06/24/2011 2:22PM

Los Alamitos: Separate Fire can rebound in Burke


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Separate Fire’s undefeated record ended after three races with a troubled third as a 1-20 favorite in a division of the Ed Burke Million Futurity trials at Los Alamitos on June 12.

Her final time of 17.50 seconds in that race was quick enough to earn a berth in Sunday’s $1,126,000 final over 350 yards at Los Alamitos, and temporarily keep another winning streak intact. A win in the Grade 1 Ed Burke would give Separate Fire a sweep of the two major early-season futurities, seven weeks after she won the Kindergarten Futurity on May 8.

Separate Fire was beaten three-quarters of a length in the Burke trials by fastest qualifier Fire Moon Lady, who was timed in 17.36 seconds. Trainer Paul Jones is convinced that Separate Fire can run better.

“It’s amazing she still qualified,” Jones said on trial night. “It would have a disaster not to have her in that race. If she breaks in the final, they better watch out. She can run 17.20 seconds.”

Jones said Separate’s Fire problem in the trial occurred at the gate. “She never settled,” he said.

Owned by Tremor Enterprises, Separate Fire is one of five fillies in the 10-horse Ed Burke Million, the first of three seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos this year. The Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million are run in late fall.

Separate Fire is one of three horses in the Ed Burke who are making their fifth career starts, having run in a maiden race in April and the trials and final for the Kindergarten and a trial for the Ed Burke. Following that same career pattern, Kindly Fellow and Sompin About First were fourth and seventh in the Kindergarten and returned to win divisions of the Ed Burke trials. They were timed in 17.38 seconds in their trial wins.

Fire Moon Lady, owned by the Dutch Masters III partnership, drew the rail for the Ed Burke and is making her fourth career start. She is trained by Jaime Gomez, who is after his fourth win in the Burke and first since 2009.

Fire Moon Lady failed to qualify for the Kindergarten and won for the first time in the Ed Burke trials after a five-week rest.

“The filly has done super since we gave her a little break, but she had trouble before,” Gomez said. “I have high hopes.”