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February 27, 2012
Ed Allred’s homebred Kool Million stayed cool under pressure, as he scored a gritty head victory over the 29-1 longshot One Famous Ferragamo to win the richest ever running of the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on Sunday at the Orange County oval. Because of the race conditions, it is not an official AQHA stakes.
Kool Million was one of three horses saddled by Jose Flores for all-time leading breeder Ed Allred in the $151,750 Maiden Stakes at 350 yards. Ridden by Cruz Mendez, the gelded son of Bono Jazz covered the distance in :17.642 while earning $63,735. The other two Allred horses in this race were Warm Form, who finished fourth, and Bawdy, who had troubled start and finished 10th. Kool Million broke nicely from post one and was right behind Warm Form and One Famous Ferragamo at the midway point of the race. The three continued to battle for the lead, but in the end the powerfully built runner proved to be too strong as he recorded his second victory from three career starts.
“It looked like he stumbled a little bit at the start, but he was good the rest of the way,” Flores said. “He has a lot of talent. When Dr. Allred first sent me this horse I noticed that he was well put together. He was built and that can be a little scary because of the weight and you never know how a 2-year-old will hold the weight. The great thing is that Dr. Allred is one of the greatest breeders ever and he knows exactly what he’s doing. This horse is well bred and he carries himself great.”
Flores, now 245 pounds lighter since having gastric bypass surgery in July 2010, always wanted to train for Allred.
“I kept asking Doc’s stallion manager Fred Scane if I could train one of their horses,” Flores said. “They gave me a chance with Beastly King and we did well with him and I’ve had horses for Dr. Allred ever since. I had four for him this year, but I lost one through a claim last night. The other three got into this race.”
Happy to be in the winner’s circle, Flores added that his body is also feeling great.
“My wife and two little girls are so happy with how much weight I’ve lost,” he said. “As heavy as I was there was a chance that I wasn’t going to be around very long, but now I feel like I’ll be around for my family a lot longer and that means the world to me. My dad helped me out so much when I was recovering from surgery and I am lucky to have such a great team. Of course, I am fortunate to have so many great owners to work with and Dr. Allred is right at the top of the list. His team at the ranch is tremendous and his ranch manager and trainer John Creager does a great job.”
Few jockeys at Los Alamitos are performing as well as Cruz Mendez this season. Fresh off of his winning ride aboard El Aguila Real in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1), Mendez picked up another quality victory with Kool Million in the rich Maiden Stakes. The 26-year-old pilot is currently the meet’s leading jockey in wins and money earned. His ridden 22 winners and earned $303,093 to lead the standings.
“My agent Frank Quezada has been great for my career,” Mendez said. “I’ve been working hard and I just want to keep doing the right things. When I first started riding a couple of years I never dreamed that I would be doing some of the things that I’m doing right now. It feels great and I feel lucky. I have to give credit to jockey Joel Cruz because he’s the one that taught me how to ride a horse in 2009. We would go to Pico Rivera about 15-20 miles from Los Alamitos and he showed me how to gallop a horse. I didn’t even know how to hold a horse before Joel taught me and fortunately I was a quick learner.”
Cruz Mendez was one of two jockeys to receive the Val Tonks Award for up-and-coming Quarter Horse rider in 2011. Antonio Alberto was the other Val Tonks winner.
Owned by Deleyco Race Team Corporation, One Famous Ferragamo earned $25,798 for finishing second in the Maiden Stakes. Eduardo Nicasio piloted the First Down Dash gelding for trainer Paul Jones. Thiago and Theo Trevisani and Jose Dollo’s Jennifers Challenge earned $18,210 for running third. She’s finished in the money in 10 of 11 career starts. Warm Form, Chicks Boudro, Oceanik, New Look, Tabasco Special Dash, First Element and Bawdy completed the field.
Kool Million’s mother is Kool As Ever, a daughter of Chicks Beduino and out of the champion millionaire Corona Kool. Kool As Ever was an allowance winner at Los Alamitos and also faced the likes of Grade 1 winners Strength In Numbers and Five Bar Molly in the 2007 Cash For Kas Handicap. Kool As Ever is also the mother of Double Kool, who qualified to the 870-yard Gold Rush Derby last year.
Jose Flores noted that his barn now features Fire Is On, a half brother of the Los Alamitos Winter Championship runner-up Senor Toby. Owned by Daniel Reynoso, Fire Is On won a division of the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Handicap in 2010 and that year’s Katella Handicap.
“I also have (multiple Grade 1 futurity finalist in 2011) Kindly Fellow coming back and the 3-year-old Carne Vino,” Flores added. “I also have some nice 2-year-olds in training from sires like Mr Jess Perry, Corona Cartel and Walk Thru Fire.”
Jockey Cesar De Alba had a big night at Los Alamitos on Sunday. He piloted four winners on the card including Juan Humberto Moya’s Twelve Stepper in a race for $20,000 claimers.
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