Heza Dasha Fire just one star in loaded Los Al Invitational
Heza Dasha Fire will face an all-star cast Sunday night when he attempts to win the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship for Quarter Horses for the third year in a row. Heza Dasha Fire is part of a field of 10 that includes the last three winners of the Champion of Champions as well as Hold Air Hostage, the champion 3-year-old of 2017.
The Los Alamitos Invitational is a 440-yard race for 3-year-olds and up. The winner will earn a berth in the track’s Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 15.
Heza Dasha Fire won the Champion of Champions in 2015 and was second by a head in the 2016 running and second by a half-length in 2017. He will break from the rail Sunday while making his second start of the year, having won his 6-year-old debut in the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap on July 28 at Los Alamitos. He is owned by S-Quarter K and trained by Jose A. Flores.
Following the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap, he spent two weeks at San Luis Rey Downs as changes were made to his diet, Kathy Meneely of S-Quarter K told publicity at Los Alamitos.
“After he ran second in the 2016 Champion of Champions, we found that he had an infection that affects his kidneys,” Meneely said. “It’s something that we keep track of, and after the Spencer Childers, he had some numbers that were elevated. We took him off alfalfa and had to change his feed to lower his protein intake. Those things have helped, and he’s doing great, but he’s facing a very strong field at 440 yards.”
Cruz Mendez has the mount on Heza Dasha Fire, who was the world champion Quarter Horse of 2015. Heza Dasha Fire would become the third horse to win the Los Alamitos Invitational three times, joining Go Josie Go and Catch me in your dreams.
Zoomin for Spuds, who won the Champion of Champions in 2016 and was third in the race in 2017, is looking to rebound Sunday after finishing fourth in the Go Man Go Handicap on Sept. 2 at Los Alamitos.
“He came up with an infection after the race,” trainer Monte Arossa told publicity. “We treated it for 10 days, and he’s really responded nicely since then. He’s feeling and looking great.”
The third Champion of Champions winner in the field is Mr Pyc to You, who captured the race last year at 60-1.
Hold Air Hostage is coming off a third-place finish in the Go Man Go Handicap, while others in the field include the winner of that race, Tarzanito, and Bodacious Eagle, who in his last start accounted for the Grade 1 All American Gold Cup on Sept. 2 at Ruidoso Downs.
In all, the field Sunday has combined to win 107 races – 25 of them Grade 1’s – and earn $7.9 million, according to publicity at Los Alamitos.
Plans for Jessies First Down
Jessies First Down, the world champion Quarter Horse of 2016 and 2017, is being pointed for the Grade 1, $350,000 Championship at Sunland Park on Dec. 30, according to trainer Jimmy Padgett II. The horse has won three Grade 1 races in his three starts this year, his most recent The Downs at Albuquerque Fall Championship on Sept. 23.
“He came out of it wonderfully,” Padgett said. “He’s doing great. He’s here with me at Lone Star.”
In each of the past two years Jessies First Down won the Grade 1, $150,000 Zia Park Championship before running in the Championship at Sunland, but the Zia race was moved from November to December this year, and the tight schedule will lead to the horse just targeting Sunland, said Padgett.
Jessies First Down, winning the All American Gold Cup, runs in the Championship at Sunland.