04/14/2009 11:00PM

Calif. owners chasing wins with 2 breeds

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - The worlds of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing do not often intersect in California. Horsemen tend to breed, own, train, or ride one or the other.

Garvan Kelly and Nancy Yearsley are among the few exceptions. They own a small stable of Thoroughbreds based with trainers Neil Drysdale, Bruce Headley, and Jorge Periban. Down in Orange County, Kelly and Yearsley are partners in a stable of Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, including the rapidly improving Royal Proclamation, winner of the $192,300 El Primero Del Ano Derby last Saturday.

Their involvement in both breeds can make for busy days sometimes - afternoons watching Thoroughbreds and evening at Quarter Horses.

"I'm one of the few people that do both," Yearsley said.

Kelly, a native of Ireland, has a Quarter Horse farm in Broken Arrow, Okla., where Royal Proclamation was bred. Yearsley splits time between Lexington, Ky., where she operates an equine insurance company, and Southern California.

Royal Proclamation won the biggest race of his career in the Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby over 400 yards. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, Royal Proclamation prevailed by a head over A Tempting Dash, winner of the Los Alamitos Winter Derby in February.

The El Primero Del Ano Derby result led Kelly and Yearsley to point Royal Proclamation for two major stakes at Ruidoso Downs this summer - the Rainbow Derby on July 18 and the All American Derby on Sept. 6. Royal Proclamation will have to qualify for both races through time trials. He will be sent to Jones's stable at Ruidoso in coming weeks to acclimate.

"He deserves a rest," Kelly said in the winner's circle last weekend.

The El Primero victory extended Royal Proclamation's winning streak to three races, including the $141,750 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on Feb. 28, a race restricted to horses that were maidens as of Dec. 1. Royal Proclamation did not win his first race until Jan. 9 of this year and has won 4 of 5 this year.

"If he can stand up there and leave [the gates], he can get the job done," Kelly said.

Royal Proclamation is out of Rule the Chicks, a mare that Garvan and Yearlsley raced. Rule the Chicks's dam, Sky Chicks, is the foundation of much of the Garvan-Yearsley Quarter Horse bloodlines.

"That was the first Quarter Horse I owned," Yearsley said. "We started with this one mare and we developed this family. It's grown from there."

* Catahawk, winner of the Debutante Handicap in January, will be favored in Friday's $30,000 La Pacifica Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Los Alamitos. Owned by EG High Desert Farm and trained by Mario Loza, Catahawk drew the outside post in a field of seven in the 350-yard race. The only other stakes winner in the field is Miss Shake Em Bug, who won the Idaho Cup Futurity at Les Bois Park last August.