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Winter Championship Trials Have Grade 1 Flavor

Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials filled with champions.

Q-Racing Journal
January 25, 2013

Champions Rylees Boy, Cold Cash 123 and Jess You And I give the two trials to the $200,000 Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1) on Sunday night the quality of a pair of Grade 1 races.

The horses with the 10-fastest times qualify for the 400-yard Winter Championship on February 17. The Winter Championship winner receives the year’s first invitation to the Champion of Champions (G1) in December.

The first trial provides a matchup of Rylees Boy with El Aguila Real.

Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy (Heza Motor Scooter-Pipistrelle by Rocky Jones) rallied to catch Flame N Flash to win the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) by a head on December 15. He was rewarded as the champion aged horse and champion aged gelding. It was the second-straight year he was named the champion aged gelding.

A winner of 21 of 43 starts, with earnings of $1,321,166, Rylees Boy joined the Paul Jones stable last summer and in his first Los Alamitos start, was unable to show anything in the $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap (G1) when he was repeatedly bumped and steadied. He came back at Prairie Meadows for Jones to win the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) by a half length over Llano Teller and earn his berth in the Champion of Champions.

Javier Molina’s El Aguila Real (Corona Czech-I Am All That by Lanes Leinster) started a three-race winning streak when he won last year’s Winter Championship at 10-1 odds. That winning streak concluded with his victory in the $200,000 Vessels Maturity (G1).

El Aguila Real returned last fall to finish a very close second behind Chivalry SR in the $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship (G1) and was a troubled sixth in the Champion of Champions at 4-1 odds.

In the second trial, 2011 world champion Cold Cash 123 meets the class-filled veteran Jess You And I and the recently named champion 3-year-old colt Hez Our Secret.

T-Bill Stables’ homebred Cold Cash 123 (Oak Tree Special-Hot Cash 123 by Takin On The Cash) had a throw-out race in the Champion of Champions when he broke slowly and then lacked racing room. The gelding finished eighth as the 19-10 favorite. He earned that favoritism after winning the Go Man Go Handicap (G1) and finishing a close third in the Los Alamitos Championship (G1) in his only other starts at Los Alamitos for trainer Denny Ekins.

Earlier last year at Remington Park, he won the Leo Stakes (G1) and the Remington Park Invitational Handicap (G1) for then-trainer Sleepy Gilbreath.

Cold Cash 123, a $12,000 supplement to the Winter Championship, was named the 2011 world champion under Gilbreath’s care. During his world championship campaign, he scored Grade 1 wins in the Rainbow Derby, Texas Classic Derby and Championship at Sunland Park.

Cold Cash 123 has earned $1,270,281 with 12 wins from 19 starts.

Jones sends out the Double Bar S Ranch’s venerable champion Jess You And I (Feature Mr Jess-Gold Daze by Tolltac), winner of the 2009 edition of the Winter Championship. He was also third in the 2010 and 2011 runnings, and crossed the finish line in fourth place last year before being disqualified and placed seventh.

Jess You And I has earned $1,843,489, with 19 wins from 40 starts.

Johnny Trotter’s Hez Our Secret (First Down Dash-Secret Separation by Separatist) earned his championship with consistency at the elite derby level. The Trey Wood-trained colt was second in the $2,235,000 All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs and then second in the $948,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1), the two richest derbies held in 2012. He then raced to a fourth-place finish in the Champion of Champions.