April 8, 2012
Owner Mimi Wells was already enjoying a good racing week as her charges New Look and Willie Dasher headed into the $180,320 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) for 3-year-old colts and geldings on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Four of her 2-year-old Quarter Horses had already posted solid efforts on Friday night, highlighted by Chics On Fire winning the first race for 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos and Kool Baby scoring the fastest qualifying time to the AQRA President’s Open Spring Futurity at Turf Paradise. Her 3-year-old boys went a step further to make sure that this would be an unforgettable week for Wells.
Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves for trainer Dan Francisco, New Look ran a perfect race en route to convincing half-length victory over the talented Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner Kobe in the El Primero Del Ano. Willie Dasher finished third to give the owner a 1-3 finish in the Grade 2 derby. New Look was sent off as the 6-5 favorite, while Kobe was the second choice in the wagering at 7-5. Willie Dasher, meanwhile, was the surprise package at 30-1 odds. New Look covered the 400-yard distance in :19.816 to improve his career record to four wins in 11 starts.
“The only reason I bought New Look at the 2010 Los Alamitos Equine Sale is because otherwise I wouldn’t have had a Walk Thru Fire baby running last year,” Wells said. “We went to the sale and bought him for $28,000.”
Bred by Ed Allred, New Look has been an excellent purchase to say the least. With earnings of $77,280 in the El Primero, the gelding has now finished in the money eight times and his career and his bankroll now stands at $99,995. His win was also the richest for Wells since her champion gelding Chicks First Policy won the $90,500 California Sires’ Cup Derby (RG2) twelve years ago. New Look is the sixth stakes winner campaigned by the owner, joining the likes of Chicks First Policy, No Pet Peeves, Forrest Fire, Chicks Tell and Getit Together in this group.
“What a wonderful weekend,” Wells said. “We’ve had our bad weeks in this game, but we have been able to keep going. To have a week like this one, the feeling is unbelievable.”
Wells was awarded the Frank Vessels Sr. Memorial Award in 2000 in appreciation for her outstanding contributions to the sport of Quarter Horse racing. Since 1997, she has started 938 Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos and won 120 of those races. Her champion Chicks First Policy won the Sires Cup Derby and also a division of the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Stakes (G3) in 2000 before running fifth in that year’s Champion of Champions (G1) with Jacky Martin in the irons. Chicks First Policy ran second to Separatist in three other derbies that year.
“After Separatist retired to stud I started breeding to him,” Wells said. “Now I’m part of the syndicates of Walk Thru Fire, Foose and Stel Corona.”
New Look appears to be a future superstar. A winner of four of his last five starts, he posted the fastest qualifying time to the El Primero and also the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes.
“We figured out that if you can get him comfortable in the gate that he will pay attention,” Francisco said. “Danny Cardoza used to tell the headers in the gate to grab the horse like a baby bird. He used to say that about St. Willa (the 1987 champion aged mare) and that’s how this horse needs to be treated in the gate. We’ll give him a little rest and the Governor’s Cup Derby trials will be next.”
The owner and trainer have teamed up for quite some time now and their years of resilient work together are paying off.
“We’ve worked hard to put together a good group of broodmares for Mimi,” Francisco said.
Also saddled by Francisco and ridden by Cesar De Alba, Willie Dasher earned $22,080 for finishing third. The Separatist gelding has finished third in each of his last three starts and for his career he has been in the top three in nine of 14 outings.
“I’m so happy for Willie Dasher,” said Wells of her homebred. “I was just watching New Look during the running of the race. My daughter-in-law is the one that told me that he had run third. I just can’t believe this right now.”
Mark and Mary Parson’s Kobe broke a couple of steps behind New Look and could never make up the deficit. He is took home $31,280 for his second-place finish for trainer Paul Jones and jockey Cody Jensen.
“My horse never made a mistake,” Jensen said. “New Look was quicker than us. New Look is just exceptional away from the gate. That’s where he won the race. The last 100 I just couldn’t get closer to him.”
Red Dirt Bono finished fourth and was followed across the wire by Sompin About First, One Famous Ferragamo, Our Man David and Jess Dapper. BD Cruiser was scratched.
Ed Allred bred the winners of this year’s El Primero Del Ano Derby and La Primera Del Ano Derby (G3). The 12-time champion breeder sold both derby winners at the 2010 Los Alamitos Equine Sale. La Primera winner Flame N Flash was purchased for $90,000, while El Primero winner New Look sold for the aforementioned price of $28,000. Walk Thru Fire sired both winners.
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