Updated on 09/18/2011 2:32AM

An odd year for Directors Trial


Open berths in the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions will be filled Saturday night at Los Alamitos when Los Alamitos Championship winner Apollitical Time and Rainbow Derby winner Strawkins head the Z. Wayne Griffin Directors Trial.

"As it is right now we have two open berths," said Ron Church, racing secretary at Los Alamitos. "But that could change. We could have more."

This is an odd year for the Directiors Trial. For the first time there is only one trial. Also, Apollitical Time has already qualified for the Champion of Champions and is running simply so that she and her new jockey, Alex Bautista, can become acquainted. The seven other horses in the $20,000 Directors Trial will be racing for invitations to the Champion of Champions, which will be determined by Saturday's order of finish.

The Directors Trial and the Champion of Champions, which will be run Dec. 9, have a unique relationship. Not only does the Directors have a different name than the Champion of Champions, for which it serves as a trial, but the Directors Trial is held at 400 yards and the Champion of Champions is at 440 yards. This is the only Quarter Horse pairing of a qualifying race and a stakes at different distances.

Apollitical Time is a prime prospect for 2006 world champion with four graded stakes wins and a close second in the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap from five starts this year. She has Grade 1 wins in the Los Alamitos Championship and the Mildred Vessels Handicap, her two most recent races. Three starts ago she won the Grade 2 MBNA America California Challenge Championship in 21.18 seconds for 440 yards, just .01 seconds off Dash for Cash's 30-year-old track record.

Strawkins, on the board in 15 of 16 career starts, comes into the trial off a second-place finish in the Los Alamitos Championship, a half-length behind Apollitical Time.

Strawkins was named horse of the meet at Ruidoso Downs this summer after winning the Bayer Legend New Mexico Derby Challenge and setting a 440-yard track record of 20.736 seconds while winning the Grade 1 Rainbow Derby.

[strong]Futurity winners in Lone Star trials[/strong]

Dash for Cash Futurity winner Dont Let Down and two-time Grade 1 futurity winner Okey Dokey Fantasy head the trials to the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park on Saturday night.

Dont Let Down has excelled at the Grade 1 level at three different tracks. He was a close third in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park, third in the Grade 1 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, and comes off a win in the Grade 1 Dash for Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park. He won the Dash for Cash Futurity by a half-length as the 3-5 favorite.

Okey Dokey Fantasy, an earner of $491,329, returns after finishing last in the All American Futurity on Sept. 4, his first career defeat. He won his first eight starts, including a dead-heat win in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity, the Grade 1 Manor Downs Futurity, and the Grade 2 Longhorn Futurity.

First Carolina makes her first start since winning the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity over Dont Let Down on June 4. She is three-for-three lifetime and has earned $293,681.