Two Million Futurity on Sunday

Los Alamitos 2 Million Futurity at Los Alamitos is a wide-open affair.

December 14, 2012

Los Alamitos

The running of California's richest Quarter Horse race -- the $2,108,275 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) -- will consist of around 20 seconds of heart-pounding excitement as 10 of the nation's top 2-year-olds will square off in the 400 yard race. And with $850,196 of the purse going to the winner it means that the first place finisher will earn nearly $43,000 per second of work during the Two Million or about the same amount of money that Los Angeles Angels-bound outfielder Josh Hamilton will earn per at bat next season.

With a lot of dough at stakes, the field to the Los Alamitos Two Million is one of the most wide open races in the event's history. While there are no stakes winners in the group, the field features several horses that have performed well in some of the nation's most important races.

Jimmy and Marilyn Harrell's Aha Moment finished third in the All American Futurity (G1) on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs and was an impressive trial winner to the Two Million while the Estate of Kim Kessinger's Seperate Interest finished second to All American winner One Dashing Eagle in the Golden State Million Futurity (G1) at Los Alamitos and was a daylight winner in his trial. The field will also feature Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) runner-up Fires Blazin, PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (G2) third place finisher Far Niente and Dah For Cash Futurity (G1) third place finisher The August Heat.

While the aforementioned horses have done well with the big money on the line, some of the most impressive performers on Two Million trial night were runners that will be making a stakes debut in the Los Alamitos Two Million. Jose and Gustavo De La Torre's Freedom Choice posted the fastest qualifying time following a 2 ¼ length trial victory while Matabari was a 1 1/2-length winner in her trial. Matabari had finished third in her previous two trial races, but she was all business when leaving the gate sharply from post seven in her trial. She will now start from post No. 8 on Two Million night with jockey Cruz Mendez aboard.

Freedom Choice, a son of Los Alamitos Million winner A Regal Choice and out of the Grade 1 stakes winning mare Five Bar Molly, was scheduled to run in the Ed Burke Million, but a tibia problem kept him from making the race. The colt returned with an easy qualifying effort and now gets the services of jockey G.R. Carter Jr. Freedom Choice will start from post one and has been made the morning line favorite at 5-2 odds. Gustavo De La Torre is also the owner of the 20-1 longshot Lavish Susan in this race.

James Sills and Ed Melzer's Somethin Like This will start from the spot selected first by trainer Jaime Gomez during Wednesday's post position show. His connections had the first pick during the special selection of post positions to this race and Gomez went with the outside post number nine for the son of champion Carters Cartel. Somethin Like This had troubled trip when running fourth in his trial to the Two Million, but he still qualified to the race with the 10th fastest time and was a solid neck winner in his All American Futurity trial on August 16. He was also a daylight winner in a trial to the Rainbow Futurity, both of those starts for trainer Eddie Willis.

Gomez, who won this race in 1996 with Corona Cartel will also saddle the impressive The August Heat, who worked 220 yards in a sizzling fast :11.90 here on November 10 before following up with a great looking 1 1/4 length trial win with Rodrigo Aceves aboard. Racing for Bobby Cox, The August Heat is a gelding by Corona Cartel, who has sired at least one qualifier to Los Alamitos’ richest race every year since his first crop in 2001. He sired the winners Blues Girl Too in 2006 and I Like The Odds last year. The August Heat’s odds are 4-1.

The sentimental pick is the 10-1 choice Seperate Interest, who races for the family of Kim Kessinger, who passed away in an accident earlier this year.

Vessels Stallion Farm is once again proudly represented in the Two Million. With Tom Atwood, Vessels will race Far Niente, who is a son of the farm’s talented young stallion FDD Dynasty, while Aha Moment is a colt by 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here, who also stands at Vessels. Trained by Paul Jones, Aha Moment is 4-1 on the morning line and has never finished worse than third in six career starts.

Hector Hernandez’s Commando Tres Seis is undefeated in three starts, but he had to post a workout on December 9 in order to get out of the veterinarian’s list after bleeding during his trial win. He won his heat by nearly two lengths.

Arnold Gonzalez’s Fires Blazin will enter the trials as the only horse to qualify to all three of the million dollar futurities held at Los Alamitos. The Walk Thru Fire gelding ran a great race against One Dashing Eagle in the Ed Burke, but lugged in when fifth in the Golden State Million. He was a strong second to Far Niente in the Two Million trials.

Balgo Racing Team and Marlyn Gonzalez’s Matabari will be ridden by the meet’s leading pilot Cruz Mendez. Commando Tres Seis, Fires Blazin and Matabari are all trained by Jose Flores. 

The qualifiers are great examples of mare power. Among the mares who produced qualifiers:

  • Five Bar Molly (dam of fastest qualifier Freedom Choice): An earner of $187,109 in her career, which included her winning the prestigious Vessels Maturity (G1) at the age of 9, who also produced stakes winner and Grade 1 finalist Fly Bar Special ($110,787) and former Two Million qualifier Mollys Cartel ($150,163).
  • Jess Genuine (dam of The August Heat): A Grade 1-winning earner of $195,175 who is the dam of a Grade 1-placed Oceanik ($151,143).
  • Hold Me Now (dam of Matabari): A Restricted Grade 2 winner and earner of $109,005.
  • Shahayla (dam of Far Niente): A Grade 2 winner and earner of $65,870 who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Finding Nemo ($719,544).
  • A Delightful Legacy (dam of Separate Interest): Stakes winner and Grade 1 finalist with earnings of $179,153, who also is the dam of champion Inseperable ($672,756), Grade 1-placed Jess Before Dawn ($152,328) and Separate Interest ($189,150), and Grade 1-finalist Teller No Lies ($103,932).
  • Thrill And Grace (dam of Aha Moment): Grade 2 winner and earner of $142,178, who has produced four starters, each a winner. Aha Moment is her third foal with earnings of $193,805.
  • Thatsa Blazin Chick (dam of Fires Blazin): Stakes winner and earner of $133,011, who is the dam of two stakes winners and Fires Blazin, who has earned $242,180.
  • Dividends Declared (dam of Somthin Like This): Restricted Grade 1-placed earner of $93,160, who is the dam of Grade 1 winner High Rate Of Return ($456,010).
Of note for this year’s field:

*The qualifiers enter the race with $800,440 in cumulative earnings. None of the qualifiers have yet won a stakes, though five of the qualifiers are Grade 1 finalists and four of those are Grade 1-placed, while another qualifier is Grade 2-placed.  

*Trainers Jose Antonio Flores (three), Jose De La Torre (two), Jaime Gomez (two) have multiple entries.

*Two of the horses are homebreds: The August Heat (Bobby D. Cox) and Commando Tres Seis (Hector Hernandez).

* Separatist is the only stallion to have more than one qualifier (he has two). Sires Carters Cartel and No Secrets Here are both freshman sires.