by J. Garvan Kelly, the gelding by Apollitical Jess out of Shanachee has proven that he’s up to the task. The Oklahoma-bred won the Ed Burke Million by a half-length at odds of 10-1 on June 19. Third choice in the wagering at 5-1 on Sunday night, Party Politics was first out of the gate, lost the lead to Cyber Attack, but then fought back in the final 100 yards to win by the narrowest margins, while adding his second million-dollar futurity of the season. Champions like Higher Fire, Heza Dasha Fire, and One Dashing Eagle have won the Ed Burke Million and Golden State Million, but none have won all three. Party Politics will begin his quest for the Los Alamitos history books when he competes in the trials to the Two Million on Sunday, November 20.
“The horse has so much heart. I knew the horse was going to run a better race because he needed his trial race,” trainer Juan Aleman said. “I’m thankful to all my family. JGA is our family’s racing corporation. This horse is a blessing for us. We invested in him and he’s paying dividends. What a great horse. I trained his dad and to come back with one of his sons and to do what he’s doing, it’s amazing. We had to work for it a lot today. He really had to come back, but his style of running, he’s always had a good late kick. He put it together. He’s never ran from the outside. I know he didn’t get away that good. When he first loaded, he looked like he was pretty set and ready to go. Then the horse towards the inside broke thru and that kind of got him rattled. Once they got everybody set, he started moving a little but then he settled in. (Ramon) said he broke okay, but not as good as he did in the trials. Ramon said that right about 300 yards, he started kicking it and I could see how much ground he was making up.”
Party Politics won his trial race by a half-length, but Rosenthal Ranch’s Cyber Attack put on a show on trials night, winning his division by 2 ¼ lengths. Second fastest qualifier Jeriko, owned and bred by Bobby Cox, enjoyed an even bigger winning margin in the trials. He won his heat by 2 ½ lengths.
“After seeing (Cyber Attack and Jeriko) so impressive in the trials, I was thinking that I didn’t have three lengths to (improve on), and that maybe I had one. It’s racing and you are not running against the clock. You are running against nine other horses. We were able to get it done.”
Ridden by Ramon Sanchez, Party Politics got it done, alright. He covered the 400 yards in :19.797, and his victory earned JGA $445,305 for the win. Now a winner in four of five starts, his career earnings have reached $857,555.
“It’s a blessing just to have a horse like this,” Aleman continued. “It brings me back to his dad (Apollitical Jess), training his dad, and the mom, I trained the mom too, and most of the siblings. That family has been good to me. This family has always been pretty high strung. Shanachee, the mother, she was very high strung. She was a little nutty in the gate, but she had so much heart. She’s passing that on to this horse. Party Politics, he’s a handful, a handful, but I know the family.”
It's an all around family affair for Aleman, as the winning connections include his parents, Juan Sr. and Esperanza, his sister, Allie and her husband, Martin, plus his brother, Fernando.
“He’s our first big one,” Aleman said. “We run about one or two every year. There’s about six of us. It’s all family and one friend. I trained for Mr. J. Garvan Kelly. Garvan knew that I knew the family, so he asked me to go look at the horse. I saw him in Ruidoso, and I thought, ‘Hey, let’s take a shot with him.’ Garvan thought he was a nice horse and when I looked at him, I agreed. I already had him highlighted because I knew the family and had trained the siblings and they could all run. This is (Shanachee’s) biggest runner by far. You have to look through him because he’s not a big, stout horse, but he can’t be because his mom wasn’t (big). His mom was small, she wasn’t a big horse at all. This horse might have a little more body than the siblings.”
Apollitical Jess won the Champion of Champions, was named AQHA world champion, and is currently one of the sport’s top stallions. Shanachee won seven of 32 starts, was a graded stakes placed mare, and earned $124,478 for J. Garvan Kelly. While the Two Million trials are next for Party Politics, Aleman is not one for stump speeches as he’ll begin preparing his runner for this all-important race.
“We are already blessed,” Aleman said. “I’m not greedy. We are happy we are here and just hope he pulls up well. We’ll go from there.
For Sanchez, this track’s all-time leading rider in stakes win, this was his third Golden State Million victory and first since One Dashing Eagle’s romp in 2012. A decade later, Sanchez proved once again that few have ever been better than him when the big money is on the line.
“We were in the gate for a long time, but he didn’t lose his cool,” Sanchez said. “He didn’t have a great start, but he finished strong. I felt that I was coming on, coming on, coming on against the inside horse. At the end, we were able to get there just in time and we did what we did. I was trailing the entire time. I was second or third. As we got closer, we started getting an advantage. I’m so thankful for the people that still believe in me and the people that have given me their support since I started even before I came here, my parents, my grandfather. Congratulations to them because if I win, they win.”
Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Chris O’Dell, Cyber Attack was a hair away from joining his full-brother, Runforyourlife, as winners of the Golden State Million. A colt by Favorite Cartel and out of Remember Me Rose, Cyber Attack earned $180,242. Cyber Attack has a chance to join another of his famous brothers on the Grade 1 podium, as Bomb Cyclone won last year’s Two Million. The Two Million trials is likely what’s next for the Steve Burns-bred runner.
William Smith’s Political Royalty, a filly also by Apollitical Jess, finished third with James Flores up for trainer Heath Taylor. She earned $127,230 for getting the show money, and like Party Politics and Cyber Monday is also eligible to the Two Million trials.
Bobby Cox’s Jeriko was 10th at the start of the race but made a big late run to finish fourth with Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo aboard for Taylor. The gelding by One Famous Eagle earned $74,218. Steve Burns’ Temple Court, a full sister to Cyber Attack, ran fifth for jockey Jose Nicasio and trainer Steve Burns. Hay Shaker, winner of the Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity, finished sixth. Claimed for $12,500 out of that race, he earned $53,102 for new owners Alfredo Alonzo, Luciano Martinez and Robert Martinez. The top six were followed by Wasting Light, Apollitical Jet, Flash Of Gold, and AJ Born Runnin.