01/08/2009 12:00AM

Magic Show Czech lands in softer spot


Magic Show Czech, who has raced in six Grade 1 stakes, finds a much easier spot when he lines up against six other 4-year olds in the $25,000 Cypress Stakes at 350 yards on Saturday night at Los Alamitos.

Magic Show Czech was among the best in his division at 2 and 3 with a win in the 2007 Governor's Cup Derby and a second in the 2008 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, both Grade 1 races.

Trained by Felipe Quintero, Magic Show Czech is coming off a 60-day layoff after finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 9. He won his Super Derby trial by a head over Grade 1 winners Stylish Jess BR and Eye for Corona.

JP Rhythm tries the Los Alamitos stakes ranks after setting a track record at the rarely run distance of 330 yards in his latest start. He was timed in 16.10 seconds while winning his second straight race.

Trainer Paul Jones is represented by Bannow Bay, Firstdown Just Gil, and Napa Valley Girl. Bannow Bay comes off an allowance win, Firstdown Just Gil has won his latest two starts, and Napa Valley Girl has won her latest two starts.

Louisiana Downs opens

The 40-date Louisiana Downs Quarter Horse meet starts on Saturday with a projected average daily purse distribution of $110,000.

"If opening day entries are any indication, we're in for a good meet," said racing secretary Trent McIntosh. Highlighting the first program are three competitive trials to the Grade 2, $100,000 Harrah's Derby. The finals will be on Jan. 31.

Two other $100,000 races, the Harrah's Futurity and the Mardi Gras Futurity, will be contested on closing day, March 17.

Defending champion trainer Janet VanBebber and Heath Taylor have brought stables for the meet. VanBebber won 30 percent of her starts last year and had 26 victories. Last year, Taylor was second nationally in races won and money earned.

Carter among Ruidoso hall honorees

Jockey G.R. Carter Jr., who could win his eighth champion Quarter Horse jockey title next week, will be inducted into the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame in June. He's the first active rider to earn this honor.

Carter joins trainer Ted Wells, the breeder-owner Allred brothers, and All American Futurity winner Strawberry Silk in the 2009 class.

Carter became the all-time leading money-earning jockey in June and the total earnings of his mounts now approaches $45 million. He was the sport's leading money-earning jockey during five years, including 2008. He has won nearly 2,900 races, including 262 stakes.

Wells conditioned many influential horses during the 1950s and into the 1970s. The highlight of his distinguished career was winning the 1965 All American Futurity with Savannah Jr. He will be inducted into the Oklahoma Horse Racing Hall of Fame on Feb. 14.

The three Allred brothers of Mesa, Ariz. - Jerry, Dale, and Harvey - built a highly respected breeding operation with a limited number of mares. They bred All American Futurity winner AB What a Runner and were inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

Strawberry Silk was the 1989 champion 2-year old after winning the All American Futurity. She has become a blue-hen producer with four stakes winners. Her champion son Stoli won the Grade 1 All American Derby and was the leading sire of juvenile money earners in 2008.

Memorial service for Thompson

A memorial service for jockey Sam Thompson, who died on Christmas morning, will be held 2 p.m. Pacific on Monday at Cottonwood Church, 4505 Katella Avenue, in Los Alamitos, Calif.

Thompson, 36, died from injuries sustained from a fall when his horse broke down while pulling up after a race at Los Alamitos on Dec. 21.

"Sam rode for so many owners and he knew so many people from so many different states who I never had the opportunity to meet," said his longtime girlfriend, Kristen Watanabe. "Sam's family would love for everyone who knew him to join us on this day."