10/05/2011 2:12PM

Los Alamitos:Vastly different operations with stakes


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – One outfit has two broodmares, the other has arguably too many to count.

But Don and Kathy Meneely of Kennewick, Wash., and the massive Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif., have one thing in common: they were the winning owners in last weekend’s Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders’ Futurity and Derby at Los Alamitos.

For the Meneelys, the $490,000 PCQHRA Futurity win by Ima Chickie Too last Saturday night was their biggest victory. For more than a decade, they have raised their own horses, emphasizing quality.

“Am I awake?” Don Meneely asked in the winner’s circle. “Am I dreaming?”

Ima Chickie Too, a small filly who may weigh less than 950 pounds, had a perfect trip in the 350-yard PCQHRA Futurity, breaking well and holding off stablemate Long Gone to win by a half-length in stakes-record time of 17.19 seconds.

“We thought we had a good shot with her,” Don Meneely said. We thought she needed to break and get a whiff of clean air.”

The PCQHRA Futurity was Ima Chickie Too’s first stakes win, and a turnaround from the Governor’s Cup Futurity in July. Ima Chickie Too was the fastest qualifier for that race, but was impeded by eventual winner Long Gone midway through the race. As a result, Long Gone was disqualified and placed behind Ima Chickie Too, who had finished ninth.

Ima Chickie Too and Long Gone are trained by Adan Farias, who swept the first three positions in the PCQHRA Futurity when the longshot Illegal Smile finished third.

Ima Chickie Too will be pointed for the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials on Nov. 20. The final is on Dec. 11.

Vessels Stallion Farm won the $168,500 PCQHRA Derby on Friday with the 9-1 outsider Onemoreglassofwine, who won her first stakes. It was the latest stakes win for one of Quarter Horse racing’s most prominent breeders.

A 3-year-old filly, Onemoreglassofwine is a true homebred of Vessels. She was bred at the farm in northern San Diego county, has bloodlines based on generations of the farm’s breeding, and is based there with farm trainer Francisco Ramirez, 36, a former jockey.

Onemoreglassofwine gave Ramirez his first stakes win.

Vessels had three of the 10 finalists in the PCQHRA Derby, but Onemoreglassofwine was the one who caught the eye of Kash Vessels, whose family owns and operates the farm.

“I did have $20 to win on the 8,” he said, holding up the ticket as proof.