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Golden State Million winner Lotta Blues Man posts fastest qualifying time to Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity

November 21, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Lotta Blues Man sets the fastest qualifying time—400 yards in :19.713—from 14 trials to the December 11 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Lucky Seven Ranch’s Golden State Million Futurity winner Lotta Blues Man continued his wonderful Autumn campaign, as he posted the fastest qualifying time to the Grade 1, $1,950,050 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Sunday night, November 20.

A stakes record 117 juveniles competed in 14 trials at 400 yards with the horses with the 10 fastest times advancing to the Los Alamitos Two Million final on Sunday, December 11. Ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Mike Casselman, Lotta Blues Man will be the one beat after cruising to the fastest time of :19.713 over a fast track in the fifth trials of the night. The heavy 1-to-5 favorite in this race, the homebred gelding by Favorite Cartel also posted his third victory in a row and fifth in six career starts. Lotta Blues Man won the Grade 1 Golden State Million by a half-length on October 30 and was third in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 19.

Lotta Blues Man is one of three horse to qualify to all of the million dollar races at Los Alamitos this year. Worth Doing and Cartel Sixes, the first and second place finisher of the third trial on the night, are the other to have qualified to the Ed Burke Million, Golden State Million, and Los Alamitos Two Million final.

The night belonged to Lotta Blues Man, as he took the lead shortly after the start and then opened to a half-length advantage, then a length and eventually a convincing 1 ¼ length winning margin over All American Futurity finalist One Hot Habit.

“He is peaking,” said Russell Stooks of Lucky Seven Ranch. “As of right now he has no issues. He’s lightly raced. This is only his sixth race this year. He’s had some breaks and has aqua treaded so he should be fresh. We’re pretty fortunate. He’s beaten some good horses. Trials (were) tough tonight. He stumbled a little bit coming out and lost his rear end, but recovered. He really ran strong on the end. We’re feeling good.”

Casselman has won the Golden State Million the past two years, first with Little Talks and then with Lotta Blues Man, but he’ll now look for his first Los Alamitos Two Million victory. The Stooks, meanwhile, won the Los Alamitos Two Million in 2006 with champion Blues Girl Too. The owners would love to partner with Casselman for another great moment with Lotta Blues Man.

“Mike has done an incredible job,” Stooks added. “Every horse has a program tailored to that horse’s needs. That’s what’s so good about Mike. Whether he has to drive to Banning to pick up special feed for a horse or anything else, he does it. He has a chart on the wall for every horse’s need. His barns are immaculate. You could eat off the floor of his barn. We’re very happy. His help is the best and Cody Jensen is riding as good as anybody. It’s a good team. It’s a good program for this horse. (Lotta Blues Man) is not real big, but he’s not real hard on himself. He’s an easy keeper and sleeps a lot in the barn. We just need to get one more race out of him this year.”

“We’re really happy with the way he ran,” Casselman added. “He slipped pretty hard leaving away from there. It took him a second to get his footing. Cody said he ran really easy from there. He’s real fresh. He hasn’t had a lot of outs. That was the plan with him and so far it’s working okay.”

Out of Lotta Love For Robyn, Lotta Blues Man is a half-brother of Tres Friends, the winner of both the $1,152,000 Texas Classic Futurity and $1 million Rainbow Futurity last year. This makes Lotta Love For Robyn one of the few broodmares in Quarter Horse racing history to have a pair of winners of million dollar races.

Mark and Peggy Brown, longtime Quarter Horse racing supporters at Los Alamitos, qualified to their richest race ever at Los Alamitos after their homebred Kissed By An Eagle, a gelding by One Famous Eagle, won the fourth trial of the night. With Cesar De Alba up for trainer Rafael Orozco, Kissed By An Eagle covered the distance in the second fastest qualifying time of :19.726 while improving to four wins from eight starts. He beat Katella Deli by a half-length in this trial.

“I called Mark Brown on my way to the winner’s circle and he was shaking and I was shaking and we’re so proud of how he ran,” said Brenda Figueroa Schvaneveldt, who along with Orozco runs the Schvaneveldt Racing Stable. “(Kissed By An Eagle) got it all together tonight and ran great. We’ve been standing him a lot and we knew he was talented. We’re so excited. He’s not a big horse, but he’s gutsy and he can run. We knew he had talent. We’re so thankful to Mark and Peggy. They stayed home in Idaho to watch the trials. The whole team is excited.”

A gelding by One Famous Eagle, Kissed By An Eagle won the John Deere California Juvenile on August 20 and then finished third to One Proud Eagle in the $151,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge final on Bank of America Racing Challenge Night. Kissed by An Eagle’s other wins here include his maiden victory when making his career debut on May 1 and a trial victory to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity.

Owned by Paul Blanchard and Dr. James Streelman of Dutch Masters III, Katella Deli finished with the third fastest qualifying time of :19.807. The Foose gelding, which was bred by Dr. Steve Burns, DVM, came into this race after running second to Seared in the Golden State Million trails Katella Deli was fifth in the Kindergarten Futurity earlier this year.

“I’ve always liked Katella Deli,” said Jaime Gomez, who trains the bay gelding. “He hit the gate in the last trials and we missed qualifying. He makes his own problems, but tonight he ran a good race. I’m always happy to have a horse in the final for Dr. Streelman, but now also for Paul Blanchard who runs the track in Albuquerque.”

Carlos Huerta rode Katella Deli, named after the famous local restaurant located about mile east of the track.

Rancho El Cabresto Inc’s Mr Apollitical Dash won in his return race to Los Alamitos while posting the fourth fastest qualifying time of :19.824. Also a homebred, Mr Apollitical Dash broke his maiden at Los Alamitos in early May and eventually made his way to Ruidoso Downs. He won his All American Futurity trial by a nose prior to returning to Los Alalmitos for this race.

“We gave him some time off and then gave him a work before this race,” said trainer Juan Aleman. “We breezed him and then hoped for the best knowing that he had to go 400 yards. Coming from Ruidoso Downs (where he ran) 440 he was able to handle the distance (in the trials). He’s a nice horse. His half-sister is Oneapolliticalflight. She ran second to Heza Dasha Fire (in the Ed Burke Million Futurity) here and qualified to two futurities. (Mr Apollitical Dash) is well bred. We were pointing him to this big futurity and I’m happy to see his time hold up.”

Eduardo Nicasio rode the colt from the outside post eight.

Fawna Knight’s Worth Doing qualified to his fourth futurity of the year after winning the third trial by a head over Cartel Sixes. Worth Doing, a gelding by Walk Thru Fire, finished with the fifth fastest time of :19.845. In addition to the million dollar futurities, the Mark Skeen-trained Worth Doing also finished second in the Governor’s Cup Futurity. Tony Guymon has piloted him in all eight of his starts.

“He’s danced in every dance that we’ve asked,” Guymon said. “He runs his race. He spoils you because he’s so solid and give you a great race every time. He’s a professional. He likes to play, but he’s always been pretty serious once he’s figured out what we wanted him to do. They tell me he was a little hard to break when they were (starting) him at the ranch. We were real careful with him early in the year. After the Golden State, he came back as good as ever. He’s just a joy to be around. He’s a pleasure. If they were all like him, everybody would want this job.”

P and J Racing Ltd’s Cartel Sixes finished seventh in the Ed Burke Million in June and fourth in the Golden State Million last month and will now look for a top spot in the Los Alamitos Two Million. Jaime Gomez saddled the son of Corona Cartel, which was ridden by Carlos Huerta, while posting the sixth fastest time of :19.859. Bred by Johnny Trotter, Cartel Sixes is a full brother to the outstanding Eye For Corona, the winner of the 2007 Golden State Million Futurity. Eye For Corona also ran second in that year’s Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity and Ed Burke Million Futurity.

“It’s unbelievable,” said owner Pam Williams. “I told my husband before the trials that Cartel Sixes had already qualified to two of the million dollar futurities so whatever happened we were okay with it. But Jaime is the man. It’s just unbelievable to see this horse qualify to all three big futurities. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks for the final and we’ll be back next year. California is my second home right now.”

George Seward’s Ms Jess Knockout, which ran second to Mr Apollitical Dash in trial number six, finished with the seventh fastest clocking of :19.884. The Apollitical Jess filly has now won three consecutive starts at Los Alamitos, including a trial to the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. Rodrigo Aceves rode the Five Puig Racing LLC-bred filly.

Oscar Andrade and Steve Burns’ Jess Mas finished with the eight fastest qualifying time of :19.891. Third in the B&W Stakes on Bank of America Racing Challenge Night, Jess Mas was bred by her trainer Elena Andrade, who also co-owned and trainer Jess Mas’ mother, Corona Mas Fina.

“It has definitely been our goal since I had her momma running to one day breed, raise, own and train a contender to a race like the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. After so many times this year feeling like we were close, but still so far from it become a reality, here we are living our dream. This is truly one of the most rewarding feelings being that (Oscar and I) are just small (breeders) in this business against the big (names) in this business. My Cinderella story has finally come true.”

Andrade’s husband, Oscar, was a leading jockey at Los Alamitos in the early 2000s before a riding accident left him paralyzed. The former jockey and his wife have never left the game and instead have continued to run a well-respected training and racing operation at Los Alamitos.

“Everyone that has been along with us on this ride were just as nervous, as we watched one race at a time tonight,” the trainer said. “Dr. Burns called us right after the last race passed the wire and said ‘It’s official. We are in.’ This filly has a lot of heart.” I wasn’t going to enter her as she has a schooling mishap in the gates last Sunday. She thrashed around pretty good in the gate, tearing the flipping halter up. It was huge to just see her run in the trials let alone qualify.”

Jesus Rios Ayala piloted the filly by One Sweet Jess, which ran third to Kissed By An Eagle and Katella Deli in the fourth trial.

Turner Farms’ One Hot Habit finished second to Lotta Blue Man in their trials, but her time of :19.899 was still fast enough to qualify her ninth for trainer Paul Jones.

“We ran in the Ruidoso Futurity trials and qualified. We ran in the All American Futurity trials and qualified and now we ran in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials and qualified as well,” Jones said. “We’re three for three with this filly. We bought here at the sale and then I sent her to my ranch in Tularosa, New Mexico. My assistant Lisa Saumell, who manages the New Mexico ranch, did a great job working with this filly. She’s a good filly. This is her first time out here and needed a race, but she ran a good second to the fastest qualifier, Lotta Blues Man. It’s tough to get a horse in the finals here. It takes the right horse to qualify.”

One Hot Habit was purchased at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale for $29,000 for Tommie Turner’s Turner Farms of Blanco, Texas. The racing operation has also campaigned All American Futurity runner-up Jess Send Me and the stakes winner Visual Magic. Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, One Hot Habit is out of the 2005 mare Jess Another Habit, a half-sister to All American Derby winner and champion Old Habits, Grade 1 winner One More Habit and AQHA Supreme Champion Gotta Good Habit. Ramon Sanchez was aboard the Walk Thru Fire filly.

Reliance Ranches LLC won the Los Alamitos Super Derby with Big Lew earlier this month to earn a berth to the Champion of Champions on December 10. The Oklahoma-based racing operation will also have a horse in the December 11 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity after the Robert Gentry-bred Billionaire Boy qualified with the 10th fastest time while running third behind Worth Doing and Cartel Sixes in the third trial on Sunday. Billionaire Boy finished with a time of :19.918. Trained by Mike Robbins, the Kentucky-bred Carters Cartel gelding is out of Fovee, which makes him a half-brother to 2015 Los Alamitos Super Derby and Golden State Derby finalist Run By You.

The winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity will earn $801,381, while second place earns 324,368.50. There is also nominator’s awards for $12,000 for first place and $8,000 for second. The final will feature nine different stallions with Walk Thru Fire being the only sire with more than one representative (Worth Doing and One Hot Habit). The other sires are Carters Cartel (Billionaire Boy), One Sweet Jess (Jess Mas), Favorite Cartel (Lotta Blues Man), Corona Cartel (Cartel Sixes), One Famous Eagle (Kissed By An Eagle), Mr Jess Perry (Mr Apollitical Dash), Apollitical Jess (Ms Jess Knockout) and Foose (Katella Deli). Jaime Gomez, who saddled Katella Deli and Cartel Sixes, was the only trainer with more than one qualifier. The other trainers to qualify a horse were Mike Casselman, Rafael Orozco, Mark Skeen, Juan Aleman, Jose Flores, Elena Andrade, Paul Jones, Mike Robbins. The 10 qualifiers all came out of trials three through six on Sunday night.