11/07/2008 12:00AM

Super Derby crucial race for One Famous Eagle


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - The six-race winning streak that One Famous Eagle has compiled over the last 50 weeks will be greatly diminished if he loses Sunday's $933,750 Los Alamitos Super Derby for 3-year-old Quarter Horses.

Owners Johnny Trotter and Burnett Ranches and trainer John Bassett have the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 13 as a year-end goal for One Famous Eagle. The Champion of Champions plays a pivotal role in year-end championship voting for Quarter Horses, and the Los Alamitos Super Derby, run over 400 yards, carries an automatic berth to the Champion of Champions.

A loss in the Super Derby would force One Famous Eagle into the trials for the Champion of Champions later this month. Bassett wants to avoid giving One Famous Eagle another taxing race this month.

"We've gotten to a position that we want," he said of Sunday evening's race. The Champion of Champions "is where we want to go. If we can get in without the trials, that would be best."

One Famous Eagle won the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity last December and is perfect in four starts this year, including the $313,900 Golden State Derby on Aug. 30. In the Oct. 17 time trials for the Super Derby, One Famous Eagle won by a half-length over fellow qualifier Daddy Dasher, but needed a reminder from jockey Saul Ramirez Jr. during the race.

"He ran the first half pretty good and he got kind of lonely out there," Bassett said.

Bassett said that One Famous Eagle is plagued by foot problems, which makes the three-week break between the trials and finals all the more important.

"These horses have to have some time," he said. "He has a few issues that we have to work with."

For the final, which has drawn 10 horses, One Famous Eagle breaks from post 2 and will be heavily favored. He is drawn between Daddy Dasher on the rail, with Short Czech, the runner-up in the Governor's Cup Derby earlier this year, and Eye for Corona, the winner of the 2007 Golden State Million, to his outside. The field also includes the 2008 stakes winners Stylish Jess Br and A Mere Chocolate.

Bassett said the draw, and specifically the rivals surrounding One Famous Eagle, will work in the colt's favor.

"There's some horses around that can leave there, and it's that early speed we need," he said.