09/27/2013 1:58PM

Los Alamitos: Champion Flame N Flash targets repeat win in Mildred Vessels

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In 2012, Flame N Flash won the Mildred N. Vessels Handicap at Los Alamitos against older fillies and mares in September, and was later was second by a head in the $750,000 Champion of Champions against older males in December.

Those results were enough for Flame N Flash to be named the champion 3-year-old Quarter Horse filly of 2012. Success in the same races this year could lead to the title of champion aged mare.

Flame N Flash starts in Sunday’s $150,000 Mildred Vessels, a race that offers an automatic berth for the winner to the Champion of Champions on Dec. 14. Flame N Flash needs a win in the 400-yard Mildred Vessels Handicap to revive a disappointing season.

Trained by Juan Aleman for Utah owner-breeder Robert Williams, Flame N Flash has finished last of 10 in two starts this year – the Charger Bar Handicap for older fillies and mares in January, and the Go Man Go Handicap against males on Sept.  15.

Flame N Flash had excuses in both losses. She threw her head at the start of the Charger Bar, and was bumped midway through the Go Man Go.

Francisco Rubio rides Flame N Flash in the Mildred Vessels, which drew a field of 12 fillies and mares. The race will be limited to 10 starters.

Other leading contenders are Tres of Linda and Thisfeatureisspecial, who were first and second in the Charger Bar; Shez Jess Toxic, a three-time stakes winner; and the improving 3-year-old Required Fire, who is unbeaten in four starts this year.

Four horses have earned automatic berths for the Champion of Champions – defending race winner Rylees Boy (from the Los Alamitos Winter Championship in February), Priceless Feature (Remington Park Invitational Championship in June), Last to Fire (Vessels Maturity in July), and Feature Hero (All American Derby in September).

Last to Fire won the Go Man Go Handicap, a race that would have provided the winner with an alternate berth for the Champion of Champions in the event of a defection.

Aside from Sunday’s Mildred Vessels Handicap, other berths are available for the winners of the Los Alamitos Championship on Oct. 13, Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 2, Bank of America Challenge Championship at Los Alamitos on Nov. 9, the Zia Park Championship on Nov. 23, and at least one berth from the Z. Wayne Griffin time trials at Los Alamitos, also on Nov. 23.