High School Secrets Wins James Smith

Gelding remains perfect with rider Cesar De Alba at Los Alamitos.

April 15, 2013

James Azevedo and Boyles Family Trust’s High School Secrets rallied from a troubled start to score a neck victory in the $20,000 James Smith Memorial Handicap at 350 yards on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Now a perfect three-for-three with jockey Cesar De Alba aboard, the Paul Jones-trained High School Secrets was sixth in the early going before recovering to finish strongly. A finalist in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby in his previous start, High School Secrets covered the 350 yards in :17.568 while posting his fourth win in 12 career starts. High School Secrets earned $11,000 for the win to take his career earnings to $61,641.

“We haven’t won a (trophy) in a long time so this feels good,” Azevedo said. “The last stakes race we won probably came with Finding Nemo, and that was a while back. I’m glad to see this horse run well. He’s qualified to a couple of stakes races and it’s great to see him cross the finish line first. He got hit coming out of the gate, but he came back strong. Cesar De Alba has done great with this horse. Our other horse (Bullet In The Gun) was ridden by Ramon Sanchez and I’ll take both of those jockeys any day of the week.”

High School Secrets was named by the Azevedos’ son, Dane, who is a junior in high school.

“He took the names of the sire No Secrets Here and the dam Summertime High and came up with High School Secrets,” Azevedo added.

Angel Villalobos’ French Fury finished nicely from along the rail to move up from third to second in the final half of the race. French Fury, who also ran second in the Buena Park Handicap in his previous start, earned $4,500 for his runner-up effort. Alvin Cross Child’s Ric Oh Shay, a winner in his last three outings, earned $2,500 for finishing third.

The Azevedos and Boyles Family Trust started the aforementioned sixth place finisher Bullet In The Gun in this race in partnership with trainer Paul Jones.

“Neither horse got a good break,” Jones said. “Bullet In The Gun got squeezed at the start and didn’t have much chance to run and High School Secrets also had trouble, but room opened up for him and he made a big run. Cesar had ridden both of these horses before and he made the right choice in riding High School Secrets in this race.”

The complete order of finish is as follows: High School Secrets, French Fury, Ric Oh Shay, RM Looking For Fame, Secretly Famous, Bullet In The Gun, Corona Cade, Thrifty and Stel Redneck.


The James Smith Memorial Handicap is named in honor of the long time Vice-President and General Manager of the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association that conducted a winter meeting at Los Alamitos Race Course during the 1980s and early ’90s. Smith was an integral figure in bringing Thoroughbred racing to Los Alamitos in the mid-90s.

“Jim Smith was an eclectic man, a cultured man,” said Ed Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos Race Course. “Jim worked for a hockey team and had a good friend that worked for Hollywood Park. He came to California and was hired to work at Los Alamitos Race Course by Robert L. Boniface, who was the president of the HQHRA. Jim worked as general manager here and also during the seasons that we raced Quarter Horses at Bay Meadows.”

“Jim had a great academic background and he was great at doing promotions,” Allred added. “He was the president of the Federation of California Racetracks and he was well liked and very respected. When I began running the company, I made him our director of governmental relations. Jim was very effective in Sacramento. Los Alamitos has Thoroughbred racing today because of Jim Smith. The legislation to allow Thoroughbreds to race here would have never passed if it wasn’t for him. I keep a photograph of Jim Smith on my desk and will always do so.”

There was a rare triple dead-heat for second place in the fourth race on Sunday at Los Alamitos. Luis Nunez’s Runaway Corky won the $14,800 Quarter Horse race at 350 yards but the photo finish could not separate A Mere Dynasty, Ronsepi and Rush Of Fire to determine a second-place finisher. As a result of the triple dead heat there were three different exacta payouts, six different trifecta payouts and six different superfecta payouts. Runaway Corky covered the distance in :17.471. The gelded son of Ocean Runaway has won five of his last six starts.

The racing action featuring 2-year-old Quarter Horses continued at Los Alamitos on Sunday night with a pair of 300-yard races. Sent off as the even money favorite, Flying L Ranch’s Flying Top Fueler won the sixth race by three-quarter lengths in a time of :15.69 for trainer Paul Jones and jockey Ramon Sanchez. Bred by Patricia Visscher, Flying Top Fueler is a colt by Walk Thru Fire out of Enjoy The Moment. Enjoy The Moment won the 2004 Miss Princess Handicap, California Breeders’ Matron Stakes and Las Damas Handicap at Los Alamitos. Jose A. Flores’ El Payo finished second while Ed Allred’s Free Thought was third. Flores’ Glitter In My Face was a solid daylight winner in the eighth race for 2-year-old fillies after leading wire to wire. The filly by Special Cartel covered the distance in :15.81. Bred by E/S Stables Inc., Glitter In My Face’s mother is Granny Janny, who won seven of 38 starts while banking $74,167 in her lifetime. Granny Janny finished in the top three a total of 23 times in her career. Cruz Mendez piloted Glitter In Face. Jaime Gomez’ She Pays Dividens finished second with Francisco Aguilar’s Sport Of Lady running third.