02/23/2011 2:46PM

Good Reason Sa rises to top of older Quarter Horse division

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Less than two months into 2011, there is already a clear leader in the Quarter Horse older male division.

Good Reason Sa won the $214,550 Los Alamitos Winter Championship on a wet-fast track last Saturday, earning an automatic berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10. The Champion of Champions plays a major role in year-end voting, and the berth that Good Reason Sa earned is as much a relief as an accomplishment.

With that race as a long-term goal, owner Gianna Samaja and trainer Paul Jones can plan backward, give Good Reason Sa a break this spring, and focus on the major races of the second half of the year.

“We’ll gear him up for the Champion of Champions, now that he’s in there,” racing manager Vince Genco said. “We’ll keep him tuned up, but he’s deserving a little rest.”

Good Reason Sa’s win in the 400-yard Winter Championship reaffirmed his position as a leading Quarter Horse of his generation. The winner of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in 2009 and the Golden State Derby last August, Good Reason Sa has won 6 of 10 starts and $1,037,106. He is by Favorite Trick, the 1997 Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, and out of the First Down Dash Quarter Horse mare Queen of Appeals.

The Winter Championship was Good Reason Sa’s first victory since the Golden State Derby, ending a three-race losing streak that included a troubled eighth in the Champion of Champions last December.

“He had no chance,” Genco said of the trouble in that race.

In the Winter Championship, Good Reason Sa beat a strong field that included Jess You and I, winner of the 2008 Champion of Champions, and Freaky, the 2009 winner. They finished third and sixth, with Harems Last Dash second.

Freaky underwent X-rays earlier this week, which revealed no injuries, trainer Adan Farias said. While Good Reason Sa is unlikely to start until early summer, Freaky will be pointed to the $25,000 Kaweah Bar Handicap on April 23, Farias said Wednesday.

◗ Oatman, winner of the $215,600 Los Alamitos Winter Derby last Friday, gave owners Ron Skeen and Fawna Night and trainer Mark Skeen their biggest career wins. Mark Skeen’s wife, Holly, said last weekend that Oatman will get a late winter break at their ranch in Utah before resuming racing later this year at Los Alamitos.