01/24/2013 3:39PM

Los Alamitos: Cold Cash 123 training well for Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials

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Cold Cash 123 ended his 2012 campaign with a stunning eighth-place finish in the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 15.

Had Cold Cash 123 won the 440-yard race, a case could have been made for him to be recognized as the World Champion Running Quarter Horse for the second consecutive year. Instead, the award went to One Dashing Eagle, the season’s star 2-year-old.

Now a 5-year-old, Cold Cash 123 has remained in California this winter, and makes his 2013 debut in a division of the Los Alamitos Winter Championship trials on Sunday evening. The 10 fastest times from the 400-yard trials advance to the $200,000-projected final on Feb. 17.

The trials are expected to include Champion of Champions winner Rylees Boy, who was named champion aged horse and champion aged gelding of 2012; and El Aguila Real, who won the 2012 Winter Championship.

Denny Ekins trains Cold Cash 123 for Walter and Carolyn Bay. Last fall, Cold Cash 123 won the Go Man Go Handicap in his Los Alamitos debut in September and was third in the Los Alamitos Championship in October.

Thursday, Ekins said that Cold Cash 123 has trained well since the Champion of Champions. Cold Cash 123 will have a new jockey in Cody Jensen, who has been aboard the gelding in recent exercise.

“He looked phenomenal,” Ekins said. “Cody worked him, and he’s dancing on the stars.”

Regarding the Champion of Champions, Ekins said that Cold Cash 123 “just ran a bad race.”At stake in the Winter Championship is an automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 14.

◗ Saturday’s program features six divisions of time trials for the $232,650 Los Alamitos Winter Derby over 400 yards on Feb. 16. The trials drew a record number of 42 entrants.

The August Heat, second by a nose in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Dec. 16, will be a heavy favorite in the fifth race, the second division of the trials. He faces Far Niente, who was seventh in the Los Alamitos Two Million.

The fourth race is led by Stel My Corona, who won the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity in October, and Secretly Hot, who won the Governor’s Cup Futurity in July . Fires Blazin, sixth in the Los Alamitos Two Million, is the top contender in the seventh race.