LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE, CYPRESS, CA... July 24, 2003 -- Vinewood Farms' Corona Clique, one of the meet's most impressive 2-year-olds, returns for her first start since the Kindergarten Futurity to take on strong rivals in Sunday's $11,550 allowance at Los Alamitos.
Corona Clique was the 3-5 favorite in the Kindergarten after a pair of solid victories; however, she was never able to threaten the awesome Hawkish and had to settle for a fourth place finish. The filly has not raced since then, but she did breeze 300 yards in :12.90 on June 22.
Before the Kindergarten, Corona Clique was flawless in her two victories, breaking her maiden by 3/4 lengths before posting the fastest qualifying time in the Kindergarten trials. If Corona Clique approached that form, she will be tough to beat in this allowance. Eddie Garcia will pilot the Corona Cartel filly for trainer R.C. Howell.
Dream Dollars and Devoted Word, a pair of horses with stakes experience, figure to give Corona Clique a run for her money. Racing for Roger McDowell and Michael Rosenthal, Dream Dollars won a couple of races - including a trial to the Governor's Cup Futurity - before making her stakes debut in the California Breeders Freshman Stakes. Dream Dollars broke alertly in that race but as she veered out she faded to seventh place.
The always red-hot combination of trainer Paul Jones and jockey Ramon Sanchez will team up with Devoted Word in this race. The Buzz Word filly did everything right when posting a 1 1/4 length win on the way to qualifying to the Governor's Cup. Devoted Word posted a solid effort in the final, running fifth against a group that included winner Metallic Lion, two-time futurity finalist Dividends Declared and A Ransom's younger sibling, Righteous Brother. Flat Out Fabulous, the daughter of former Los Alamitos Derby winner Sheza First Down, Laico Cartel and First Payboy will complete the field.
Deana and Yvette Baiser's Li'l Lulu will put her five-race winning streak on the line when she takes on recent maiden winner Tizznizzel in the $10,100 fourth race on Sunday. Li'l Lulu has certainly developed into a big Thoroughbred star at Los Alamitos, as she's won races at three different claiming levels at the Orange County oval. The Truce Maker mare will look to conquer a fourth claiming level, as she will be taking on $5,000 rivals. Baltazar Contreras, the winner of the first four races last Sunday, will be aboard Li'l Lulu.
Jose Cruz enjoyed his biggest night of the year on July 19, as the 23-year-old jockey won three races at Los Alamitos.
His richest win was a $9,650 race aboard Bubba Be Gone, who defeated five other $16,000 claimers at 7-1 odds. Cruz also piloted the 12-1 longshot Karat Snapper in the fourth race and the 5-2 second choice The Secret On Red in the sixth. While thrilled with his success, Cruz still kept his big evening in perspective.
"This is my first triple at Los Alamitos but I still want to accomplish a lot more," Cruz said. "I had some big day in Mexico last year but it's nice to do well at Los Alamitos."