California Breeders' Championship Weekend
California Breeders' Championship Weekend
It was a family affair in each of the two marquee races on the opening session of California Breeders Champions Weekend on Saturday at Los Alamitos.
Ed Allred’s She Goes Up duplicated her mother’s victory in the Governor’s Cup Futurity thanks to an impressive winning effort at 25-1 odds in the $310,000 final, while full-brothers Circle City and Nomadic finished 1-2, respectively, for Allred in the Restricted Grade 1 Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap.
Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Scott Willoughby, Circle City dominated the Spencer Childers, as he took a half-length lead shortly after the start and continued confidently from there in route to a ¾ length win. The Allred-bred runner by Favorite Cartel and out of Moonlight Corona covered the 400-yards in :19.652 while scoring his third major stakes victory at Los Alamitos over the past 12 months. Circle City won the Grade 2 Golden State Derby on August 16, 2020, and less than a month ago won the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on July 3 to earn a presumptive berth to this year’s Champion of Champions. The gray gelding has now won eight of 19 starts and his earnings of $49,000 in this race take his career bankroll to $422,081.
Nomadic, who won the Governor’s Cup Derby and Grade 2 Southern California Derby last year, finished great to take second place in his 2021 debut. Two-time Grade 1 winner Chocolatito, who was making his first start since January, ran solidly to finish third to give Allred and Willoughby the trifecta.
Allred has now won the Spencer Childers a stakes record seven times. Prior to Circle City, Allred’s two previous wins in this race came with champion He Looks Hot in 2017 and 2019.
“Spencer Childers was my guru is many aspects in life and in this industry,” Allred said. “He was the most ethical and correct that I’ve ever known. Winning this race is very meaningful for me.”
For Willoughby, this is his fourth victory in the Spencer Childers, which equals the stakes record shared by trainers Connie Hall and Dan Francisco.
“They are very nice horses and I’m extremely proud and lucky to win the Spencer Childers,” Willoughby said. “Spencer was a great man and a great friend. With Circle City, we gave him time off and it really helped him. It got his mind back on his business. Obviously, he’s doing great. He’s doing better in the gate and seems to have matured quite a big for us. Nomadic is just getting bigger and stronger. I told (Dr. Allred) that I expected a big race from him tonight and he did give us a big race.”
With three superstars squaring off in the Spencer Childers, Willoughby had to secure additional riders once jockey Victor Salazar, who rode Circle City to victory in the Vessels Maturity, opted to pilot Chocolatito in this race.
“I let (Victor Salazar) choose,” Willoughby said. “He really liked the way Chocolatito worked even though he (stumbled) in his last work. He just really wanted to ride that horse. I can’t blame him because Chocolatito is a great horse. He knew that coming off those race that the gray horse would be hard to beat, but he really wanted to ride that horse. Of course, Ayala is a great rider in his own right and Henry Reynoso Lopez did a great job on Nomadic. It was a solid race. (Salazar) needed a race on that horse. (Chocolatito) had not had an out and maybe he’s thinking ahead.”
Meanwhile, Rios Ayala was thrilled with the opportunity to ride Circle City from post one.
“He was standing great in gate, and he broke really well,” he said. “After about 50 yards he left his rivals and he was in front from there.”
Nomadic earned $21,000 for running second, while Chocolatito picked $10,000 for finishing third. Mental Error, Mister Tornado, Made Over, and Cartel Love completed the field.
Owned and bred by Allred, the Kiddy Up mare Up For It won the 2013 running of the Governor’s Cup Futurity. Eight-years later and it’s her foal, She Goes Up, who captured the moment to win the 350-yard race by ¾ lengths. Ridden by Jonathan Roman from post one, She Goes Up was picking up her second victory in six starts. The Separate Interest filly earned $128,100 for the win.
“This filly’s mother won this race,” Allred said. “Then she got a spider bite on her shin, and she never ran again. It almost killed her. She had two in this race, Set For It being the other one. She’s a great broodmare and her grandmother is the stakes winner Flare For Toby. She Goes Up has been good out of the gate in every one of her starts. She’d lead for about 200 yards. I never dreamed she would go all the way in this race.”
Allred had the exacta in this race as well, as the Fly Thru The Fire gelding Watch Out finished second for trainer James Glenn, Jr. and jockey Juan Pablo Leon. Allred’s Kiddy Up filly Call It Close ran fourth for trainer Cesar De Alba and jockey Diego Herrera.
“It was a fantastic night,” Willoughby said. “She Goes Up has been a solid filly. We were very happy for her to qualify. She broke like a rocket.”
Watch Out earned $51,850 for running second, while Five Livestock Company LLC and Steve Wright’s Favorite Honey picked up a $36,600 check for finishing third. The top three finishers were followed by Call It Close, Fire Fast Honey, Set For It, Sizzling N Fast, and Seperate Cruises.
The Matron Stakes went to Gentry Farms’ Kiss Thru Fire, while the Sprint Stakes was won by Steve Burns’ You Can Run in his first start of the year.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.