03/02/2012 3:24PM

Los Alamitos: Flores doing well in numbers games


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – The professional theme of 2011 was one of frustration for Los Alamitos-based trainer Jose Antonio Flores. He ended the year without a major stakes win, but it was not for a lack of trying.

“I qualified to everything last year,” he said.

The issue was solved for 2012 when Kool Million won the $151,750 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes last Sunday. The Maiden Stakes, for 3-year-olds who were nonwinners as of Dec. 1, 2011, is far from the most prestigious, or richest, race run at Los Alamitos, but it helped to vault Flores into third among the nation’s Quarter Horse trainers, with 2012 stable earnings of $192,607.

Last year, Flores’s stable ranked 16th, with stable earnings of $1,094,990.

Those are only some of the impressive numbers Flores, 37, has posted in recent years. Since the summer of 2010, Flores’s weight has dropped from 500 pounds to approximately 250 after he underwent gastric bypass surgery. The six-foot tall Flores said that his weight was causing serious health concerns.

“I feel comfortable with where I’m at,” he said.

“My wife and two little girls are so happy with how much weight I’ve lost. As heavy as I was, there was a chance that I wasn’t going to be around very long, but now I feel like I’ll be around for my family a lot longer and that means the world to me.”

Flores has a 45-horse stable, with 18 2-year-olds being prepared for their first starts in coming months. The older horses who caused such frustrations last year could be stakes winners this season. Last year, Flores was second in the Governor’s Cup Futurity with Carne Vino, and fourth in the Kindergarten and Ed Burke futurities with Kindly Fellow.

They will race in derbys this year.

Walkin Bac, second in the 2011 Governor’s Cup Derby and fourth in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship last month, is a prospect for the major stakes for older horses.

As for Kool Million, who races for Los Alamitos track owner Ed Allred, the colt has won two of three starts in a career that did not begin until Dec. 30. He will be pointed for derbys later this year, Flores said.

“We started him out last year and he had some shins,” Flores said. “We sent him back to the ranch. We brought him back and he did everything right.”