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Far Niente Fastest in PCQHRA Futurity Trials

FDD Dynasty colt puts up top qualifying time for $392,000 final.

September 16, 2012

Tom Atwood and Vessels Stallion Farm LLC’s Far Niente scored his first ever victory on July 27 with an impressive half-length length allowance decision. The gray colt by FDD Dynasty took his game to another level after posting the fastest qualifying time to the $392,000 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) on Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer John Wells, Far Niente broke a step behind Tony Doughtie’s Stel Corona, but he quickly found a higher gear en route to posting a 350-yard time of :17.407. Bred by Bielau Oaks, Far Niente’s winning clocking was 12/100ths of a second faster than the next fastest qualifier, JR Dynasty Mountain.

Seventy-four horses competed in nine Breeders’ Futurity trials on Saturday. Led by Far Niente and JR Dynasty Mountain, the horses with the 10 fastest times will race in the final on Saturday, October 6. The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Far Niente (:17.407), JR Dynasty Mountain (:17.522), Stel My Corona (:17.526), Slightys Mac A Tac (:17.540), Blistering Speed (:17.563), Significant Heart (:17.574), Tahma Hawk Chop (:17.593), Joy Roses Eagle SA (:17.613), Blackberry Czech (:17.615) and Fireworks (:17.623).

Far Niente and JR Dynasty Mountain were the show-stealers in the trials.

“Bonnie Vessels and I picked (Far Niente) out of the Heritage Place Sale and we tried to buy him,” Wells said. “He ended up being repurchased and I thought that was the end of it. I was at the boot store when a young lady came up to me and told me that he been bought back and asked if I still wanted him. I was definitely still interested.”

Wells trains Far Niente’s half sister, Sheza Shy Shahayla , and under his care she qualified to the 2011 Governor’s Cup Derby (RG1) and Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) and most recently ran second in this year’s California Breeders’ Matron Stakes (RG3). Far Niente and Sheza Shy Shahayla’s mother is the Los Alamitos multiple stakes winner Shahayla, who earned nearly $70,000 while winning nine races in her career.

“We’ve had good luck with Sheza Shy Shahayla so that’s one of the things that I liked about this colt,” Wells said. “I also have to credit the work of my assistant trainer Jose Hernandez Jr. He is a young horseman, but he thinks old school just like I do. He gallops horses and takes great care of his work. He is a real horseman.”

Wells, the leading Quarter Horse trainer during the 1972 summer meeting at Los Alamitos, spent two decades taking care of Atwood’s cattle ranch in Red Bluff, California, before returning to training Quarter Horse sprinters a couple of years ago.

“I needed to be around some people,” Wells said. “Mr. Atwood owns a lot of horses and he’s very involved with cutting horses. He allowed me to come back to the track and purchase some very nice runners. We currently keep the mares and horses that he’s acquired at a ranch in Elk Grove, California. Mr. Atwood allows me the privilege that if a horse is sore I can turn him out at the ranch. That’s a great thing for these horses.”

JR Stables’ JR Dynasty Mountain may have been the most impressive winner of the night. The invader – he was fourth in the trials to the All American Futurity (G1) in his previous start – won in wire-to-wire fashion and posted a very impressive 2 ¼-length victory for trainer Joe Bassett. The son of FDD Dynasty had previously been trained by Bassett’s father, John, in Ruidoso and by Ron Moosman in Idaho and Utah.

“This horse came ready to run,” Joe Bassett said. “I didn’t have to do much. He was ready. It’s nice when I get a horse from my dad because we know how each of us cares for the horses. We do well when we work together. This is the first horse that I’ve had the pleasure of training for JR Stables.”

JR Dynasty Mountain was impressive at Les Bois Park and Dixie Downs earlier this year, as he won all three of his races there.

“After seeing him run tonight, it definitely wouldn’t surprise me if he was one of the better 2-year-olds in Idaho and Utah,” Bassett added.

Osvaldo Macias piloted JR Dynasty Mountain to his fourth win in five career starts.

“Osvaldo has been coming around the barn and helping me out a lot,” Bassett said. “I had to repay him for his good, hard work.”

The first of nine trials was far and away the most productive of the night, as five out of the 10 qualifiers came out of this heat. Slightys Mac A Tac, Blistering Speed, Tahma Hawk Chop, Joy Roses Eagle SA and Fireworks qualified from the first trial. This trial did feature an 8 mph tail wind. The first five trials also featured some type of a tail wind ranging from 3 mph to 8 mph. JR Dynasty Mountain was the only horse to qualify from a trial with no wind.

Salvado Pimienta’s Blackberry Czech won the fifth trial of the night in what was her first start since winning the Kindergarten Futurity (G2) on May 20. Now a winner of three out of four starts, the homebred daughter of Corona Czech defeated Kindergarten finalist Sugarbear Sax Man by a head in their trial.

“She needed this race and I think this sets her up nicely for the final,” said trainer Felix Gonzalez. “She’s a very professional filly. She’s very quick and I’ll be interested to see how she does in a 350-yard futurity final. From now until the final, we just want to keep her fresh and happy.”

“She’s very reliable and secure in the starting gate,” Pimienta added. “It was great to see her comeback and perform in the way that she did. She doesn’t make mistakes. I was happy with the effort. She’s great at 300 yards, but the 350-yard distance in the final could be a problem for her. We’ll see how she does. Right now, I’m happy with her return start.”