Pedigree Analysis: Last To Fire

After two years of trying, Last To Fire hits on a Grade 1.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
July 9, 2013

last to fire

Last To Fire. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Last To Fire at last fired a Grade 1 volley, winning the $167,900 Vessels Maturity (G1) on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

The 4-year-old gelding, owned by Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas, has been a familiar name on the card of Grade 1 races at the Southern California track since his 2-year-old year, when he was third, a neck back, in Igotyourtac’s Golden State Million Futurity (G1) and two starts later second by a length to I Like The Odds in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). He returned as a 3-year-old to finish fifth in the Golden State Derby (G1), ninth in the Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) and third in the Southern California Derby (G1). This spring he ran fourth in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1).

Last To Fire has earned $662,545 in his career. Three years ago, the cousins paid $9,200 for the colt at the Heritage Place Yearling Sale, and have enjoyed the 7,100 percent return on their investment.

Last To Fire was a member of the second-to-last crop bred by legendary American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Spencer Childers. Childers owned Quarter Horses before the American Quarter Horse Association was founded in 1940, and bred them every year for 60 years, starting in 1949 and going until his death in 2009. The former rodeo cowboy in 1957 paid $7,500 – the equivalent to $62,173 in today’s dollars – for champion Black Easter Bunny. The 8-year-old daughter of Hystion (TB) was a wise investment that provided the foundation for the breeding legacy that Spencer and his wife, Florence, would produce.

Their very first champion was Black Easter Bunny’s 1959 foal by Three Bars (TB), a brown filly named Bunny’s Bar Maid who racked up $72,289 in her career and became the fifth dam of the sire of Childers’ homebred 2004 world champion Be A Bono ($1,313,347, a gelding by Childers' homebred stallion Bono Jazz). The Childers program also produced champions Black Sable, Blobby Charger and Jet View.

Sire Walk Thru Fire, a 16-year-old son of First Down Dash, did not have an exceptionally memorable racing career. While he was twice a Grade 1 finalist, he retired with a record of 21-2-2-2 and $94,280. The full brother of One Sweet Dash (dam of world champion One Dashing Eagle ($2,079,065) and One Sweet Jess ($953,592)) got his stud career off the ground like a wild fire. From a first crop of 28 he got champion Higher Fire ($1,314,742), Grade 1 winner Gold Nugget Rd ($122,543) and Grade 1-placed runner In Dispute ($148,916). He was quickly purchased by Dr. Ed Allred and Mike Abraham, and currently stands at Burns Ranch at Menifee, California.

Walk Thru Fire has since sired the earners of $15.8 million, with 289 winners from 489 starters. All four of the champions he has sired have been female – his others include Separate Fire ($631,250), Flame N Flash ($420,926) and Pink Boots RM ($139,345).

Childers also bred Last To Fire’s dam, Last Shall Be First, a 1999 daughter of Strawfly Special out of the Chicks Beduino mare Outlasting. The mare won or placed in 10 of 17 starts with earnings of $168,302, including victories in the 2002 Governor’s Cup Derby (RG1) and Dash For Speed Handicap. Her dam was twice a stakes winner at 350 yards, and second dam Tihswa was also a stakes winner at the distance. The mare carries in her pedigree the blood of Childers’ original mare – her third dam, Skip Chaser, is by Born To Rule, a son of Bunny’s Bar Maid.

Last Shall Be First’s early foals were by Childers’ homebred Bono Jazz and include the 2008 gelding Jazz Be First, an earner of $164,843. She had two foals in 2009 – in addition to Last To Fire, she also had the Check Him Out filly Last To Check Him, who was third behind her brother in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) and earned $295,534 in her career.

Last Shall Be First was sold at the 2013 Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale for $225,000 to Luis Alvarez. She has a yearling by Bono Jazz named Last Shall Be Jazzy.