08/18/2010 1:03PM

Flores drops weight, gains derby qualifiers


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Jose Flores sat at a small desk adjacent to the Los Alamitos paddock between time trials for the Golden State Derby last Saturday evening, content to leave the saddling of his top 3-year-olds to an assistant.

“I just don’t have the strength,” he said.

Just a few days earlier, Flores had resumed overseeing his 40-horse stable of Quarter Horses after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in July.

“I was 470 pounds,” he said. “It was time. No diet was going to fix me.”

So, Flores, 34, took it easy on himself on Saturday, and spent the evening assessing highly encouraging performances from his trial runners. Princelike and Danny Cartel ran fast enough in their respective divisions of the three trials to earn berths into the 400-yard Golden State Derby final on Aug. 28, which will have a final with an estimated purse of $300,000.

Princelike, second in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby in February, finished second by a head to Good Reason Sa, who was making his first start since a win in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last December.

Danny Cartel was second to fastest qualifier Chivalry Sr in the second division of the trials, which was run in 19.18 seconds. But Chivalry Sr’s participation in the final is in doubt. He was vanned off after his trial win because of exhaustion, trainer Adan Farias said. Farias said Chivalry Sr’s status for the final will be determined in the next week.

Good Reason Sa will be favored in the final, but Flores said that Princelike should not be overlooked. Princelike is owned by Los Alamitos track chairman Ed Allred, and his second in the Golden State Million trials was his first start since the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

“It’s been 5 1/2 months since he ran,” Flores said. “He’ll benefit greatly. He needed time off. [Allred] likes to give his horses a break. He’s got a lot of stuff in front of him.”

Flores may even saddle Princelike for the Golden State Derby. He said he has lost 60 pounds since surgery and within a year is hoping to be down to 230.

“I feel lighter,” he said.

With that, he smiled. At the end of the summer, in his personal life, and with his stable, Flores has a lot to look forward to.