Check My Thoughts Scores in SoCal Derby

Los Alamitos wraps up meet with final Grade 1 race.

December 23, 2012

Ed Allred’s Check My Thoughts became the meet’s only 3-year-old Quarter Horse to win multiple derbies following a terrific half-length victory in the Grade 1, $170,900 Southern California Derby on the closing day of the Los Alamitos year-long season on Sunday.

Ridden by Eulices Gomez and saddled by Jimmy Glenn, Check My Thoughts covered the 400 yards in the Southern California Derby in :19.580 while earning $71,778 for the win. The son of Check Him Out had previously picked up a derby win in the Grade 1 Golden State Derby back on August 26 in a race that gave Gomez his first win in a Grade 1 race. Check My Thoughts also performed well in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby and the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, running third in both. For the meet, Check My Thoughts finishes with top three finishes in all nine of his starts in 2012. Bred by Allred, who is American Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading breeder, Check My Thoughts has earned $358,206 while winning six of 14 career starts.

Glenn, Gomez and Check My Thoughts have teamed up the entire year with their highlight moment being the Golden State Derby with the brown gelding scoring a half-length victory over Do You Do Corona. The Southern California Derby has given them another magical night, as Check My Thoughts overcame a light bump at the start before he powered his way to a convincing victory over 2011 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) winner Shez Jess Toxic.

“He broke decent, but not as sharp as he broke in the trials a couple of weeks ago,” said Gomez, who is now a winner of two Grade 1 races in his career. “He finished the way that he usually does.”

The jockey and trainer have created a great working relationship over the course of the past two seasons and the derby wins have been the result of their efforts.

“I appreciate what Jimmy Glenn has done for me,” Gomez said. “He has stuck with me through a lot and it feels great that we got it done together with this horse. I’m trying to stay out of the horse’s way and out of my own way and it seems to work. You have to believe in yourself in this profession in order to make it, but it helps that a trainer also believes in you. I always appreciate Jimmy’s advice. He’s a former rider so when he gives me advice it’s for a good reason. Albert Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s why it’s important to listen to advice because you can’t always do the same thing all the time.”

All smiles, Glenn is convinced that in Gomez he has the perfect jockey for the now two-time Grade 1 winner Check My Thoughts.

“Eulices has gotten it done when the big money is one the line,” he said. “There are a lot of good riders that win a lot of races, but not many can win when there’s $200,000 on the line and you are the 6-5 morning line favorite. Eulices had a great ride in the Golden State and he won tonight when Check My Thoughts was 2-5. That’s not always easy to do.”

Check My Thoughts’ mother is Just Think, a third place finisher in the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and a finalist in the Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG1) and Charger Bar Handicap (G1). Just Think’s mother is Toltackitt, who ran second in the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity, while her granddam Bandolanty is a half sister to champion Sig Hanson and Lantys Pennant, whose family includes the great champion marathoner Sign Of Lanty.

Check My Thoughts is the newest name added to this great racing family.

“This horse is so good right now,” Glenn said. “You can see it physically how great he is doing. He has probably added 70 pounds in the last 90 days and he has the maturity of an older horse. He is so well balanced and just doing great. The waters will get deeper next in the trials to the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (on January 27), but I’m excited to see him perform against good older horses.”

Owned and trained by Dean Frey, Shez Jess Toxic earned $29,053 for running second at 10-1 odds. The Take Off Jess filly was ridden by Joel Cruz. The Walk Thru Fire gelding Last To Fire crossed the wire third with Francisco Rubio in the irons. Trained by Elena Andrade for Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas, Last To Fire earned $20,508 for running third. Tom Atwood’s Consider ran fourth and was followed by La Corona Cartel, Last To Check Him, Attack The Cartel, Mai Corona and Our Man David.

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The Southern California Derby served as the final race of the season. The derby wrapped a great weekend of daytime racing at Los Alamitos that saw on-track attendance double from a typical Saturday evening card while on-track attendance increased by more than 50 percent on Sunday afternoon from a typical Sunday evening card. Handle from all- sources also increased by approximately $200,000 each on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Los Alamitos Race Course enjoyed wall-to-wall coverage of its weekend racing on TVG, as the racing network was on-track all day long during the meet’s three afternoon cards.

“The coverage and promotion that TVG provided Los Alamitos all weekend long was tremendous and it was a huge reason for a fun and successful weekend of daytime racing,” said Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos’ Marketing and Publicity Director.

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Paul Jones finished as the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the 14th time in the last 15 years after saddling 113 winners. Jones won his sixth Champion of Champions (G1) this season and also saddled the winners of the Grade 1 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity and Los Alamitos Winter Derby. Cruz Mendez piloted 170 Quarter Horse winners to finish as the meet’s leading rider. Mendez won the meet’s richest race – the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) – and also enjoyed victories in the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Los Alamitos Winter Championship.