10/14/2009 12:00AM

Major winners among Los Al trial fields


Arguably the toughest aspect of Quarter Horse racing is the constant requirement to participate in time trials for major races. Win an important stakes, congratulations. If you want to qualify for another, go run in the next set of trials. There are no free passes to major stakes for the owners of leading 2- and 3-year-olds.

This weekend at Los Alamitos, the programs are full of trials. Friday's program includes trials for the $1 million Super Derby on Nov. 7. Saturday's card is dominated by trials for the Golden State Million Futurity on Oct. 30.

The three Super Derby trials, the sixth through eighth races, have brought together a strong group. The first trial features Tres Passes, the winner of the Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million futurities last year; Jessanotheraffair, who won the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Derby on Oct. 2; and Fantastic Corona Jr., the runner-up in the All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs on Sept. 6. Tres Passes was only fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Golden State Derby on Aug. 29.

The second division is weaker. It is led by Cartels First Card and Rieda Hay Worth, who were fourth and fifth in the PCQHRA Derby. In the eighth race, Foose and A Tempting Dash, second and third in the Golden State Derby, must beat Royal Proclamation, who was third in the All American Derby.

The 10 fastest times over 440 yards, regardless of finishing position, will advance to the finals, which carries an all-important automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions on Dec. 12. The Champion of Champions annually plays a major role in World Championship voting.

The Golden State Million is expected to have as many as 11 time trials, a large number befitting a major stakes. The 10 fastest times over 400 yards advance to the final, which is held the night before the Oct. 31 Challenge Championship program, a card of major stakes for Quarter Horse around the nation at Los Alamitos.

Two of the leading contenders in the Golden State trials are Peace Fire, the winner of the Governor's Cup Futurity in July, and LD Fire, who dead-heated for first in the Ed Burke Million Futurity in June.

The relatively inexperienced Bring the Bling, a brother to the champions Ocean Runaway and Wave Carver, will attempt to qualify for his first futurity, having unseated jockey Ramon Sanchez in a division of the All American trials at Ruidoso Downs in August.