05/18/2010 11:00PM

Kid brother establishing himself


For $27,000 last fall, Jose Gonzalez bought a yearling colt closely related to a horse who won six times for him in Mexico a few years ago.

Cash This Okie won "some pretty big races" in Mexico, Gonzalez said. His little half-brother West Coast Hawk is doing even better in the United States.

Last Saturday, West Coast Hawk pulled a 14-1 upset in the $362,300 Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos, the first futurity of the year at the track.

Unbeaten in three starts, West Coast Hawk has earned $157,996 and has become a leading contender for the Ed Burke Million Futurity, which has time trials on June 5 and a final estimated at $1 million on June 19.

West Coast Hawk's value has obviously soared in recent weeks, and could go even higher with success in the Burke. Gonzalez, who races under the stable name Balgo Racing, is just glad that he talked trainer Jose Flores out of gelding West Coast Hawk earlier this year.

"We got lucky with that decision as well," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has raced at Los Alamitos for the last six years and made a concerted effort to buy better stock in the last few years. The commitment has succeeded. Last year, Mollys Cartel was fifth in the Ed Burke and seventh in the Los Alamitos Two Million futurities.

Saturday, luck was not on the side of All N the Jeans, the 2-5 favorite for the Kindergarten. She was bumped at the start and was unable to recover in the 300-yard race, finishing third. Trainer Jaime Gomez was reluctant to commit All N the Jeans to the Ed Burke trials.

"We'll keep an eye on her for the next couple of days," he said.

Starting rewards go up

Los Alamitos has increased prize money for unplaced horses in Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred races, beginning Friday.

Quarter Horses who are 3-year-olds or older will receive $600 per start, an increase from the previous guarantee of $300. Two-year-old Quarter Horses will get $400 for starting, an increase of $100.

For Thoroughbreds, which at Los Alamitos are restricted to running for a $5,000 claiming price or less at 4o1/2 furlongs, purses for maidens have been increased $500. Prize money for $2,000 claimers has been increased $700, to $7,200, and $2,500 to $3,200 claimers will run for $500 more.

Non-restricted races for $4,000 claimers will rise $1,000, to $10,000; conditioned $5,000 claimers will run for $12,000; while non-restricted $5,000 claimers will race for $15,000.