12/11/2010 2:14PM

Touching win for Vessels Stallion Farm in Los Alamitos Two Million


One Quick First Down, the second-longest shot in the field, won the $2,033,700 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity at Los Alamitos on Friday evening, giving the Vessels Stallion Farm a poignant victory in the track’s richest race.

The win came four months after Scoop Vessels died in a plane crash in Oregon, and two weeks after One Quick First Down’s broodmare sire, First Down Dash, died at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif. First Down Dash, who was 27 at the time of his death, is Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading sire.

Scoop’s widow, Bonnie Vessels, was part of a large group of Vessels family members and farm employees who attended Friday’s race, and watched One Quick First Down run his best race.
Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves for trainer Adan Farias, One Quick First Down ($59.20) broke from the outside post in a field of 10 and won the 400-yard race by a nose over 5-2 favorite Flying Fig. Adashin First Dash, finished third, a head behind Flying Fig.

Flying Fig, who broke from the rail, led by as much as a half-length early, but could not hold off One Quick First Down.

A winner of 2 of 5 starts and $821,669, One Quick First Down, who is by the Thoroughbred stallion Quick Action, was timed in 19.41 seconds. The win in the Los Alamitos Two Million was worth $818,874.

One Quick First Down was fortunate to be in the final. In the time trials on Nov. 20, he won his division in 19.577 seconds, the same time as All N the Jeans, who had run second in a separate trial. The two horses shared the 10th and final qualifying time, requiring a random shake the to determine which horse would run in the Los Alamitos Two Million and which would run in the $35,000 Los Alamitos Juvenile on Friday, the consolation race. One Quick First Down won the draw.

Bonnie Vessels, who said she bet $20 across on One Quick First Down, said the victory confirmed her late husband’s faith in Quick Action, who now stands in Indiana. Scoop Vessels was a past president of the American Quarter Horse Association and a member of Thoroughbred racing’s Jockey Club.

“This is about Scoop and how he stuck with his convictions about the young stallion that he believed in,” she said.

“He always liked Quick Action, but we only kept one of them and this is the one we kept,” she said of racing One Quick First Down. “This is another glimpse of what Scoop was all about. He knew horses. He loved horses.”