07/20/2012 3:10PM

Los Alamitos: Terrific Synergy needs to show consistency for Governor's Cup final

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Terrific Synergy stood quiet and focused in the starting gate before a division of the Governor’s Cup Derby trials at Los Alamitos on July 14. For a change, he was behaving himself.

There was no fidgety behavior, even when a rival needed time to settle.

The result was evident. After a relatively clean start, Terrific Synergy delivered a brilliant performance. The gelding won the 400-yard trial by the widest margin of his career, 2 1/4 lengths, to set the fastest qualifying time of 19.58 seconds. He is expected to start favored in the $250,000-projected final on July 28.

Now, Terrific Synergy has to run the same race again, which he has yet to do in his career. Three times last year, Terrific Synergy qualified for major futurities, but failed to win. His best result was a fourth in the Ed Burke Million Futurity in June 2011. Frequently, he failed to break well, losing all chance.

Trainer Cody Joiner thinks that age will help Terrific Synergy run as well in the final as he did in the trials.

“That’s the question he has to answer,” Joiner said. “I think he’s matured a lot. It seems that anything could distract him last year.

“In the trials, he was so much more relaxed in the gate and he showed a lot of confidence.”

Owned by Billy Smith and Pat Guthrie, Terrific Synergy has won 5 of 8 starts. After a ninth-place finish in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last December, Terrific Synergy underwent surgery to have a bone chip removed from an ankle.

The Governor’s Cup Derby trial was his first start of 2012.

His main rivals in the Governor’s Cup Derby are Ima Chickie Two, the winner of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity last October, and New Look, the winner of the El Primero Del Ano Derby in April.

Joiner and his clients have big plans for Terrific Synergy in coming months. The gelding may start against older horses in the Go Man Go Handicap in September, which will reveal where Terrific Synergy fits among the contenders for the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 15.

Joiner thinks that Terrific Synergy can be competitive with the Los Alamitos-based older horses.

“I know he doesn’t have a real slick r é sum é in the finals,” Joiner said. “I think he’s as good as any older horse on the track.”