(Press release from Los Alamitos Race Course)
Ron Hartley’s champion Moonist is now a 10-time stakes winner at Los Alamitos Race Course following his dominant victory in the 55th running of the Grade 1, $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap on Sunday evening.
Racing from the outside post seven, Moonist defeated six solid rivals in the Go Man Go to earn a spot in the $600,000 Champion of Champions. The winner of the Go Man Go earned a berth to the Champion of Champions after trainer Juan Aleman confirmed last week that his All American Derby winner Apollitical Blood will skip the Champion of Champions in order to continue his sophomore campaign at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. With Apollitical Blood bypassing the Champion of Champions, then the winner of the Go Man Go, Moonist in this case, replaces him in the field to the Champion of Champions.
“It’s unbelievable to be in the Champion of Champions,” Hartley said. “We are there. We are in the Champion of Champions. With Moonist, if he breaks with the field then it’s ‘adios’. I’m not bragging, I’m not just saying what I believe about this horse.”
Ridden by Cesar De Alba for trainer John Cooper, Moonist is only the 13th horse to reach the double digit mark in career stakes wins in the 64-year history of Los Alamitos Race Course. He is the first to get to the 10 stakes win plateau here since multiple AQHA champion Apollitical Time won her 10th stakes race here back in November 2006.
“He’s a dandy,” Cooper said of Moonist. “He’s smart and he doesn’t waste a thing. We have had chances to win a race a get into the Champion of Champions, but something happened to Moonist in his previous attempts. He’s in there now and I thrill.”
A gelding by Separatist, Moonist covered the 400 yards in :19.599 while finishing 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Steve Burns’ Seperate Interest. Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, Moonist has won 19 of 28 starts and the $51,500 he earned in this Go Man Go now takes his career earnings to $643,694.
“I knew he was good when he was a 2-year-old, but I knew he was better than what I was getting out of him at the time,” Cooper said. “As soon as we gelded him we started seeing him he became a more focused horse. “
Moonist’ record of stakes wins include a record setting four derby victories last year and three previous stakes wins this year – the Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap, the Katella Handicap, and the Kaweah Bar Handicap.
“He ran third after false breaking before the start of the Vessels Maturity,” Cooper added. “He should have never been on the board in that race, but Moonist recover and ran a great race. If that race would have been at 440 yards I think he would have won the race.”
Moonist had no trouble dominating in the Go Man Go.
“He bobbled a little bit coming out of the gate and then he broke out. Then he started flying. I left him alone. I didn’t go to the whip once. He went inside a little bit, but I think he was just looking for the competition. Cooper is doing an awesome job with this horse. I told him that tonight. Cooper just ponies this horse for training. He doesn’t gallop him, he just ponies him. I’ll get on the horse for give him a workout once in a while, but that’s it.”
Moonist’s task of winning the Go Man Go was made easier following the early scratch of Vessels Maturity winner Far Niente. According to trainer Jose Hernandez, Far Niente nicked the outside of his right front foot when he got up this morning after resting in his stall.
“It happened (on Sunday) morning. It’s a very minor nick, but there’s so swelling and we don’t want to take any chances.” Hernandez said. “Far Niente should be fine in a couple of days. It’s bad timing that it happened on race day. We’re just being cautious with him.”
Ridden by Oscar Peinado for trainer Mike Casselman, Seperate Interest earned $18,000 for running second in the Go Man Go. Angel Villalobos’ French Fury earned $10,500 for finishing in third place. Well And Good, Joe Legacy, Stel Heights, and All Out Arrogant completed the field.
ALL TIME STAKES WINNERS AT LOS ALAMITOS
Horse No. Stakes Wins
Charger Bar 18
Kaweah Bar 18
Sign Of Lanty 16
Flight 109 13
A Ransom 12
Native Empress 11
Apollitical Time 10
Corona Cash 10
The Black Alliance 10