Los Alamitos Race Course, Cypress, CA - August 2, 2003 - Who wants to be a millionaire? Whosleavingwho, that's who. Reigning Co-World Champion Whosleavingwho became the first horse other than A Ransom to win the Vessels Maturity since 1999 after rallying from a length deficit to win the Grade 1 $125,800 final Saturday at Los Alamitos.
In the process, the Texas-bred became Quarter Horse racing's 36th millionaire after his $52,836 share of the purse took his career tally to $1,004,559. Owned by Kim Kessinger and Jim Geiler, Whosleavingwho actually ranks 35th in the all-time list, moving ahead of 2001 All American Futurity winner Ausual Suspect's $1.003 million.
Ridden by Joe Badilla for trainer Paul Jones, Whosleavingwho needed a big rally to win but he also had to sweat out a long inquiry before being crowned millionaire. Breaking from post eight, the son of Chicks Beduino was bumped at the start and again later in the race. He was nearly knocked sideways at that point when a chain reaction of horses bumping against each other reached him in the middle of the track. After regaining his stride, Whosleavingwho bumped his inside rivals back before pulling away from this bunch to score a 3/4-length win over Rare Coup.
With all this action going on, the stewards immediately posted the inquiry sign, which included looking at Whosleavingwho's actions in the race. After a long review of the tape, the stewards decided there would be no change in order of finish and Whosleavingwho was officially a millionaire. "The stewards made the right call," said Charles Treece, trainer of Rare Coup. "Whosleavingwho did not do anything wrong to be disqualified."
"Naturally, I'm happy that Whosleavingwho won the race," Jones added. "But I'm upset because my other horse, Your First Moon, got the worst of the trouble. I think the horses on the inside came out and bumped with my horses. I would have loved to see a cleaner race but there is no doubt that Whosleavingwho was good enough to win this race. I do feel bad for Your First Moon because she was doing great coming into this race."
Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Whosleavingwho covered the 400-yards in :19.72. Whosleavingwho's victory, his fifth in his six starts this year, assures that he will remain the nation's #1 ranked Quarter Horse. A winner of 18 of 32 career starts, Whosleavingwho could make his next start in the Go Man Go Handicap on August 30.
"The Go Man Go is a tentative spot," Jones added. "He'll definitely run in the Los Alamitos Championship (on September 27) and for sure in the Champion of Champions (on December 13)."
One horse that figures to be part of Go Man Go is Rare Coup, the Vessels runner-up at 26-1 odds, who also finished third in last year's edition of the Vessels Maturity. Ridden by Hector Cuevas, Rare Coup earned $21,386 for his effort in the Vessels to take his career earnings to $78,910. Racing for Lake Matthews Mare Farm, Rare Coup will now set his sights on the Go Man Go with the hope of earning his first berth in the Champion of Champions.
Rare Coup did become eligible to the Z. Wayne Griffin Director Trials on November 21, which serve as the trials to the Champion of Champions, with his second place finish in the Vessels. The horses with the three fastest times in the Director Trials will earn berths to the Champion of Champions.
"We'll go in the trials for sure but we want to go all the way in the Champion of Champions," Treece added. "This horse will keep getting better and he's run noses apart with Whosleavingwho before. He broke good tonight and I thought we were going to get Whosleavingwho. Hector rode the hair off this horse tonight. He really did a great job. We're now looking forward to the Go Man Go."
First Regards, last year's champion 3-year-old filly, is also eligible to the Directors Trials after running third in the Vessels final. Racing for Ramich Farms and trained by Jones, the First Place Dash mare earned $15,096 for finishing third. A career earner of $257,888, First Regards has hit the board in 16 of 20 starts.
Takin On Spoon Man, the longest shot on the board at 47-1, was fourth. Sammies White Chick, Miami Cartel, Dinastia Toll, Bobcat Bob, Harley Man and Your First Moon followed him across the wire.