09/29/2014 4:07PM

Significant Heart by a neck in Mildred Vessels Handicap

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CYPRESS, Calif. – Significant Heart earned a qualifying berth for the $600,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 13 with a victory in Sunday’s $150,000 Mildred Vessels Handicap for Quarter Horse fillies and mares.

But the race was marred by a fatal injury to Native Tea Rose, who suffered an apparent spinal-cord injury about 30 yards after the start of the 400-yard race. Native Tea Rose was euthanized on the track after being treated for several minutes by veterinarians. Native Tea Rose was fourth in the 2012 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and was a four-time stakes winner.

Native Tea Rose was owned by Abigail Kawananakoa and trained by Paul Jones. They are the owner and trainer of Significant Heart.

Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio, Significant Heart ($42.20) was timed in 19.61 seconds, finishing a neck in front of the Jones-trained Check N Fetch. Matabari, the 8-5 favorite, finished third in her first start since a third in the 2013 Champion of Champions last December.

Check N Fetch was the champion older female of 2013, while Matabari was that year’s champion 3-year-old filly.

Nellie Delaney, who won the Los Alamitos Winter Championship against males last February, earning a Champion of Champions berth, finished fourth Sunday. Sent off as the 9-5 second choice, Nellie Delaney broke through the gate before the start. She was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Significant Heart.

A 4-year-old filly, Significant Heart has won 7 of 18 starts and $226,517.