Bannister won futurities in Utah and California last year, a season that ended with a disappointing sixth&#45;place finish in the minor Holiday Handicap at Los Alamitos on Dec. 30.The loss was quickly forgotten when Bannister won his first start of 2017 in a division of the Los Alamitos Winter Derby trials for Quarter Horses on Jan. 21. Bannister set the second&#45;fastest qualifying time and may be favored in Saturday&rsquo;s Grade 1, $224,900 final at 400 yards.The difference between the loss in the Holiday Handicap and the trial win was extensive schooling at the starting gate, trainer Monte Arrossa said on the night of the trials.&ldquo;You have to throw it out,&rdquo; he said of the loss in the Holiday Handicap. &ldquo;He didn&rsquo;t get away from the gate. We&rsquo;ve been working a lot with the gate crew, and they&rsquo;ve helped us a lot.&rdquo;Owned by Denny and Sandy Weigt of Jerome, Idaho, Bannister has won 7 of 10 starts and earned $96,541. The $118,200 Wild West Futurity at Los Alamitos in October is his richest win. Last May, Bannister won the $69,175 Beehive Futurity, a non&#45;parimutuel race at Weber Downs in Ogden, Utah.Bannister was timed in 19.74 seconds in the Winter Derby trials. The filly Jess Hawk set the fastest time of 19.73 seconds with a trial win. The Winter Derby will be her first appearance in a major stakes. Jess Hawk is one of four fillies in the field, along with the trial&#45;race winners Kiddy Up Cowgirl and Staggering Stride.The richest runners in the field are One Proud Eagle, who has earned $275,855, and Katella Deli, who has earned $265,807. One Proud Eagle won the Grade 3, $428,400 Kindergarten Futurity last May and the Grade 2, $151,250 Challenge Juvenile Championship in October. One Proud Eagle was third behind Jess Hawk in the Winter Derby trials after a poor start.Katella Deli, a gelding named for a popular restaurant not far from Los Alamitos, was third in the Grade 1, $1,908,050 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Dec. 11 and won a division of the Winter Derby trials.