08/10/2012 1:19PM

Arapahoe Park: Hezamazing has certainly lived up to his name

Coady Photography
Hezamazing will be looking for his third straight win at Arapahoe in the Arapahoe Park Classic.

It’s said the best things in life are free, and that applies to Hezamazing, a 13-time winner who could start as the favorite Sunday in the $50,000 Arapahoe Park Classic. The horse will be seeking his second win in the 1 1/8-mile race, one of six stakes he has won since being given to Carlyle Rollins.

Rick Houghton has trained Hezamazing for Rollins throughout the horse’s career and said a chain of events led to Rollins being given the horse by a friend. Houghton said Hezamazing, as a young horse, failed to bring a bid at auction in California. He was purchased after the sale for $900 and was later sold for $2,500. From there, Hezamazing was turned out in a pasture in Utah for an extended period of time.

“Carlyle asked [his friend], ‘What are you going to do with him?’ ” Houghton said. “And he said, ‘Do you want him?’ ”

Hezamazing was 2 when given to Rollins. The gelding, now 7, won his maiden in his second career start in July 2008 at Arapahoe. Hezamazing has since gone on to earn $244,053 and has had particular success in the Arapahoe Park Classic. He won the Colorado race by more than nine lengths in 2010, then missed by a neck when second in 2011. Hezamazing enters this year’s race off back-to-back wins at Arapahoe, in the $40,000 Front Range at seven furlongs July 1 and a one-mile allowance July 22.

Houghton, who is winning with 26 percent of his starters this meet, said the move to 1 1/8 miles will suit Hezamazing.

“He likes the distance and he is at the top of his game right now,” he said. “He likes to go further.”

Hezamazing will break from post 7, under Russell Vicchrilli.

“I think he’ll be part of the pace,” Houghton said. “I don’t think he’ll actually be on the lead, unless they’re just going as slow as they were in the mile race. If they go that slow, he’ll be on the lead.”

Others set to start include Dance to the Star and Wally Van, the one-two finishers in the $42,000 Mt. Elbert last month at Arapahoe.