LARC NEWS Posted: 3/24/2024 12:31:05 AM


         Lance Bland and Jimmy Barton’s Asscher completed a dominant three-race stretch of races in Southern California with a clear victory in the Grade 1, $404,000 Los Alamitos Oaks on Saturday at the Orange County oval.

          A filly by FDD Dynasty and out of the multiple graded stakes winning champion Astica, Asscher led the Oaks from start to finish on the way to a ¾ length victory over the graded stakes place runner Southern Divine. Her winning time of :19.457 at 400 yards is the second fastest in the history of this race, which dates to 1978 when it was called the La Primera Del Año Derby. Asscher’s time is second only to Fall For It’s record clocking of :19.35 set in 2011. Ridden by 20-year-old jockey Christian Ramos, Asscher is trained by Marc Jungers. Ramos and Jungers were both scoring the first Grade 1 stakes win of their respective careers.   

          For Asscher, it was her latest brilliant performance since arriving at Los Alamitos for the trials to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last fall. After a troubled fourth in the trials, Asscher has been close to perfect in her last three starts. She defeated males to win the Holiday Handicap in the meet’s opening night on December 30, doing so after having her shoe repaired. She then posted the fastest qualifying time in the Oaks trials, winning in gate to wire fashion by a half-length. Her tour de force came in the Oaks final, as she came away cleanly, pulled away at the midway point and won with ease to earn $169,680 for her connections. A finalist in the Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, the MJ Farms-bred filly improved to four wins in eight starts while taking her career earnings to $223,530. Purchased for $350,000 at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale in 2022, the Grade 1 winning Asscher can now dream of duplicating her dam’s accomplishments as champion 3-year-old filly.

          This was certainly a special victory for Jungers, who more than 40 years ago was in the winner’s circle at Los Alamitos as the groom of Champion of Champions winner Denim N Diamonds. Asscher’s win in the Holiday Handicap was his first visit to the local charmed golden enclosure since his days with Denim N Diamonds.

          “Pretty amazing, a Grade 1 win, and we did it here,” said the Houston-based trainer.  “It’s kind of déjà vu. I’m glad to have done it at Los Alamitos. It’s awesome. It’s bittersweet because my dad passed away two years ago and wasn’t here to watch. I had a great summer when I was out here as a young man, and we ended up winning the Champion of Champions. Now I have a filly that I picked and with some other colts we may be back again. This (a Grade 1 win) means a lot. When I was a kid Los Alamitos and Ruidoso were the places that I dreamed of going to and competing. Asscher has proved that she is that Grade 1 winner.”   

          Jungers said that Asscher will now go to Ruidoso Downs and take on the boys once again, this time in the Ruidoso Derby before taking aim at the Rainbow Oaks and All American Oaks.



            As for the partners who signed the purchase slip for Asscher at Ruidoso Downs, this filly has proven to be a wonderful investment. Bland has been involved in racing for about 15 years and in his own words “never in the magnitude as now.”

          “When you have success it helps,” added Bland, who is in the oil and gas business as well as in cotton farming in West Texas.   

          Barton, a native of San Angelo, Texas, has been in the livestock business his entire life. His experiences in racing date back to the 1970s.

          “My granddads both ran horses in Ruidoso in the 70s and 80s. I’m just kind of coming back full circle to racing in the last few years. I’ve followed (racing) for a long time and had the opportunity to buy in to Asscher and now we are partners on 12 to 15 horses, two and three-year-olds. We are excited about what’s to come this year.”

          “We met at the horse sale buying this filly,” said Barton. “He paid more than I did. I’m the smaller partner.”

“A partner is a partner,” Bland quickly added. “It’s always good to have a good partner.”

In addition to Asscher, the two partners recently won race at Remington with one of their young horses.

Owned by Dunn Ranch and trained by Monty Arrossa, Southern Divine ran gamely throughout, holding to the runner-up spot by a neck over Grade 2 winner Double Down 123. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Southern Divine, an Oklahoma-bred by Paint Your Wagon out of Marys Southernpolicy, earned $68,880 for running second.

Taos River Ranch and Randy Young’s Double Down 123, also trained by Arrossa and ridden by Armando Cervantes, earned $48,480 for running third. Ed Allred’s In The Mode was fourth and picked up a check for $28,280. The top four were followed by Silver Bac, Checkn Cartel, Market Analyst, and Favorite City. Seperate Heart and Hubba Hubba qualified to the race but did not run in the final.


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