Remembering Spence Tops Winter Derby Trials

Qualifiers set to come back on February 16 for final at Los Alamitos.

January 27, 2013

The red hot connections of jockey Francisco Rubio and trainer Arnoldo Pulido and jockey Cesar De Alba and trainer Paul Jones dominated the 400 yard trials to the third-richest running ever of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Saturday at Los Alamitos. Rubio and Pulido combined to win two of the six trials contested on the night, while De Alba and Jones joined forces to win three of the trials. Each of their trial winners qualified to the $232,650 derby final to be held on Saturday, February 16.

Rubio piloted Francisco Gumaz’s Remembering Spence to the most impressive win of the night, as the Ed Allred-bred runner won his trial by 1 ½ lengths while posting the fastest qualifying time of the night of :19.742 over a wet fast track. The son of TR Dasher was making his first start since running third to Secretly Hot in the Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) on July 28. Remembering Spence, who is named in honor of Allred’s great friend and mentor Spencer L. Childers, has raced six times in his career and has finished in the money every time. His previous wins included an impressive maiden effort last May and a half-length victory in the Ed Burke Memorial Stakes (R).

“He had been resting since the Governor’s Cup and he was gelded during that time,” Rubio said. “I worked at 350 yards (on January 8) and he did great. He was training super coming into this race and he broke perfectly out of the gate. I was thrilled with everything about his race.”

After winning the first of six trials with Remembering Spence, Rubio and Pulido finished the night in the winner’s circle in the final trial with Robert Williams’ Perrys Affair. The gelding by Mr Jess Perry scored a half-length victory over Golden State Million Futurity (G1) finalist Gold Flames On Fire and his winning time of :19.949 was the third-fastest of the night and it came after the track surface had been changed from wet fast to good by the racing stewards. Perrys Affair had been hampered with trouble in each of his previous four starts, but he avoided major issues this time around and finished powerfully to earn his maiden victory. Remembering Spence and Perrys Affair are both graduates of the 2011 Los Alamitos Equine Sale.

De Alba and Jones put on a show from the third to the fifth trial. Their wins came with Creole Williams, who finished as the second-fastest qualifier with a time of :19.947, High School Secrets, who held off PCQHRA champion 2-year-old gelding Fires Blazin, and Jabuti Eagle SA, who put on a show with a 1 ¾-length victory in the fifth trial. James Azevedo and Boyles Family Trust’s High School Secret finished with the fourth-fastest time of :20.012 while Jabuti Eagle SA had the eighth-fastest time of :20.070. All three of these wins came over a good track.

“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” said Jones, the 2012 AQHA and PCQHRA Champion Trainer. “Creole Williams didn’t break at all, but he was impressive at the end of the race. Jabuti Eagle SA ran a great race. He loved it out there.”

Jones also qualified Tony Doughtie’s Stel My Corona, the winner of the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity (G2) last year. Stel My Corona finished second in his trial to fastest qualifier Remembering Spence with the fifth fastest time of :20.021.

“Stel My Corona ran a pretty good race, but the winner of that trial was awfully good. I was very impressed with Remembering Spence,” Jones added.

Stel My Corona came into this race after finishing second to Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) runner-up The August Heat in the trials to the Two Million. Stel My Corona is a son of Stel Corona, who also sired 10th-fastest qualifier and trial winner Buy Buy.

Owned by Kolleen Ledgerwood and trained by Roberto Dominguez, Buy Buy won the second trial of the night to give her four wins in nine career starts. A busy performer during his freshman year, Buy Buy won the California Breeders’ Freshman Stakes (R) for fillies and was second in the Pat Hyland Handicap and third in the Autumn Handicap. Eulices Gomez piloted Buy Buy.

Balgo Racing Team’s Gold Flames On Fire managed to qualify with the sixth-fastest time of :20.024. The gelding by Walk Thru Fire was seventh in the Golden State Million final and also ran third to Remembering Spence in the Ed Burke Memorial. Arnold Gonzalez’s Fires Blazin qualified to his fourth Grade 1 stakes race following his second-place finish to High School Secrets. The only horse to qualify to the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, Ed Burke Million Futurity and Golden State Million Futurity in 2012, Fires Blazin finished with the seventh-fastest clocking of :20.025. Jose Flores saddled the son of Walk Thru Fire. Hector A. Hernandez’s Blistering Speed, the fourth-place finisher in last year’s PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity, completed the list of qualifiers thanks to his runner-up effort to Creole Williams. Flores saddled the Tres Seis gelding bred by Mercy and Ray Hinklin.

The qualifying order to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby is as follows: Remembering Spence (:19.742), Creole Williams (:19.947), Perrys Affair (:19.949), High School Secrets (:20.012), Stel My Corona (:20.021), Gold Flames On Fire (:20.024), Fires Blazin (:20.025), Jabuti Eagle SR (:20.070), Blistering Speed (:20.097) and Buy Buy (:20.113).