01/22/2014 9:01PM

Last to Fire named 2013 Quarter Horse Racing World Champion


Last to Fire, winner of the $750,000 Champion at Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 14 and two other Grade 1 stakes last year, was named the 2013 Quarter Horse Racing World Champion in a ceremony at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City on Wednesday evening.

Last to Fire won 5 of 6 starts and earned $515,209 racing at Los Alamitos in 2013 for California owners Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas. A 4-year-old gelding in 2013, Last to Fire won the Vessels Maturity in July and the Go Man Go Handicap in September.

In the Champion of Champions, Last to Fire led throughout the 440-yard race, which annually brings together the nation’s top older horses. In Wednesday’s ceremony, Last to Fire also was named champion aged horse and champion aged gelding of 2013.

Last to Fire, who is by Walk Thru Fire, has won 8 of 19 starts and earned $1,087,545 in his career.

Cuevas said earlier this week that Last to Fire is being given a winter break at a California ranch and will resume training in the spring. It was unclear who will train Last to Fire this year. Jose De La Torre trained Last to Fire in 2013 but was told to vacate his stalls at Los Alamitos in December after a series of clenbuterol positives last fall.

In other categories for older horses, Check N Fetch was named champion aged mare and Feature Mr Bojangles was honored as champion aged stallion. Honoroso was named champion distance horse.

Handsome Jack Flash, winner of the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, was named overall champion 2-year-old and 2-year-old gelding. Five Bar Cartel was named champion 2-year-old colt, while Kates Dynasty was honored as 2-year-old filly.

Handsome Jack Flash won 4 of 5 starts and earned $1,482,271 in 2013.

In the 3-year-old categories, Feature Hero was named champion gelding and overall 3-year-old, Brace for Bernal was outstanding colt, and Matabari was champion filly. Feature Hero won the $2,809,784 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in September, the richest race in the history of Quarter Horse racing.

Matabari won the Los Alamitos Super Derby and was third in the Champion of Champions.

In people categories, Cody Jensen was honored as outstanding jockey, while Paul Jones was named champion trainer. Burnett Ranches of Texas was named champion breeder. Burnett Ranches owns numerous horses in partnership with Johnny Trotter. Together, Burnett Ranches and Trotter were recognized as champion owners.

Jones has won the trainer’s title 12 times, annually since 2002, equaling the late Blane Schvaneveldt, who was honored as top trainer from 1985-1996.

During the presentations, Ochoa, the all-time leading money-winning Quarter Horse with earnings of $2,781,365, was honored for his career accomplishments. Ochoa, the champion 2-year-old of 2011 and 3-year-old of 2012, was recently retired by owner John T.L. Jones.