APOCALIPSIS V SURPRISES STRONG FIELD TO POST FASTEST TIME TO LOS ALAMITOS SUPER DERBY
From the files of “anything can happen in racing” and “you have to be in it to win it”, Valeriano Racing Stables’ Apocalipsis V posted a shocking victory in the fourth of five trials to the Grade 1, $905,650 Los Alamitos Super Derby, winning the 400-yard dash at 32-1 odds while posting the fastest qualifying time here on Sunday night.
Winning for the first time in 11 career starts, Apocalipsis V (left and below) bettered the strongest field of the night while racing from along the rail. In the process, the son of Apollitical Jess out of the great broodmare A Tempting Chick defeated a field that included 2022 All American Futurity winner Hes Judgeandjury, three-time major stakes winner Party Politics, Governor’s Cup Derby winner Future Version, and two-time derby Grade 1 finalist Ghost With a Fire. As proof of the strength of this trial, all five of these sophomores advanced to the Super Derby final to be held here on Sunday, November 5.
In addition to this talented quintet, the rest of qualifiers included Rainbow Derby winner Sicario V, El Primero Del Ano Derby winner Hes Chickless, multiple Grade 1 finalist Jeriko, All American Oaks runner-up Fearless Moon, and 2022 Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Navaja.
Apocalipsis V’s victories was a big surprise, as the half-brother to Grade 1 winner and notable stallion Tempting Chick entered this race after three consecutive ninth place finishes at Ruidoso Downs. In addition, his career record in his first 10 starts included only a pair of in the money finishes – both runner-up efforts last summer at Ruidoso Downs.
The Muller Racing LLC-bred runner saved his best effort for the bright lights of Los Alamitos. Ridden by Francisco Calderon for trainer Heath Taylor while racing under the stars, Apocalipsis V was fifth at the start of the fourth Super Derby trial before picking up speed at the midway point and outfinishing JGA Racing Stables’ Party Politics by a head and in a time of :19.650. Party Politics would finish with the second fastest time of :19.667 while third place finisher Hes Judgeandjury finished with the fourth fastest qualifying time of :19.702.
“I was apprehensive with the horse’s form when he shipped in,” Taylor said. “I didn’t know if it was from the ride, but he came in really green and really light. He’s probably put on 150 to 200 pounds. We worked him with (Hes Judgeandjury and Heros R Famous) and he worked really well. I worked him one other time and he worked really well so obviously going against those kind of horses I was a little bit apprehensive. He was paid up, so we said ‘Well, let’s just try and see.’ He left clean. I don’t know if he's ever gotten out of the gate really clean before. He ran a good race. I thought Hes Judgeandjury ran a great race too. He stumbled a pretty good bit, probably enough that it cost him winning the race. The time was good, and he didn’t get anything out of his last start in the All American (Derby) trials at 440 yards. He really had not had to run for probably three to four months. The race will really be beneficial for him too.”
Juan Aleman has campaigned Party Politics to $1,002,368 in career earnings and victories in the Grade 2 Golden State Derby this year and the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity last year. The son of Apollitical Jess will now set his sights on another Grade 1 event, the Super Derby in three weeks.
“You know, it’s racing and anything can happen,” Aleman said of his trainee’s runner-up effort in his trial. “He stumbled coming out of the gate twice. I think that cost him the race. He ran a big race and we just wanted to get him in the final. We are hoping he comes back and runs the biggest race of his 3-year-old year.”
Jesus Rios Ayala piloted Party Politics, who has won six times while finishing in the money in all 13 of his career starts.
Bobby Cox’s homebred Jeriko (below) posted the third fastest qualifying time after winning the opening trial of the night in :19.694.The Texas-bred gelding by One Famous Eagle ran second in last year’s Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and was fourth in the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity. Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo piloted the six-time winner for Heath Taylor.
“Just a really, really good horse,” Taylor said of Jeriko. “I’m hopeful with the maturity and his recuperation period that he’ll be strong in the final. We changed some equipment. Took the flipping rig off him and changed the blinkers and seemed like he left the gate a lot better. It took a little while to get him and get him ready. He thought he had a lot more horse left in him too.”
Valeriano Racing’s Sicario V and Jeryl Hartley’s Hes Chickless both won their respective trials while advancing to the Orange County track’s richest derby. Sicario V, the runner-up in last year’s All American Futurity, took the final trial of the night over Fearless Moon and Navaja to improve to six victories from seven starts this year. Calderon and Taylor teamed up with Sicario V for this trial win while helping him advance to his first ever stakes final at Los Alamitos. Ed Allred bred the gelding by Favorite Cartel out of Nymph.
A horse with a ton of stakes experience at Los Alamitos is Hes Chickless, the El Primero winner who also previously qualified to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby and Golden State Derby. Ridden by Juan Pablo Leon for trainer Sergio Morfin, Hes Chickless won the third trial of the night to record his eighth win in 18 starts. No horse in these trials has made more starts or won more times than the gelding by Hes Relentless.
Here’s the list of Los Alamitos Super Derby finalist based on qualifying time: Apocalipsis V (:19.650), Party Politics (:19.667), Jeriko (:19.694), Hes Judgeandjury (:19.702), Hes Chickless (:19.760), Sicario V (:19.800), Ghost Witha Fire (:19.808), Fearless Moon (:19.842), Navaja (:19.862), and Future Version (:19.893).