Personal Mission Scores in 'Pepper'

Texas-bred earns second stakes victory of the year at Los Alamitos.

September 10, 2012

Jose Beltran and Guadalupe Gonzalez’s Personal Mission picked up his second stakes victory of the season following a hard-fought neck victory over Thinkrich N Royal in the $25,000 Sgt Pepper Feature Handicap on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Back in the barn of trainer Mario Loza, Personal Mission won the Huntington Beach Handicap at Los Alamitos in February. He followed that win with a trial victory for the AQRA President’s Open Spring Derby at Turf Paradise before enduring a troubled trip that saw him get moved up from fifth to third following a disqualification in the final. Back at Los Alamitos in time for the Vandy’s Flash Handicap, Personal Mission could only deliver a fifth-place finish to A Mere Dynasty.

Things didn’t look too promising for the colt sired by Special Leader early on in the Sgt Pepper Feature. Ridden by Santiago Mendez, Personal Mission was third at the start while Thinkrich N Royal flew out of the gate from the outside post eight. Personal Mission turned it on after the midway point of the 350-yard race and quickly made up a half-length disadvantage to score his seventh win in 12 career starts. Bred in Texas by Joe Kirk Fulton, Personal Mission covered the distance in :17.433 while using a flipping halter for the first time. The 3-year-old colt earned $13,750 for the win to take his lifetime earnings to $43,908.

Personal Mission’s sire, world champion Special Leader, was euthanized on August 29 due to declining health. The 25-year-old stallion was bred and owned by Fulton of Lubbock, Texas. Special Leader won 18 races, including the 1991 Champion of Champions. He beat a field that included two-time world champion Refrigerator and six other AQHA champions. Special Leader was the 1991 world champion, champion aged horse and champion aged stallion.

Felix A. Gonzalez’s Thinkrich N Royal earned $5,625 for running second while Mesa Valley Farms’ Fols Jesse made $3,125 for running third. Does She Ever, Letty Bail Regis Out, Ivlis and Bellagio Babe completed the field.