08/12/2010 2:01PM

Golden State Derby trials at Los Alamitos Saturday


There are a surprising number of similarities in the careers of the 3-year-old Quarter Horses The Partys On Fire and Good Reason Sa.

They both won seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos last fall – The Partys On Fire took the Golden State Million in November and Good Reason Sa won the Los Alamitos Two Million in December. They were both sidelined by knee injuries last winter. And they both will make their first starts of the year on Saturday in the same division of the Golden State Derby time trials at Los Alamitos.

The last coincidence was not what Dan Francisco, the trainer of The Partys On Fire, had in mind. “I was hoping it wouldn’t be that way,” he said.

Francisco and Paul Jones, who trains Good Reason Sa, each wanted a prep race for their horse before the trials.

“I wish we could have a race under the belt,” Jones said.

“I wanted to have an out before this,” Francisco said. “Last year, she needed two or three races before she started running and that’s the way she’s training now. She’s not a good work horse and doesn’t get a lot out of her works.”

The objective on Saturday is for The Partys On Fire and Good Reason Sa to qualify for the 400-yard Golden State Derby final on Aug. 28. The horses with the top 10 times in Saturday’s three trials, regardless of finish position, earn berths to the final, which has an estimated purse of $300,000.

The Partys On Fire, who races for Los Alamitos track owner Ed Allred and Tom Seibly, has won 3 of 8 starts and $575,258. Good Reason Sa, owned by Gianni Samaja, has won 3 of 4 starts and $810,795. Saturday’s trial will be their first head-to-head meeting.

Good Reason Sa drew the outside post in a field of seven.

“I’d like to see him jump up, run a big race and get a clean go,” Jones said. “He’s come back really well.”

This is a pivotal time for 3-year-old Quarter Horses in Southern California to be in top form. The Golden State Derby is followed by the Los Alamitos Super Derby in the fall, which has an estimated purse of $1.25 million. “It’s nice to have him come back now,” Jones said of Good Reason Sa.

Jones has runners in all three divisions. He starts Runaway Tyme, who was second in the 2009 Kindergarten Futurity, in the first division against a field that includes the Francisco-trained Whatalovelywaytoburn.

In the second division, Jones starts First Down King, who was third in the Governor’s Cup Derby last month.