10/14/2013 1:21PM

Los Alamitos Championship to Ochoa


CYPRESS, Calif. - Ochoa, who holds the record for career earnings by a Quarter Horse, made a successful debut in California on Sunday with an easy win in the $150,000 Los Alamitos Championship.

A 4-year-old gelding, Ochoa earned an automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 14 with the victory.

Ridden by Roy Baldillez, Ochoa ($4.20) ran 440 yards in 21.27 seconds, winning by three-quarters of a length over Hez Our Secret. Ochoa led throughout and was in control of the race shortly after the start, winning with little urging from Baldillez.

Jess Lips was third in the field of 10. Rylees Boy, who won the 2012 Champion of Champions, was fourth, while Priceless Feature, who beat Ochoa in the Remington Park Championship in Oklahoma in June, finished sixth, beaten two lengths.

Ochoa broke well from post 7 and led by 1 1/4 lengths midway through the race.

Trained by Sleepy Gilbreath for the partnership of J Bar 7 Ranch, Katsy and Monte Cluck and Douglas Benson, Ochoa has won 11 of 15 starts and $2,762,615. Earlier in his career, Ochoa won the All American Futurity in 2011 and All American Derby in 2012 at Ruidoso Downs.

Gilbreath said that Ochoa will not race again until the Champion of Champions, also run at 440 yards.

Ochoa is the sixth horse to earn an automatic berth for the Champion of Champions, joining Rylees Boy (who qualified with a win in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby), Priceless Feature (Remington Park Championship), Last to Fire (Vessels Maturity), Feature Hero (All American Derby), and Check N Fetch (Mildred Vessels Handicap).