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March 19, 2012
For the second time in six weeks, Mimi Wells’ New Look posted the fastest qualifying time to a big money race at Los Alamitos Race Course. On February 4, the gelding by Walk Thru Fire won his trial to the $151,750 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes by a half-length while posting the fastest 350-yard time. New Look was at it again on Sunday night, after scoring a 1 ½-length victory in his trial to the $184,000 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3) at 400 yards.
New Look helped make it a good night for trainer Dan Francisco, who saddled three of the 10 qualifiers to the El Primero to be held on Sunday, April 8. In addition to New Look, who posted a sizzling :19.689 clocking in his trial with Rodrigo Aceves in the irons, Francisco’s barn also qualified Wells’ Willie Dasher and Micah Leslie and Link Newcomb’s Jess Dapper, who posted an upset victory in his trial at 24-1 odds.
“Nice night for Francisco,” Wells said. “I’m happy for Dan and I’m excited about my two in the El Primero. Ever since we took the blinkers off of New Look he has really started to figure it out.”
New Look has now won three of his last four starts with his seventh-place finish in the Maiden Stakes final being his only blemish during that span. Wells purchased New Look for $28,000 at the 2010 Los Alamitos Equine Sale from the consignment of 12-time AQHA champion breeder Ed Allred. New Look is the first foal out of the young broodmare Make Over. His granddam is the All American Futurity (G1) winner Elans Special, who is also the mother of California Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG2) winner Gotothemountain, American Paint Horse Association world champion Really Special and the mare Lizas Mystique, who went on to produce five-time champion Catchmeinyourdreams.
Wells’ Willie Dasher finished third in his trial against second-fastest qualifier Sompin About First, and an equipment change has also helped his success.
“We’ve used the flipping halter twice with this horse and he’s run well both times,” Francisco said. “He throws his head around the gate quite a bit and going to the flipping halter has really helped him.”
Francisco broke a sweat watching Jess Dapper run the race of his life in a trial that included qualifiers Our Man David and Long Gone. Making his eighth career start, the gelding by Feature Mr Jess got it done to win by half a length.
“I rode the horse pretty hard,” said Francisco with a smile. “He’s been an interesting horse. He’s been big and fat and long and lean – talk about growing pains - but now he’s starting to come together physically just right. He’s getting used to his body and he’s figuring things out. Oscar Peinado did a nice job riding him tonight. That kid has been working hard and coming around my barn every single morning. He never complains and he’s been very patient waiting for an opportunity to ride for the barn.”
Peinado, who is best known as the rider of multiple stakes winner Senor Toby, got a chance in the barn when he piloted Wells’ Forrest Fire to victory in the March 11 Katella Handicap before adding this victory aboard Jess Dapper. Newcomb added that the gelding’s effort earned him an opportunity to run in trials to the PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby (RG3) later this year.
“He had to do well in this race to earn a shot in the Breeders’ Derby,” said Newcomb, as he filled out the stakes payment about 15 minutes after Jess Dapper’s victory. “He’s probably the biggest longshot winner I’ve ever had. I’ve been running horses for about 18 years. This horse is really big and we’ve felt that he needed more distance. He usually breaks okay, but he has trouble getting into his stride so the longer the race the more chance he has to get going.”
David and Ross Hinkins’ Sompin About First earned a spot in his third major stakes race at Los Alamitos following his trial win. The son of First Down Dash was seventh in Kindergarten Futurity (G1) and ninth in the Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) last year. Eloy Navarro saddled the colt, who was piloted by Aceves. The El Primero field will also feature Kobe, the winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, who managed to finish third despite stumbling at the start.
The complete list of qualifiers to the El Primero Del Ano Derby is as follows: New Look (:19.689), Sompin About First (:19.857), One Famous Ferragamo (:19.913), BD Cruiser (:19.916), Willie Dasher (:19.917), Kobe (:19.925), Jess Dapper (:19.927), Our Man David (:19.978), Red Dirt Bono (:19.987) and Long Gone (:20.025).
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