11/04/2012 2:01PM

Los Alamitos: Deniro takes Super Derby by a neck

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Deniro won the first stakes of his career in Saturday’s $929,040 Los Alamito Super Derby at Los Alamitos, earning an automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions against older horses on Dec. 15.

Ridden by Adrian Loza, Deniro ($9.60) ran 400 yards in 19.40 seconds, finishing a neck in front of Hez Our Secret. Check My Thoughts was third in the field of nine. Flame N Flash, the 6-5 favorite, was bumped shortly after the start, failed to recover, and finished sixth.

Deniro had a smooth trip in the Super Derby, breaking well from post 6.

He led by a half-length midway through the race and held off Hez Our Secret, who was second in the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in September.

Deniro was second by a nose in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby last February and second and fourth in two minor futurities in Oregon last year. Owned by Shane O’Leary and trained by Jose de la Torre, Deniro has won 5 of 12 starts and $450,543.

The Champion of Champions annually brings together many of the top Quarter Horses in the nation. Flame N Flash earned a berth with her win in the Mildred Vessels Handicap in September.

Chivalry Sr, El Aguila Real, and reigning World Champion Cold Cash 123 are other contenders for the race. They were the first three finishers in that order in the Los Alamitos Championship on Oct. 28.