03/17/2010 12:00AM

Headturner living up to his name


Headturner is a different Quarter Horse than he was last year.

In 2009, Headturner won three times, but not in a stakes. This year, he has already won the biggest race to date for 3-year-olds at Los Alamitos, the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on Feb. 19.

Headturner will be after another race of that level in coming weeks, starting with the El Primero Del Ano Derby trials at Los Alamitos on Friday evening. Owned by Jose Ramon Sandoval, Headturner starts in the first of three divisions of the trials. The horses with the 10 fastest times, regardless of finish position, will advance to the final on April 9, which has an estimated purse of $200,000.

"He's matured a little more this year," trainer Jose Antonio Flores said of Headturner. "He used to get really washed out and nervous in the paddock. He's been a different horse at 3. I think his heart is pumped up right now."

Last year, Headturner won 3 of 6 starts and finished second in his lone stakes appearance, the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity in October.

In Friday's first division of the trials, Headturner will be heavily favored in a field of nine that includes Summit Bid, who won a division of the Maiden Stakes trials on Feb. 6.

In the second division, Runaway Tyme, second in the Kindergarten Futurity in May 2009, will be after his third consecutive win. He won a maiden race in January and a division of the Maiden Stakes trials last month. The division also features Bring the Bling and Harems Last Dash, who were fifth and seventh in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

The final division is led by Separate Lives, who won the Corona Chick Handicap in November and was a troubled fifth in the Holiday Handicap in December. He is part of a field of nine that includes Forrest Fire, who was sixth in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

Rasner dead at 89

Vernon Rasner, who owned Quarter Horses for 40 years in California, died in Riverside, Calif., on March 6, according to a statement released by Los Alamitos. Rasner, better known as Bud, was 89.

A painting contractor, Rasner raced Shawnees Diamond, who won the 1992 Go Man Go Handicap, beating Refrigerator, who won that year's World Champion title. The Rasner family operates Diamond R Ranch in Riverside.