11/23/2012 3:20PM

Los Alamitos: Separate Thoughts looks strong in Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials

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Separate Thoughts was second in the Golden State Million Futurity at Los Alamitos on Nov. 4, losing by 2 1/2 lengths to the nation’s leading 2-year-old, One Dashing Eagle.

The loss was a comprehensive defeat, but not necessarily a setback. No horse has beaten One Dashing Eagle in six races since the spring.

Sunday, Separate Thoughts starts in the ninth of 13 divisions of the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials. If he makes it to the final, Separate Thoughts will not face One Dashing Eagle. He is not eligible to the Los Alamitos Two Million after his owners missed a sustaining nomination payment.

That leaves Separate Thoughts as a top contender to qualify for the $2.1 million final on Dec. 16.

Owned by the estate of Kim Kessinger, Separate Thoughts ran in his first futurity in the Golden State Million. The loss left trainer Mike Casselman optimistic about the Los Alamitos Two Million.

“I was excited,” Casselman said after the Golden State Million. “I really liked the horse from the start. I was hoping that he’d run big.”

Los Alamitos has 14 races Sunday. The second through 14th are 400-yard trials for the Los Alamitos Two Million. Every division includes a finalist to a major futurity earlier this year.

The horses with the 10 fastest qualifying times, regardless of finishing position, advance to the final.

The eighth race may be the toughest division.

Aha Moment and Native Tea Rose, third and fourth in the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in September behind One Dashing Eagle, make their first starts of the autumn.

Other notable runners are Amore La Blue, who was third in the Golden State Million, in the fifth race; Joy Roses Eagle, who was third in the Ed Burke Million, in the seventh; and Fires Blazin, runner-up in the Ed Burke, in the ninth.

Two prominent trainers are not involved with the trials. Juan Aleman and Francisco Ramirez were suspended earlier this month for medication violations. Their 2-year-olds have been moved to other trainers for Sunday’s trials.

Aleman was given a 90-day suspension, through Feb. 13, 2013, and fined $15,000, for possession of contraband, according to a ruling issued by Los Alamitos stewards.

Ramirez has been suspended for one year, through Nov. 15, 2013, and fined $10,000, after one of his starters in August tested positive for the banned medication zilpaterol.