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Willis Armed for Leo

Trainer Eddie Willis has a full hand in the Leo.

Q-Racing Journal
March 28, 2013

Trainer Eddie D. Willis is well armed for the $100,000 Leo Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Remington Park when he sends out the trio of Priceless Feature, Jess Lips and A Toss Up.

The $50,000 Decketta Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares is the race before the Leo Stakes and features the morning-line favored entry of Candy Cartel and Send Candy Power.

Ed Melzer’s Priceless Feature (Feature Mr Jess-Southern Price by Corona Cartel) won last year’s Heritage Place Derby (G2) by a head and has since come close to the win in Grade 1 stakes. The gelding held the lead in the Rainbow Derby (G1) until the final few strides when champion Ochoa caught him and gained the head victory. In his final 2012 start and his most recent race of October 6, he finished third while facing older horses in the Refrigerator Handicap (G1).

Samuel Valeriano’s Jess Lips (Mr Jess Perry-Loose Lips by First Down Dash) was a close third in last summer’s Rainbow Derby behind Ochoa and Priceless Feature. He is making his first appearance since a troubled fifth-place run in the Dash For Cash Derby (G2) as the 8-5 favorite back in September.

James Sills and Abel Flores’ A Toss Up (Sweet First Down-Shake Cartel by Corona Cartel) had an excellent 2012 campaign at Remington Park and was recently fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the Eastex Handicap. (G2) A year ago, he won the Eastex Handicap (G2), $246,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby and then took the Sooner State Stakes (RG1). He has three wins and two seconds from eight Remington Park starts.

Also in the deep Leo Stakes is Texas Classic Derby (G1) winner The Long Knife (Tac It Like A Man-Oodles Of Cash by Hooked On Cash), recent West Texas Maturity runner-up Jess Cuervo (Corona Cartel-Jessica Ravin by Mr Jess Perry), last year’s Oklahoma Derby winner Cruzin The Wagon (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Penelope Cruzin by Okey Dokey Dale), champion First Klas Fred (Fredricksburg-She Flies First Klas by Strawfly Special) and Eastex runner-up Eufaula Me (Okey Dokey Dale-Yawls Spreadn Rumors by Serious Rumors).

The field for the Leo, by post and program number order, with trainer, jockey and morning-line odds:

1.            Eufaula Me, Brent Clay, Stormy Smith, 8-1
2.            Honor Me Good, Brandon Muniz, Roman Chapa, 8-1
3.            A Toss Up, Eddie Willis, Jimmy Brooks, 6-1
4.            Jess Lips, Eddie Willis, David Pinon, 4-1
5.            First Klas Fred, Toby Keeton, Cody Jensen, 20-1
6.            The Long Knife, “Sleepy” Gilbreath, G.R. Carter, 5-1
7.            Jess Cuervo, Victor Rodriguez, Oscar Rincon, 6-1
8.            BPs Jumpin Frisco, Brian Muse, Francisco Ramirez, Jr., 20-1
9.            First In Class DBS, Luis Villafranco, Roy Baldillez, 20-1
10.          Priceless Feature, Eddie Willis, Andrew Samaniego, 3-1

Candy Cartel (Corona Cartel-This Candys Special by Strawfly Special) and Send The Candy Power (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Eye On The Candy by Mr Eye Opener) form a strong entry for owner-breeder Carl Pevehouse and trainer Clinton Crawford in the Decketta.

The defending winner of the Decketta, Candy Cartel went on last year to finish a close second in the Sooner State Stakes behind A Toss Up and posted back-to-back wins in the Belle Stakes at Fair Meadows and the Lubbock Stakes at Zia Park.

Send The Candy Power is making her first appearance since scoring her first stakes win in the Fort Erie Derby as the 2-5 favorite on October 17. She was also beaten by just a nose when she was a head-bobbing second in the Charlie Claborn Stakes at Will Rogers Downs.

Dr. Francis Glowacki and L97 Trust’s homebred Black Rosalita (Sweet First Down-Poneta by Tolltac) should be in prime form for trainer Luz Chavira. She returned from a three-month breather to finish a late charging second in a $27,000 allowance race on March 8.

The Leo Stakes will be the 11th of 12 races on Saturday night, going at approximately 10:20 p.m. The Grade 3, $50,000 Decketta Stakes for fillies and mares supports the Leo as race 10 on the program. The Saturday races will begin at 6 p.m. All times are central.