12/11/2016 2:50PM

Zoomin for Spuds' victory muddles QH World Champion race


CYPRESS, Calif. - Zoomin for Spuds won the richest race of his career, and fourth consecutive start, in Saturday’s $600,000 Champion of Champions for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, denying Heza Dasha Fire a second consecutive win in the 440-yard race.

Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala, Zoomin for Spuds ($22) was second for the first half of the race, trailing Heza Dasha Fire by as much as three-quarters of a length, before taking the lead in the final 100 yards. Zoomin for Spuds won by a head over Heza Dasha Fire, the 2015 World Champion who was the 1-2 favorite.

Big Lew, the winner of the Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 6, finished third in the field of 10.

The loss by Heza Dasha Fire will have ramifications for the title of 2016 World Champion. Heza Dasha Fire could have clinched the title with a win on Saturday; the Champion of Champions plays a pivotal role in championship voting. The 3-year-old EC Jet One, who won the All American Derby, and the 2-year-old Imperial Eagle, who won the All American Futurity, are likely to gain support for the World Champion title.

Zoomin for Spuds was timed in 21.3 seconds. Owned by breeder Jim Walker of Bellevue, Idaho, and trained by Monty Arrossa, Zoomin for Spuds has won 8 of 18 starts and $415,543. A five-time stakes winner, Zoomin for Spuds won the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap and Wrangler Stakes at Los Alamitos in September and October. The 3-year-old gelding qualified for the Champion of Champions by winning a time trial on Nov. 13.

Arrossa said Zoomin for Spuds will remain at Los Alamitos over the winter and will start in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, which has trials on Jan. 22 and a final on Feb. 12.