Chivalry SR Upsets Los Al Invitational

World champion Cold Cash 123 runs third in $150,000 stakes.

October 29, 2012

Most Quarter Horse racing pundits figured that the numbers 1-2-3 would figure prominently in the running of the $150,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship (G1) on Sunday night. But those numbers, they likely thought, would be in connection with the impressive world champion Cold Cash 123, who after scoring in the Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap at Los Alamitos on September 23 was made the heavy 2-5 favorite in Robert Boniface.

Immediately after the running of the 440-yard race, the infield tote board brightly flashed the numbers 1-2-3, but that was only in part because of the world champion. Instead, the “1” on board was due to Stern Ranches’ homebred Chivalry SR, who after leaving the gate from post number one defeated two-time Grade 1 winner El Aguila Real, who had left the gate from post number two, and also Cold Cash 123, who had to settle for third after sailing away from post number three. Chivalry Sr, El Aguila Real and Cold Cash 123 - that was the 1-2-3 finish in the Robert Boniface.

The narrow head victory at nearly 7-1 odds gives Chivalry SR a return berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions (G1) to be held on Saturday, December 15, at Los Alamitos. The gelded son of Walk Thru Fire was third to champion Good Reason SA in last year’s Champion of Champions and a strong case can be made that he’s an even better horse this year. Chivalry SR ran six times against Grade 1 competition prior to the 2011 Champion of Champions. He’s had a less demanding campaign this year, as he waited until the Go Man Go to make his 2012 debut. After finishing sixth to Cold Cash 123 in the Go Man Go, Chivalry SR flew out of the gate to take the early lead and he never lost his advantage with jockey Cruz Mendez in the irons. Trained by Jose Flores, the reigning 400-yard track record holder earned $75,000 for the win to take his career earnings to $317,856.

“I thought he did extremely well last year because he ran in seven stakes races and was first, second or third in every one of those races,” said owner Albert Stern. “He also set a track record and after such a busy campaign he had minor clean up surgery. Dr. Wayne McIlwraith performed the surgery. We also did stem cell surgery in his knee. He probably needed the race in the Go Man Go. We didn’t have any social plans for December 15 so we’ll be here for the Champion of Champions.”

Stern, a world renown violin grandmaster, left a fundraising party that he was hosting at his home in Malibu in order to witness Chivalry SR’s return to the top.

“We had about 250 people there,” he said. “I gave a concert recital tonight and it was starting to get late. One of the requests was the ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ and I think I set a world record for fastest playing of that song so that I could rush to make it here.”

Stern is currently working on a project with the legendary Willie Nelson. The versatile violin grandmaster has even worked with will.i.am. of the popular hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas. On Sunday night, nothing sounded more beautiful to Stern than the winning tune played by Chivalry SR.

“I am delighted,” he said. “I knew he still had it in him. He likes to run either on the inside or the outside. He is hard to catch when he can break like he did tonight. To run 440 yards is a lot to ask from him, but he came out and got the job done tonight. He’s very special to us. We own his mother (Artesias Beduino) and we raised him and own his full sister. We are set for the future. His mother is from one of the best families in Quarter Horse racing and her mother was the (1998 AQHA Champion Broodmare).”

Chivalry SR covered the quarter-mile distance in :21.519.

“He’s a great horse,” added Flores, who saddled him for the first time after the horse arrived from the barn of trainer Juan Aleman. “Thinking about this race this morning I knew that the number two and three horses would be tough. You can’t take anything away from stars like El Aguila Real and Cold Cash 123, but this horse is also of high quality. He ran third in the Champion of Champions and he needed an out on the night of the Go Man Go. We got lucky tonight, but great horses usually get lucky.”

Owned by Javier Molina, El Aguila Real earned $25,500 for his second-place finish. The gelded son of Corona Czech entered this race looking for his third Grade 1 victory at Los Alamitos after taking the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship.

“He ran well, but we were facing some very tough horses,” trainer Francisco Vallejo said. “Now we’ll just wait until the Champion of Champions. He had not raced since the Vessels Maturity on July 8 so maybe he needed the race. He was going 440 yards for the first time as well. We’ll probably give him some time off now and about three weeks before the Champion of Champions we’ll really start training him up again.”

T Bill Stables Inc.’s Cold Cash 123 suffered his first loss in seven starts since September 2011. The gelding by Oak Tree Special earned $15,000 to take his career bankroll to $1,255,281. Ridden by Roy Baldillez and saddled by Denny Ekins, Cold Cash 123 will now wait for the running of the Champion of Champions.

“They beat us away from the gate and Cold Cash couldn’t catch them,” Ekins said. “Cold Cash ran really hard at the end, but Chivalry SR is an excellent horse. We knew that El Aguila Real would speed away from the gate and we were concerned about that. They just outbroke him away from there.”

Mauro Eli Zaborowsky’s Thisfeatureisspecial, runner-up in the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1) in her last start, finished fourth and was followed across the wire by Sparky E Boy, Personal Mission, Storm Feet and Costly Man.

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The field for the $750,000 Champion of Champions now reads as follows: Cold Cash 123 (Remington Park Championship and Go Man Go Handicap wins), El Aguila Read (Los Alamitos Winter Championship and Vessels Maturity), Rylees Boy (Bank of America Challenge Championship), Charal Kid (Refrigerator Handicap), Flame N Flash (Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap) and now Chivalry SR (Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship). The Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) on November 3 will award the final automatic starting berth to the Champion of Champions. The rest of the field will be determined in the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trials on Saturday, November 24. In the meantime, Bank of America Challenge Championship winner Rylees Boy is scheduled to arrive via FedEx Air to California on Monday according to trainer Paul Jones.

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Robert Williams’ Flame N Flash will headline the $1,000,000 Super Derby on Saturday, November 3. His rivals include Governor’s Cup Derby winner Terrific Synergy and Golden State Derby winner Check My Thoughts.

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San Gregorio Racing Stables and Jose and Gustavo De La Torre’s brilliant colt One Dashing Eagle will highlight the $1,118,000 Golden State Million Futurity (G1) on Sunday. One Dashing Eagle will look to become the first Quarter Horse to win three $1 million-dollar races.