February 5, 2012
Mimi Wells’ New Look has been outstanding since enjoying some time off in the autumn of 2011, as the gelded son of Walk Thru Fire posted his second victory in a row since returning from vacation, his latest one resulting in the fastest qualifying time to the $151,750 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday night. Because of the conditions of the race, it is not recognized as an official stakes by AQHA.
Trained by Dan Francisco and ridden by Rodrigo Aceves, New Look beat Ed Allred’s Kool Million by a half-length while covering the 350 yards in :17.500. Kool Million finished as the second-fastest qualifier with a time of :17.600. A record total of 61 horses competed in the seven trials to the richest final in the history of the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes. Led by New Look and Kool Million, the horses with the 10 fastest times will return here for the final on Sunday, February 26.
New Look started six times from May 14 through August 26 of last year, finishing third or better in four of those outings. In his final August start, he ran a troubled fifth in the $40,000 John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge, leading his connections to the decision of giving him some time off. The gelding returned in late November with an easy 220-yard turn and work before returning to the track with an impressive three-quarter length maiden victory on December 17. Francisco gave New Look one more gate work on January 14 and the gelding responded with a good looking workout at 350 yards. He was all business once again in his maiden trial, as he broke on top and always held a clear advantage.
Wells purchased New Look for $28,000 at the 2010 Los Alamitos Equine Sale from the consignment of the 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 AQHA Champion Catchmeinyourdreams.
Allred’s Kool Million enjoyed a winning debut on December 30 when he scored a neck victory at 300 yards. The son of Bono Jazz came out of the gate a few steps behind New Look, but he kept to his task to post a solid clocking. Cruz Mendez rode Kool Million for trainer Jose Flores. Allred, Flores and Mendez joined forces later on with the Bono Jazz filly Bawdy to win the sixth trial of the night in the third-fastest qualifying time of :17.669. The filly, who did not race until December 11 of her 2-year-old campaign, has hit the board in all three of her career starts.
Howard Nichols’ Oceanik came into the night still a maiden, but with a trial’s best $134,090 in earnings thanks to his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity last June. By the time the night was done, Oceanik had scored his maiden victory while also earning a spot in the Maiden final after posting the fourth-fastest qualifying time. With Saul Ramirez Jr. in the irons for trainer Joe Bassett, Oceanik scored a hard-fought head victory over Ovidio Ferreira’s Chicks Boudro to earn his first victory in eight starts. Oceanik, Chicks Boudro, Deleyco Racing Team’s One Famous Ferragamo and Allred’s Warm Form all qualified out of these trials.
“I’m happy that he won a race, but I’m happiest that he qualified to the final,” Nichols said. “We needed this after I Like The Odds.”
Nichols and partners Kim Kessinger and Tom Bradbury campaigned the 2011 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) winner I Like To Odds before the gelding passed away earlier this year after battling laminitis.
“Oceanik did a good job tonight,” Nichols added. “He’s a very laid back horse and I would love to see him act more enthused, but that’s just the way he is. He hadn’t run since the Two Million trials last November so he needed this race.”
“He needed to feel what it’s like to be in the winner’s circle,” Bassett added. “He is a real quiet horse and in the mornings during workouts he really doesn’t put too much effort at all. The effort he shows is what we have to make him do. If it was up to him, he would just relax by his stall, take it easy and eat. He’s still a colt and we haven’t gelded him because we have no reason to do it.”
Theo, Dollo and Tiago Trevisani’s Jennifers Challenge broke her maiden in her 10th career start while also qualifying to the Maiden Stakes final. Jennifers Challenge had previously finished second in eight of her previous nine starts. That included runner-up efforts in both the $30,000 Ed Burke Memorial Juvenile Stakes (R) and the $35,000 Los Alamitos Juvenile Invitational Stakes (R). Paul Jones saddled Jennifers Challenge.
The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: New Look (:17.500), Kool Million (:17.602), Bawdy (:17.669), Oceanik (:17.672), Chicks Boudro (:17.694), One Famous Ferragamo (:17.710), Jennifers Challenge (:17.716), Warm Form (:17.720), Tabasco Special Dash (:17.732) and First Element (:17.742).
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