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January 2, 2012
Ramon Sanchez rides Kobe to win the Holiday Handicap.
Two-time champion jockey Ramon Sanchez on Sunday night became the ninth jockey in the 61-year history of Los Alamitos Race Course to reach 1,500 Quarter Horse victories. Sanchez reached the milestone after leading Paul Jones, Robert Cunningham and Thompson Racing Inc’s Lookin At A Winner to victory in the evening’s sixth race at 300 yards.
The champion jockey in 2002 and 2009, Sanchez wasted no time in picking up win number 1,501, as he came back to win the seventh race on the card aboard Don, Dan and Esther Wilson’s Jess Wilson at 350 yards. Sanchez wrapped up a great first night of 2012 by piloting Mark and Mary Parsons’ Kobe to win the $20,000 Holiday Handicap.
“I’ve been lucky to win a lot of big races and a lot of nice championships and I would have to rank reaching 1,500 wins as one of my favorite accomplishments,” Sanchez said. “It’s a humbling feeling to get to this number of wins because you’re joining a group of jockeys that includes some of the greatest Quarter Horse jockeys ever. I’m 35 right now and I think I can still ride another 10 years. I’d love to have a chance to become the all-time leading rider at Los Alamitos.”
Eddie Garcia is the all-time leading jockey at Los Alamitos with 2,611 victories.
In the winner’s circle, trainer Paul Jones had one wish regarding Sanchez’s victory mark.
“I want him to win another 1,500 more,” he said.
Sanchez looks like he could add a few more wins to his total if he keeps riding the high flying Kobe. The colt by Mr Eye Opener picked up third win in a row while earning $11,000 for his half-length victory over Ed Allred’s Check My Thoughts in the Holiday. Bred by his owners, Kobe covered the distance in :17.64.
“Mark taught Kobe how to run,” joked Mary Parsons while referring to her husband. “Mark would put on his tennis shoes and we would go to Double Bar S Ranch to visit Kobe when he was about six months old. Mark would get into the paddock with Kobe and he would run up and down that paddock and Kobe would chase him all over the place. It became a ritual that Mark would run with Kobe every time we would pay him a visit.”
If Mark got Kobe going, Jones has sharpened his skills. Under Jones’ tutelage, Kobe won a trial to the Kindergarten Futurity (G1) over PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (G2) winner Ima Chickie Two in early May before coming back to win an allowance race over Grade 1 Rainbow and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Hez Our Secret. His only loss in four career starts was a third place finish to multiple major futurity finalist Long Gone.
“He a sore tibia after his Kindergarten trial,” Mary Parsons added. “We gave him time off and we are so thrilled with the way he has returned. He’s eligible to run in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby trials (on January 28) and also the El Primero Del Ano Derby trials (on March 18). We’ve felt that Kobe is a special horse and this stakes win brought tears of happiness to my eyes.”
Golden State Juvenile Stakes and California Breeders Freshman stakes winner Check My Thoughts earned $4,500 for running second while Deleyco Race Team’s Eye For FDD earned $2,500 for finishing third. Markel Handicap winner Testing The Ice, Personal Mission, Properly Snowbound, BF Farm Girl, Red Dirt Bono and Our Kinda Magic completed the field.
Here are the all-time leading Quarter Horse jockeys by wins at Los Alamitos highlighted by the nine riders with over 1,500 wins.
LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE ALL-TIME LEADING QUARTER HORSE JOCKEYS BY WINS Thru January 1, 2012
1.Eddie Garcia 2,611 2. Danny Cardoza 2,528 3. Kenneth Hart 2,215 4. John Creager 2,108 5. Alex Bautista 1,888 6. Robert Adair 1,705 7. Steve Treasure 1,663 8. Rodrigo Aceves 1,560 9. Ramon Sanchez 1,502 10. Joe Badilla Jr. 1,452
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