11/23/2011 12:40PM

Los Alamitos: Last to Fire fastest qualifier once again


For the second time this fall, Last to Fire is the fastest qualifier to a seven-figure futurity at Los Alamitos. For the second time this fall, trainer Juan Aleman needs Last to Fire to reproduce his trial win on the night of a final.

After setting the fastest qualifying time for the Golden State Million Futurity trials in October, Last to Fire finished third in the final. Sunday at Los Alamitos, Last to Fire had the fastest qualifying time – 400 yards in 19.724 seconds – for the $2,236,600 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Dec. 11.

“Hopefully he didn’t throw his best race that night and he can come back and give me something similar,” Aleman said earlier this week.

Aleman took no chances when Last to Fire started in the 13th of 14 divisions of Sunday’s trials. With racing conducted on a wet-fast track after a day and evening of rain, the times were slower than expected. Through 12 races, fifth-race winner Eye on Corona had the fastest qualifying time of 19.91 seconds.

Aleman needed jockey Francisco Rubio to urge Last to Fire throughout the trial to ensure gaining one of the 10 berths for the final.

“If you’ve got to ask him, ask him,” Aleman told Rubio in the paddock.

Last to Fire won his division by three lengths, and was the only qualifier from that race.

Owned by Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas, Last to Fire has won two of six starts and $147,393. The Golden State Million, in which he finished a half-length behind Igotyourtac, was Last to Fire’s first appearance in a futurity final. The gelding lost his first three starts before a nose win in the Golden State Million trials on Oct. 16.

For the owners and Aleman, the Golden State and Los Alamitos Two Million futurities have been the goals for the year. “He wasn’t paid into anything early,” Aleman said. “I told the owners, ‘Let’s geld this horse and bring him back fresh for the two big races.’

“Hopefully, he has one more in him.”

Igotyourtac won the seventh division of the trials in 19.98 seconds and earned the ninth-fastest time for the final.

Other qualifiers are I Like the Odds, Eye on Corona, Hit It Big, Terrific Synergy, Bps Jumpin Frisco, Last to Check Him, Madoff, and Hez Our Secret.