BIG NIGHT FOR NELLESEN’S JUVENILES AND STALLION KVN CORONA AT LOS ALAMITOS
Think Again Kev
It was a dream night for top owner and breeder Keith Nellesen, as three of his juvenile first-time starters won on Saturday at Los Alamitos. The winning Nellesen trio are all Utah-bred and sired by KVN Corona, the multiple AQHA champion who enjoyed much success for the owner at Los Alamitos. KVN Corona’s victories at the Orange County oval included the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity, the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity and the Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby over the course of his 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
KVN Corona’s progeny are off to a great start in continuing the winning tradition of their outstanding sire led by the juvenile gelding Think Again Kevin, whose victory on Saturday night featured the fastest time by a 2-year-old so far this season. Racing from post number one for jockey Jose Nicasio and trainer Heath Taylor, Think Again Kevin posted an impressive 1 ¼ length win while covering the 220 yards in :12.036. Think Again Kevin broke inwardly at the start, moved inside a bit during the race, but then responded impressively to hand urging to win going away.
"This horse just seems to keep getting a little bit better, a little bit better," Taylor said. "He’s always acted like he wanted the distance. I was a little bit worried at the start because he made a juvenile mistake, and he broke in a couple of two or three lanes. He shifted in but after that he lined out. He’s been showing a bit of run and a lot of professionalism. He’s a big, long striding horse and seems like he wants to go down the track. We have nice hopes for this one and he’s sure been working well."
Think Again Kev's dam is Budder Think Twice, a graded stakes placed mare of $134,745 who in 2015 ran second to Phoebes Dynasty in the Restricted Grade 1 Governor's Cup Futurity and was fifth to AQHA champion Walk Thru Crystal in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity.
The Nellesen, Nicasio, Taylor connection also won with the gelding Political Rivarly, who scored in his debut in a time of :12.11. His time was the second fastest by a juvenile this season. Out of the Apollitical Jess mare Apolitical Zoom, a graded stakes winner of $107,342, Political Rivarly drifted out during his winning performance, but was still too strong on the way to a 2 1/2 length victory.
Kevins Knockout completed the triumvirate of winners after scoring a head victory in a time of :12.18. The filly is out of the graded stakes place mare Aquafina, who earned $188,336 while competing in four Grade 1 events during her 25-race career. Similarly to Think Again Kev, Kevins Knockout did her winning work from along the rail.
“The rail is sometimes difficult to navigate for the first-time starters,” Taylor said. "I thought the filly kind of missed the break, but in the second jump she took off and accelerated well. Jose said she ran nicely throughout. He said she got a little bit green down here at the lights. She was just looking around because she was in front. She ran a nice quality race for a non-starter.
The connections will have a couple of more representatives in action on Sunday night in Perfect Play, a KVN Corona filly out of the 2014 Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity winner Trendi, and Choosen One, a gelding by Favorite Cartel out of KVN Little Sister, who was a debut winner and a stakes winner in Wyoming.
Just like Saturday's winners, Perfect Play and Choosen One were bred by McColee Land & Livestock LLC, the well-known breeding program that Nellesen is a prominent part of.
"(Nellesen) is a tremendous breeder, tremendous owner, and a really great guy," Taylor said. "He lets you do your job and blessed to have him."