02/14/2013 1:56PM

Los Alamitos: Winter Derby fastest qualifier Remembering Spence must overcome rail post

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Remembering Spence was a colt when he finished third in the Grade 2 Governor’s Cup Futurity at Los Alamitos last July. When he starts in Saturday’s Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, Remembering Spence will race for the second time as a gelding.

Remembering Spence was gelded last summer, and given the rest of the year off. In his first race of the year, a time trial for the $231,650 Winter Derby on Jan. 26, Remembering Spence won by 1 1/2 lengths. He ran 400 yards in 19.74 seconds, setting the fastest qualifying time for the Winter Derby.

“I was thrilled with everything about his race,” jockey Francisco Rubio said after the trials.

Remembering Spence is trained by Arnoldo Pulido for Francisco Guzman. Rubio and Pulido teamed on Jan. 26 to also qualify Perrys Affair to the Winter Derby. Understandably, Rubio is sticking with Remembering Spence.

Rubio thought Remembering Spence was a different runner as a gelding after a 350-yard workout from the gate in 18 seconds on Jan. 8.

“He did great,” Rubio said. “He was training super coming into this race, and he broke perfectly out of the gate.”

Remembering Spence must have a clean start to win the Winter Derby. He breaks from the rail in the field of 10. In his only other start from the inside, Remembering Spence was third after a slow start in the time trials for the Ed Burke Memorial Futurity last June. Remembering Spence has won 3 of 6 starts and $69,830.

Trainer Paul Jones has four qualifiers for the Winter Derby – trial winners Creole Williams, High School Secrets, and Jabuti Eagle Sa, and Stel My Corona, who was second to Remembering Spence in the trials. Creole Williams won the Corona Chick Handicap in November. Stel My Corona won the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders’ Futurity in October.

Fires Blazin, trained by Jose Antonio Flores, ran in the three seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos last year, finishing second in the Ed Burke, fifth in the Golden State and sixth in the Los Alamitos Two Million. He was second to High School Secrets in the trials.

There were six trials on Jan. 26. Buy Buy, claimed for $10,000 in June, and the winner of the California Breeders’ Freshman Stakes last July, pulled a 25-1 upset and was timed in 20.11 seconds.