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Owners Have Four in Golden State Derby

Top 3-year-olds to compete in Grade 1 final at Los Alamitos.

August 18, 2012

Owners Gustavo and Jose De La Torre will have four aces – all of the fillies - running in the Grade 1, $236,400 Golden State Derby to be held on Sunday, August 26, at Los Alamitos. The brothers will be strongly represented by trial winners and top two qualifiers Zoomdasher and Do You Do Corona and also by the 9th- and 10th-fastest qualifiers in La Corona Cartel and Last To Check Him.

Trained by Eloy Navarro, the four runners have taken different paths to reach the Grade 1 derby with fastest qualifier Zoomdasher being among the most active of the stablemates in 2012. The daughter of Azoom has made four starts this year and has done extremely well in the process. In addition to winning her Golden State Derby trial by three-quarter lengths in a time of :19.732, she also ran third in the $214,000 La Primera Del Ano Derby (G3) on April 6. The sharp Corona Cartel filly Do You Do Corona was just an impressive in winning her trial, as she outdueled El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) winner New Look by a head while posting the second-fastest time of :19.819.

Corona Cartel is also the sire of La Corona Cartel, who made the final while finishing sixth in her trial and in what was only her fourth career start. Last To Check Him, who ran third in last year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1), made the field after running fourth in her trial race. This was her fourth start of the year.

“Zoomdasher has beaten some nice horses in her career,” said Jose De La Torre. “I felt like she came into this race very fresh and she used that to her advantage. She had not raced since the La Primera and she had a great opportunity to do well in her trial against some tough horses like Last To Fire and Ima Chickie Two. (Two-time Grade 1 futurity finalist) Last To Fire was making his first start of the year and Ima Chickie Two had just raced in the Governor’s Cup Derby (on July 28). I was confident that Zoomdasher had a good chance against these good horses.”

Do You Do Corona had not raced since winning the Susan G. Komen Overnight Handicap at Los Alamitos on September 17. De La Torre was thrilled with her trial winning performance after such a lengthy layoff.

“I’m very excited about her race,” De La Torre added. “We waited on her as a 2-year-old. After she won that handicap race we operated on her. She’s come back ready to run. She’s a promising filly and I really love her future as a runner and broodmare. We feel she has a lot of room to improve and we think she has a big win in her future. La Corona Cartel is a filly that is just starting out her racing career. She was born in May so we started her late during her 2-year-old year. We decided to stop training her to give her time to grow and mature. It’s true that she only finished sixth to qualify to this final, but  I think she’s just starting to believe what she can do a racehorse.”

Last To Check Him came into 2012 with big expectations following her third-place in the Two Million, but in reality the filly went through some tough times due to an illness.

“She hasn’t run the same since the Two Million, but we’re lucky just to have her healthy again,” De La Torre continued. “We were afraid that we were going to lose her. She had a little virus that spiked her temperature, but that turned into a problem in her lungs. Dr. Rick Overly told us to send her to the hospital at San Luis Rey Downs and she stayed there for one month. We are grateful that Dr. Overly figured out what was wrong with her in time. She went through a tough time, but now she’s back and she’s going to try hard. She’s been in big races before and we know that she can perform in big races. We have faith in all four of them.”

The field will be loaded with top level runners. Mimi Wells’ New Look, who finished with the third-fastest time of :19.834, has a ton of big-race experience and a veteran trainer in Dan Francisco on his side, while Ed Allred’s Check My Thoughts, the fourth-fastest qualifier with a time of :19.853, is a stakes winner and a big-time late running machine for trainer Jimmy Glenn.

Delight At Night and Last To Fire were among the most impressive 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos in 2011 and both will now be making their derby final debuts. Owned by Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas, Last To Fire ran second in the Los Alamitos Two Million and third in the Golden State Million Futurity (G1) last year. He is also a half brother to the aforementioned Last To Check Him. Juan Aleman trains both Delight At Night and Last To Fire.

The complete order of qualifiers is as follows: Zoomdasher (:19.732), Do You Do Corona (:19.819), New Look (:19.834), Check My Thoughts (:19.853), Bd Cruiser (:19.886), Delight At Night (:19.905), Last To Fire (:19.925), Eye For FDD (:20.032), La Corona Cartel (:20.084) and Last To Check Him (:20.178).