Los Alatimos Race Course, Cypress, CA - June 20, 2003 - Paul Jones will send out four 2-year-olds to Donna McArthur's three in the richest race of California Breeders Champions Night - the $342,500 Governor's Cup Futurity at 350 yards. The Governor's Cup is slated as the 13th race on the card.
Jones, the reigning AQHA Champion Trainer, will send out Kindergarten Futurity runner-up Metallic Lion, Devoted Word, Frequent Strawflyer and Sometimes You Win. Of the four, only Sometimes You Win did not win his Governor's Cup trial.
Racing for Anjora Corp, Metallic Lion has won three of four starts this year and his Kindergarten effort makes him the one to beat in this final. Ramon Sanchez, the sport's champion jockey last season, will be aboard the son of Apollo. Jones won this race with Copper Buff three years ago.
McArthur won the Governor's Cup with Corona Cash in 1996. With the help of Corona Cash, who three months later would win the All American Futurity, and eventual World Champion Dashing Folly, McArthur became the 1996 AQHA Champion Trainer. She will now be looking for her triumph in this futurity when she is represented by Honor And Cherish and the Double Bar S Ranch-entry of Long Stemmed Roses and Dividends Declared.
Connie Hall has a powerful contender in Pazazz Quarterhorses' Righteous Brother, a full-brother of 2000 World Champion A Ransom, who is more than capable of spoiling Jones and McArthur's dreams in the Governor's Cup. Righteous Brother will enter this race after posting the fastest qualifying time in the trials on June 6. Andreini, Keller and Schvaneveldt's Pencilmein and Javier Gonzalez's Dreaming First will complete the field.
Red-hot filly Magic And Rhythm will go after her fourth win in a row - and third stakes win in that span - in the $137,700 Governor's Cup Derby. Magic And Rhythm blew away the likes of Sum Special Strawfly and Radium Rays when winning her derby trial on June 7. Concepcion Balderrama will send out Magic And Rhythm for EG High Desert Farms.
Jones will have a strong trio in this race in Sum Special Strawfly, Dealadash and Cee A Dash. Sum Special Strawfly won the El Primero Del Ano Derby earlier this year, while Dealadash was second to stablemate Lock To Load in the Winter Derby.
Trainer Connie Hall will saddle two outstanding 2-year-olds for the $25,000 Freshman Stakes at 350 yards. They are Pazazz Quarterhorses' Lani Chick, an impressive maiden winner in her career debut, and Tessa and Wade Siegel's Dorothy Nell. Two-time winner Dream Dollars, who just missed qualifying to the Governor's Cup Futurity and Kindergarten Futurity finalist Shyanns Cash are among the others in this race.
World record holder Classic Sassy Chic, West Texas Derby runner-up Fortune First, and local derby finalists A Mere Special and Fine Wines are among the 10 sophomores in the $25,000 Jens L. List Jr. Memorial California Breeders Stakes at 400 yards.
"Classic Sassy Chic has lot her last few outings but she's been running her race each time," said trainer Felix Gonzalez. "If she keeps performing the way she has been running, she'll be fine."
A Mere Special was the top qualifier to the El Primero Del Ano Derby, where he finished fourth, while Fine Wines was the fastest qualifier to the La Primera Del Ano Derby.
Coupers First Dash will be looking to defend her Matron Stakes title in the $50,000 test for older mares at 400 yards. Racing for EG High Desert Farms, Coupers First Dash will take on Mini Rock, the top 3-year-old filly last season, 2002 Governor's Cup Derby winner Last Shall Be First, and multiple stakes heroines Inthetwinkleofaneye and Sammies White Chick.
Also looking for a repeat win on Champions Night will be Valberry Pie, who'll be looking to duplicate his victory in the $25,000 Sprint Stakes. Valberry Pie will take on Debuts Dasher, himself a winner of the Sophomore Stakes last Champions Night, Chicks First Policy, the champion 3-year-old gelding in 2000, Southern California Derby runner-up Harley Man and Carmel Handicap winner Truly Tia.
With the recently retired champion Sign Of Lanty no longer the focal point of the distance division, there will be a new distance star crowned in the $25,000 Marathon Stakes at 870 yards. Seven will be in action in this race including Ed Allred's Rail Skimmer, a winner of two overnight handicaps around the turn last year, and 870-yard derby winner He Doll. Chicks Charger Easy, another veteran of the distance wars, and promising distance runner Harbor Beach and War And Remembrance will also see action. The $25,000 550-Yard Sophomore Stakes and six claiming stakes race will complete the Champions Night program.