Value-The-Man-scores-an-upset-in-the-Los-Alamitos-Million-Futurity by csgirla



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A                                                                                                              Value The Man scores a
                                                                                                               valuable surprise in the Los
C                                                                                                              Alamitos Million Futurity.

    Spoil Sport


                                                                                                                             SCOTT MARTINEZ

    Value The Man scores an upset in the Los Alamitos Million Futurity.

    By Richard Chamberlain

    NOPE, NO TRIPLE CROWN, NO BONUS, NOT YET. GOING TO POST           a wink of an eye there went Value The Man. He was too
    as a 10-1 longshot in the $1,444,000 Los Alamitos Million         strong at the end. What can you do? She gave us five months
    Futurity (G1) on December 9, Value The Man spoiled Higher         of great fun and we’ll be back next year – maybe not with a
    Fire’s bid for history: an unprecedented sweep of the three       horse of the caliber of Higher Fire – but we’ll be back.”
    richest races at Los Alamitos, a $1-million bonus and status         “I have no excuses,” Gomez said. “She made a slight little
    as racing’s richest competitor.                                   move when they opened the gate and that was it. She may have
       With G.R. Carter Jr. in the irons for John Bassett, who        come away a little wobbly. I’m proud of her – she almost won
    was picking up a record third win in California’s richest         it. At 350 yards, I thought, ‘We have a chance to get this race.’
    race, J. Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley’s homebred Value         I could see that she was moving ahead of them all – all of them
    The Man broke decently and took the lead at the halfway           except one. She ran her heart out. What else can I ask for? If
    point before finishing powerfully to earn a speed index of        everything goes right, she’ll be back next year. We’ll check her
    96 and the $577,600 first-place share of the purse. Four-         knees and ankles and if everything is OK, she’ll be back.”
    time and reigning AQHA Champion Jockey Carter piloted                Higher Fire earned $274,360, making her a millionaire
    the Oklahoma-bred gelding by champion Heza Fast Man               with career earnings of $1,241,933. The homebred filly
    to a :19.56 clocking, the third-fastest time in the 11 runnings   finished the year as the nation’s leading money earner, the
    of the Los Alamitos Million.                                      second consecutive year in which a Los Alamitos-based
       Owned by Dutch Masters III and trained by Jaime Gomez,         horse has topped the category, and is the sixth-richest
    second-favorite and runner-up Higher Fire was trying to           distaffer and the 18th-richest Quarter Horse of all time.
    become the first winner of the Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza,         J.R. Ramirez piloted Higher Fire in all three of her mil-
    which would have paid the Walk Thru Fire filly a $1-million       lion-dollar races.
    bonus for adding the Los Alamitos Million Futurity to her            For all of that, however, Higher Fire was never ahead of
    earlier victories in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million and Golden      Value The Man after breaking eighth from post 3. Value
    State Million futurities.                                         The Man, meanwhile, made the most of his fifth-place start,
       “I knew she was behind at the start, but what else is new?”    eating up ground and moving past rivals with ease during
    asked Denny Boer of Dutch Masters III. “Halfway through           the second half of the race.
    the race, I thought that she was going to win it but then in         “We were pretty calm coming in because we knew that if

he got away clean we had a legitimate 400-yard horse,” said during that time,” said Bassett, who had Teller Cartel before the
Kelly, an amateur middle-weight boxing champion years ago horse moved to Paul Jones’ barn and won the All American
in his native Ireland, who has been racing and breeding Futurity. “When that happens, you get to second-guessing your-
Quarter Horse for more than 20 years. “We felt that no one self, and you just can’t do that in this game. You’ve got to keep
could run with him in the final 150 yards. I had hip replace- believing in yourself and doing what’s worked for you.”
ment surgery three weeks ago, so I couldn’t come out to see             Leaving the gate on top before dropping back, race
him run in the Million trials, but I jumped off my bed when favorite Teller Cartel finished sixth in the Million, behind
he finished like he did in the trials.”                              third-place finisher Finding Nemo, Wanta Dubloon and
   Value The Man crossed the wire second to Love My Corona He Storms. Ynot Bar ran seventh, with Cut The Snow,
in the November 25 trials, but no horse covered the final 220 Shesnowlady and Love My Corona completing the field.
yards as fast as he did. It was that impressive finishing kick          Finding Nemo, winner of the PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity
that helped him win the second-richest race ever contested at (G1) and Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG1), earned $173,280
Los Alamitos.                                                        for his third-place finish. Racing for James Azevedo and
   “We knew that if he found the room to run, he would Charles Boyles, Finding Nemo took the lead briefly under
have a real good chance,” said Kelly, whose partner is the jockey Alex Bautista. Trained by Denny Ekins, the colt by
owner and president of Yearsley Bloodstock Insurance, an Fishers Dash has won eight of 10 races and earned $663,010.
equine insurance business with offices in Marina Del Rey, Spencer Childers’ homebred Wanta Dubloon earned
California, and Lexington, Kentucky.                                 $101,080 for completing the superfecta, while Ed Allred’s
    “This is also a tribute to his sire, Heza Fast Man, who homebred He Storms pocketed $86,640.
died earlier this week.” Kelly added. “We always liked him.             Completing Bassett’s comeback was Bassett’s son, Joe,
He was a quality horse and we felt that he was highly or “Bear” as he is known in the industry. In 1995, Bassett
underrated as a sire.”                                               joyfully carried the boy to the winner’s circle after the first
   Now an earner of $589,410, with three wins from seven Los Al Million. Eleven years later, the trainer stood in the
starts, Value The Man became                                                                          winner’s circle with a huge
champion Heza Fast Man’s 45th                             Nancy Yearsley and J. Garvin Kelly savor smile on his face while crediting
stakes winner, with the victory                           their first victory in a seven-figure race. his now 22-year-old son for
coming just three days after the                                                                      Value The Man’s victory.
14-year-old stallion was eutha-                                                                          “Joe’s the one that’s been in
nized due to laminitis (page 36).                                                                     California the whole year
After a decade at stud, Heza                                                                          watching over this horse and
Fast Man has sired 269 winners                                                                        many others,” said Bassett,
from 395 starters, including                                                                          whose father, Joe, in the 1950s
champion A Real Man, 37                                                                               and ’60s was one of the top
stakes-placed runners and the                                                                         conditioners in the sport and
earners of more than $8.5 mil-                                                                        qualified a horse for the first
lion. His latest major winner is                                                                      All American Futurity. “This
out of Sheeza Lil Val, a winning                                                                      is his deal. He’s got a feel for
                                    SCOTT MARTINEZ

daughter of Dashing Val who                                                                           the business and I hope that
has produced four winners from                                                                        he’ll eventually step in for me
five starters, including the                                                                          in seven or eight years and I’ll
Grade 1-winning Corona Cartel                                                                         go fishing in Wyoming.”
mare Valiantly, an earner of $203,754. Sheeza Lil Val has a             “I’m speechless right now,” said the younger Bassett, a
yearling filly by Tres Seis.                                         third-generation trainer who earlier this year saddled The
   In two seasons of racing, Heza Fast Man won 10 of 17 Blues Girl to victory in the Leo Handicap. “Hopefully there’ll
starts and earned $801,356. The stallion by The Signature be more wins like this to come. When I was young I just tried
won the inaugural Texas Classic Futurity (G1) and two other to be like my dad, following him around, playing like I knew
stakes, was second to champion A Classic Dash in the 1993 what I was doing. To actually have played a role on a win like
All American Futurity (G1) and was champion 3-year-old this, I just can’t believe it right now.”
colt the following year.                                                The gelding’s owners believe it. Kelly, who markets the
   Bassett, who trained Heza Fast Man, has now won five Swedish-made Duxiana bed, has homes in Culver City and
races worth $1 million or more. The Arizona horsemen Palm Desert, California, and owns EIRE Stock Farms (for
won the inaugural Million with Joe Badilla on Evening the constitutional name of the Republic of Ireland) in
Snow in 1995, and Carter and Bassett teamed to win the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He and Yearsley owned Sky
race with First Place Queen in 2002. In addition to his Chicks, who posted the second-fastest time to Evening
three Los Alamitos Million futurities, he also has two All Snow’s Los Alamitos Million and is the dam of the partners’
American Futurity triumphs with Ausual Suspect and A Dutch Schultz, a Holland Ease gelding that won the April
Delightful Dasher, and Heza Fast Man’s Texas Classic 15 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2).
Futurity was worth $851,670. Only Jack Brooks, with                     “This proves that any breeder can win this race and that’s
eight All American wins, has won more million-dollar what’s great about Quarter Horse racing,” Yearsley said.
races. For all of that, however, Bassett said that the win “It’s very rewarding. It’s taken us 25 years to get here, but
represented a comeback of sorts.                                     we are here.”
   “I went through a two- or three-year drought and to be
honest, I was surprised that some of the owners stuck with me Jennifer Hancock and Orlando Gutierrez contributed to this story.

                                                             THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE RACING JOURNAL J A N U A R Y        2006   29

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