07/31/2016 12:04PM

Ajs Anna Smoke scores in Governor's Cup Futurity


CYPRESS, Calif. - Ajs Anna Smoke ran a near-perfect race to win Saturday’s $387,500 Governor’s Cup Futurity on an emotional night at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Cesar DeAlba, Ajs Anna Smoke ($4.80) broke well and won the 350-yard race for 2-year-old California-bred Quarter Horses by a half-length over 6-1 Worth Doing. Smell Perfume, a 40-1 outsider, finished third in the field of 10.

Ajs Anna Smoke was timed in 17.54 seconds. The gelding is owned by Rod MacPherson Jr. and trained by John Cooper. Ajs Anna Smoke’s win came a month after the death of Rod’s wife, Anna, who bred the winner. Rod MacPherson tearfully dedicated the victory to her in the winner’s circle.

The Governor’s Cup Futurity was the richest race on an 11-race program for California-breds.

Ajs Anna Smoke has won 5 of 6 starts and earned $192,775. He will be pointed for the major futurities at Los Alamitos in the fall – the Golden State Million in November and the Los Alamitos Two Million in December.

In other major stakes on Saturday, Unclaimed Dividend won his first stakes in a controversial running of the $200,000 Governor’s Cup Derby. Ridden by Jesus Ayala, Unclaimed Dividend ($75.60) won the 400-yard race by a half-length over 4-5 favorite Thermonuclear Energy, but the final half of the race was the subject of a stewards’ inquiry and an objection from the trainer of the runner-up, Chris O’Dell.

Several runners had trouble in the race, and Unclaimed Dividend drifted out from the inside post. The stewards reviewed videos for 12 minutes before making no change to the first five finishers. Snitching, who finished sixth, was disqualified and placed 10th for causing interference.

Flay, a 3-year-old racing against older horses, won the $100,000 Spencer Childers Handicap at 400 yards for his richest career win in his seventh start. Flay was intended to start in the Governor’s Cup Derby until owner and trainer Paul Jones realized the colt had not been nominated earlier this year. The Childers Handicap was best alternative on the Saturday program, he said.

Flay ($7.60) ran 400 yards in 19.82 seconds, finishing a half-length in front of 2-1 favorite Forget It. Flay was the only 3-year-old in a field of eight. He Looks Hot, the morning-line favorite and the winner of the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity on July 3, was scratched because of an illness.

Quirky, the champion aged mare of 2015, won her second start of the year and first since January in the $40,000 Matron Stakes. Owned by track chairman Ed Allred, Quirky ($2.60 won the 400-yard Matron by three-quarters of a length under jockey Eulices Gomez. Vivid, a 6-1 shot in a field of six, finished second.

Quirky was timed in 19.85 seconds.

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