09/10/2008 11:00PM

Hard Hitting meets filly again


Governor's Cup Futurity winner Hard Hitting and Ed Burke Million third-place finisher Rieda Hay Worth meet in the ninth of 10 trials to the Grade 1, $500,000 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders Futurity on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

The 10 fastest qualifiers from the trials become eligible to race in the 350-yard futurity on Oct. 4.

Hard Hitting has steadily progressed during his four races into a Grade 1 colt, winning the Governor's Cup Futurity in his most recent start on July 26. He sprinted to a half-length lead early and then drew out to win by a length as the 6-5 favorite. He was timed in an excellent 17.35 seconds for the 350 yards.

Trainer Chuck Treece sharpened Hard Hitting for the PCQHRA Futurity trials with a 12.70-second work at 220 yards on Aug. 30.

Rieda Hay Worth returns from a longer freshening following her third-place effort behind the highly regarded Foose and Sixish in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million on June 21. She won her Ed Burke trial by 1 1/4 lengths over Hard Hitting, handing the gelding his most recent defeat.

Sixish heads the 10th and final trial. His only setbacks from four career starts have been second-place efforts behind Revv It Up in the Grade 1 Kindergarten and Foose in the Ed Burke. He had a troubled start in the Ed Burke and was unable to threaten Foose, the premier 2-year-old at Los Alamitos.

Stolis Winner points to Texas Classic

All American Futurity winner Stolis Winner, Quarter Horse racing's all-time leading money-earning juvenile, has undergone a physical examination at Elgin Veterinary Hospital in Texas and will point to the trials of the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity, according to owner Jerry Windham.

"Dr. Tommy Hayes checked him out and X-rayed him," said Windham. "He looks pretty good so we'll point towards the Texas Classic. Like always, we'll let the horse tell us."

The Texas Classic Futurity trials are on Nov. 15 at Lone Star Park, and the finals, the richest race in Texas, will be contested on Nov. 29.

Stolis Winner has earned $1,789,467 with Grade 1 wins in the $1.9 million All American Futurity, $1 million Heritage Place Futurity and the $625,000 Rainbow Futurity. He has won 7 of 8 starts and is riding a seven-race winning streak for trainer Heath Taylor.

At least one champion retires

Strawkins, the champion 3-year-old gelding of 2006, has been retired, and 2005 champion 2-year-old Leading Spirit's racing future is uncertain following an unusual injury, according to trainer Paul Jones.

Leading Spirit sustained a non-life-threatening sesamoid injury as he galloped back following his win in the Grade 2 California Challenge Championship on Sept. 5.

"Actually, he's walking well and happy," Jones said. "I don't know if he'll race again. We'll see. If not he'll live the rest of his life in a pasture on [owner] Dr. Barry Thompson's ranch."

Thompson is a retired chancellor of the Texas A&M University system, and his ranch is near Waco, Texas.

Leading Spirit started his career with seven straight wins, including Grade 1 victories in the Rainbow, Ruidoso, and West Texas futurities.

The 5-year-old Strawkins has been shipped to owner Donald and Peggy Boyles' farm in Madras, Ore., to spend his retirement after a 22-race career with 12 wins. He set the Ruidoso Downs 440-yard track record of 20.73 seconds while winning the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby. He won six stakes races on five different tracks and has not raced since a fourth-place effort in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions last Dec. 15.