GOOD WAGON SA, POLITICAL ROYALTY WIN FIRST STAKES;
AJ RUN FOR CASH ALSO SCORES ON SATURDAY NIGHT
J. Francisco Diaz’s Good Wagon SA and William Smith’s Political Royalty, a pair of Grade 1 stakes placed runners, became stakes first winners for the first time following outstanding performances from post number one in their respective events on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.
Sent off at 3-1 odds and with jockey Oscar Peinado picking up the mount as a late replacement, Good Wagon SA was stronger as the race got longer in route to a 1 ¼ length victory in the $30,000 Town Policy Stakes for 3-year-olds at 400 yards. Trained by Lindolfo Diaz, Good Wagon SA entered this race after a very difficult trip when finishing out of the money in the trials to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby on October 15. Earlier this year, the son of Good Reason SA ran second in both the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby and the Grade 2 Golden State Derby. He also qualified to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last year when running second in his trial race to eventual winner and AQHA champion Cyber Attack.
As talented as he is, Good Wagon SA was picking up his first in over a year and his first year of his sophomore campaign. A good break and a sensational finish made it a winning night for the Randy and Stacy Hill-bred runner.
“This horse’s trouble has always been the gate,” Lindolfo Diaz said. “Just getting out of there and the first few strides just getting a clean break. It seems like he always finds himself in trouble and he hasn’t shown his real potential. Tonight, he got a clean break and Peinado said he made the lead after a couple of strides. This is the true horse. He ran second to Party Politics beaten by a nose (in the Golden State Derby). It’s a shame he’s not in the Super Derby. He got a really bad trip in the trials. Hopefully he pulls up good from this and we’re back in the trials to the Southern California Derby three weeks from now.”
The last time Good Wagon SA started from the rail he was second to Ghost Witha Fire in the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby. Good Wagon SA followed that trial effort with the best result of his career, a second-place finish in the Grade 1 final.
“For horses that don’t break, I don’t mind the one (post position),” the trainer added. “This horse has gotten the 10 hole two times and still something has happened. He breaks bad or been unlucky. Hopefully, this win starts turning things around.”
Good Wagon SA earned $16,500 for the win to take his career earnings to $194,824. This was his third win in 12 career starts. He covered the 400 yards in :19.689,
George and Ruben Villalobos’ Required First, also a Los Alamitos Two Million finalist in 2022, ran second in the Town Policy under jockey Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Jose Flores. The First Down Dash colt earned $6,750 for his runner-up effort. Bradbury Racing’s Dont Sass KVN, whose sophomore campaign includes appearances in the El Primero Del Ano Derby and the Rainbow Invitational, finished third for jockey Victor Salazar and trainer Paul Jones. The colt by KVN Corona earned $3,750 for running third. Terrific Phoenix finished fourth and was followed by Mahomes Magic, Ima Sixy Man, Up The Interest, Pragmatic, Always A Chance and Price Fixer.
Political Royalty, third in last year’s Golden State Million and an All American Oaks finalist, won the $30,000 Justanold Love for sophomore fillies by a nose over even money favorite P & J Racing’s AJ Born Runnin. From the rail, Political Royalty was seventh at the start but then picked up speed with each and every stride, eventually taking the lead away from the Diaz-trained Quirky Bitty Jess while also holding off AJ Born Runnin’s strong finish by a nose.
Ridden by Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo for trainer Heath Taylor, the Utah-bred filly by Apollitical Jess earned $16,500 for her third win in 12 career starts. Bred by McColee Land & Livestock, Political Royalty has now earned $179,630 in her racing career. She covered the 350 yards in :17.640. All three of her victories have also come at Los Alamitos and her win in the Justanold Love follows a strong ¾ length allowance win here on October 14. She’ll be one to watch in the distaff division in 2024 if her connections decided to keep in the Golden State.
With Peinado aboard for trainer Jaime Gomez, the multiple Grade 1 finalist AJ Born Runnin earned $6,750 for her runner-up effort. The gray filly by Apollitical Jess drifted out after leaving from post 10 but finished strongly for second.
Quirky Bitty Jess, another Grade 1 stakes finalist in 2022, earned $3,750 for running third with Jesus Rios Ayala in the irons for owner J. Francisco Diaz. Relentless Pressure, Phoebes Baby Girl, A Dream To Filly, Frivolous, One Sweet Duck, Mornings With Maria, and Budder Off Friends completed the field.
The stakes action on Saturday night also featured Boardshorts Stables LLC’s AJ Run For Cash winning the $16,000 Falling In Loveagain Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at 300 yards. Ridden by Irving Lara for trainer Juan Aleman, AJ Run For Cash covered the distance in :15.594 while earning $8,800 for the win. The winner of the Firecracker Futurity at Grants Pass last year, the filly by Apollitical Jess improved her record to six wins from 18 starts while nearing the $100,000 earnings mark. She’s banked $97,250 during her time on the track, which includes three victories at Los Alamitos.
Donald and Peggy Boyle’s Kiss Me Flyin ran second with Jeryl Hartley’s Forever Dynasty running third. Remember Her, Jr Dash Of Coronado, Jessica Cruz, In Doubt, Jess Dynasty B, and Feldzpar completed the field.