CYBER ATTACK GIVES HIS FAMILY AND ALSO HIS CONNECTIONS
BACK TO BACK WINS IN LOS ALAMITOS TWO MILLION FUTURITY
For the second consecutive year, Quarter Horse racing's royal family sired by Favorite Cartel and out of the record setting broodmare Remember Me Rose won the breed's richest race in California, the Grade 1, $1,884,225 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity here on Sunday night. A year ago, it was Bomb Cyclone who won the Two Million for owner Rosenthal Ranch, trainer Chris O'Dell, and jockey Eduardo Nicasio. This year, it was his full-brother, Cyber Attack, who did the honors, winning the 400-yard dash by 3/4 lengths for the exact same connections.
"I can't believe it. It's hard to even do it once. To go back-to-back years with full brothers on top of that, it's unbelievable," O'Dell said. "I couldn't do it without this lady (Connie Rosenthal) right here. She's the one that steps up and buys them and let's me train them."
For Rosenthal Ranch, O'Dell has trained four full brothers sired by Favorite Cartel and out of Remember Me Rose, who recently became AQHA's all-time leading broodmare by progeny earnings. All four brothers have become Grade 1 winners starting with Powerful Favorite and followed by Runforyourlife, Bomb Cyclone, and now Cyber Attack. It took Cyber Attack, who is the only colt among those four, a couple of tries to become a Grade 1 winner. Previously, he ran second in the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity and second in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity to Party Politics here on October 30.
"I knew that sooner or later that (Cyber Attack) would do it," O'Dell added. "He's run so well in the finals every time he's been in them. We've just missed. It's just a matter of time. He's pretty quick. He's not real quick in the first jump, but about the second or third jump he's gone if he doesn't get bumped. When I saw him strike the lead I was like, 'get there, get there.' I figured that since we got beat two other times that it was our turn tonight."
With Nicasio in the irons, Cyber Attack was fifth at the start of the Two Million before surging to take a 3/4 length lead soon after. He stretched his advantage to a full length by the midway point of the 400-yard race and from there it was only a matter of time before becoming a Grade 1 winner for the first time. Bobby Cox's Jeriko finished second, once again displaying remarkable closing speed, while Steve Holt and Jeff Jones' Hes Judgeandjury, the winner of the Grade 1 All American Futurity finished third. Shaun Hubbard and Ray Willis' Ray Yeigh finished fourth with AJ Born Runnin, Good Wagon SA, Required First, Famous Miss Kitty, Hay Shaker, and Mahomes Magic completing the field.
Bred by Steve Burns, who bred Bomb Cyclone and Runforyourlife and co-bred Powerful Favorite in partnership with James Markum, Cyber Attack improved to four wins from seven starts and became a millionaire after earning $780,035 on Sunday night. The colt has now earned $1,151,917 to join Powerful Favorite and Bomb Cyclone in Rosenthal's millionaire club. Cyber Attack also joins Bomb Cyclone as winners of this race, which naturally leads to the question of which of the two did it better. Was it Bomb Cyclone, who was never challenged from the rail last year? Or did Cyber Attack do it better from the outside part of the track? The stopwatch had Cyber Attack covering the distance in :19.507, just ahead of Bomb Cyclone's :19.513 clocking last year. Then again, Bomb Cyclone did win his Two Million by two lengths.
"I still think Bomb is the fastest horse that I've ever trained," O'Dell said. "He did it so effortlessly. (Eduardo) had to ride (Cyber Attack) pretty good. They are two different kinds of horses. Cyber Attack is a Quarter horsey looking horse, while Bomb is more Thoroughbredy type horse. Bomb has impressed me every time he runs. He got beat last night (in the Champion of Champions), but he got beat by the best in the world. It was not a slouch race. He runs a 103 or 104 speed rating and runs fourth. I hung my head for a minute. Kicked rocks for a minute and went to the truck and back. I told Connie last night, because she had her head down a little bit too, 'Hey, don't worry, Cyber will take care of us tomorrow.' When you say things like that, you then have to hope that it comes true. You put your head out on the chopping block. I told her to just go home and get some rest and enjoy all of it. I told her, 'He'll run" because he does every time. As soon as I put the flipping halter, he (hasn't) made any mistakes."
O'Dell also changed Cyber Attack's blinkers to a smaller cup, hoping that it would allow him to see his competition a little better. In the Golden State Million, Cyber Attack took what seemed like an insurmountable lead only for Party Politics to spoil his party in the final jump. This time around, Cyber Attack fought to take the lead after the start and this time it was his turn to party.
"I felt that if he broke the right way that he would do perfect," Nicasio said. "Past the 200 yards I didn't see anybody, and he was gone. The starter said, 'Hey, he doesn't move.' I said, 'Yeah, leave him right there. He's nice.' What can I say? Chris, he's a good person. He's my friend. He's my boss. He's a good trainer too."
"I saw that (Cyber Attack) got away clean," O'Dell said. "Then, I looked down and saw that Ray Yeigh looked like he was in good shape. I was trying to watch both at the same time and then when it got down there at the end, I saw that Cyber was in front. I started helping by riding a little bit. I was helping Nicasio ride him. What a ride. "
And when it comes to racing success, the cross of Favorite Cartel and Remember Me Rose just keeps on delivering.
"It's very easy to do," said Rosenthal with a big laugh. "You just have to keep finding those brothers. It's fabulous."
And what a change of emotions from 24 hours earlier when Bomb Cyclone and Powerful Favorite were left chasing Empressum, Danjer, and Apollitical Pence in the Champion of Champions.
"It was gut wrenching to say the least," Rosenthal described. "For Powerful Favorite, I wanted a miracle. I wanted him to win so that he could go out a winner. Bomb kind of jumped around and tried to catch up to Danjer and he just couldn't. That was a tough, tough race. I was happy that my horses were in it. I was very grateful that I had the horses that I had to be in that race. It's a wonderful race to be in. I was very happy, and this is just the cherry on top of the sundae and I had a sundae for dinner. Second jump I was 'He's going, he's going.' When he lost the last race (the Golden State Million) by just the hairs on his nose, I think that that was probably my biggest disappointment because I thought he had it. To know that there are other horses out there that are just as good as he is, you can't count anything as a sure thing. I'm very happy tonight that Cyber Attack won. Back-to-back wins in this race, I just can't believe that it is happening to us."
"Bomb ran good," added O'Dell about the Champion of Champions. "It's hard to run 3-year-olds against 4-year-olds and up. It's like going from college to the pros. Bomb will be fine. He'll be back next year, and he'll be four and he'll turn the tables on some horses. I saw that (Cyber Attack) got away clean. Then, I looked down and saw that Ray Yeigh looked like he was in good shape. I was trying to watch both at the same time and then when it got down there at the end, I saw that Cyber was in front. I started helping by riding a little bit. I was helping Nicasio ride him. What a ride. "
And what's next for Cyber Attack?
"We'll try to get the Rainbow and the All American next year," O'Dell said. "Hopefully this horse comes back good. We'll freshen him up. I have a special way that I like to do it. I just don't take them out and leave them alone. I like to walk them every day and work on their legs and their feet. You have stay on their feet all the time."
Rosenthal and O'Dell do not have a younger brother to Powerful Favorite, Bomb Cyclone, or Cyber Attack waiting in the wings just yet, but that's not to say they won't have talented runners vying for spots in the million-dollar races.
"We bought a filly that we really like from Burns Ranch," O'Dell said. "She's by Favorite Cartel. You might hear from her. She comes from one of those good mares that Burns has. She's big, tall, and long legged. I like a little leg under them. This horse (Cyber Attack) is sneaky big. He's still growing. His frontend has not caught up yet. He's not a Bomb Cyclone type, but he is big. Bomb wouldn't fit in the starting. This one fits in the gate fine."
Ridden by Jose Nicasio, Eduardo’s younger brother, Jeriko earned $315,728 for his runner-up effort in the Two Million. The son of One Famous Eagle was saddled by Heath Taylor. The trainer also conditioned Hes Judgeandjury, who earned $222,867 for his third-place finish while guided by Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo. The son of Hes Relentless has now earned $1,931,167. The O’Dell trained Ray Yeigh earned $130,006 and completed the top four.