12/21/2012 2:37PM

Los Alamitos: Check My Thoughts class of Southern California Derby

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Check My Thoughts needs only to repeat the performance of his victory in the Grade 1 Golden State Derby in August to win Sunday’s $170,900 Southern California Derby for 3-year-old Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos.

That’s the outlook of trainer James Glenn Jr., approaching Sunday’s race.

“He’s really good,” Glenn said Thursday. “He seems like he’s getting stronger and bigger than I could have imagined. We’re ready to go. If he gets a good break and has a little luck, he’ll be right there with them.”

Check My Thoughts won the Golden State Derby over 400 yards by a half-length for his first major stakes win. Since then, he was third in a division of the Super Derby trials, third in the Super Derby, and won a division of the Southern California Derby trials on Dec. 2.

Owned by breeder and Los Alamitos chairman Ed Allred, Check My Thoughts set the fastest qualifying time of 19.96 seconds for 400 yards for the Southern California Derby.

“It was an off track and we were nervous,” Glenn said of the trial conditions. “Nobody really knew how their horses would handle it.”

The Southern California Derby is the last of nine races on Sunday’s program at Los Alamitos, which begins at 2 p.m.

A winner of 5 of 13 starts and $286,428, Check My Thoughts is the only 2012 stakes winner among the 10 finalists in the Southern California Derby. In the Super Derby, Check My Thoughts was beaten a length by Deniro and was three-quarters of a length behind runner-up Hez Our Secret. In the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 15, Hez Our Secret and Deniro finished fourth and fifth against the best field of older horses assembled this year.

“That was a really stellar group of 3-year-olds,” Glenn said of the Super Derby field. “They ran strong in the Champion of Champions.”

The Southern California Derby field also includes Last to Fire and Last to Check Him, half-brothers who were second and third in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last December. Because Quarter Horse mares can be bred via artificial insemination, more than one foal from a mare can be registered each year.

Last to Fire and Last to Check Him were ninth and 10th in the Golden State Derby. Last to Check Him beat Last to Fire in a division of the Southern California Derby trials.