Trainer Matt Fales enjoyed his first stakes victory at Los Alamitos after saddling Larry Stark’s homebred Jess A Cowboy to a half-length win over Tim Holdaway’s Justified in the $16,000 He Flys Handicap on Friday at Los Alamitos. The He Flys is for horses that have competed in the Intermountain, Northwest, Arizona and Nevada regions this year.
Ridden by Cruz Mendez for the first time, Jess A Cowboy broke from post number four and led right away en route to his ninth victory in 23 career starts. A talented stakes winner, Jess A Cowboy won the $60,000 Bank of America Turf Paradise Championship Challenge on April 30, earned $8,800 for the win to take his career bankroll to $155,858. As for Fales, the young horseman is one of the top Quarter Horse trainers in Arizona. He’s been campaigning horses for over a year now at Los Alamitos and even saddled Heat Warning to a fifth place finish in the Grade 1 Champion of Champions last year. He can now add a Los Alamitos stakes win to his list of accolades.
“It’s a great feeling and I’m on cloud nine,” Fales said after the He Flys. “I’m very proud of my horse. He’s done really good for us his entire career. I’m thankful to Larry Stark for letting me train him and I’m thankful to Los Alamitos Race Course. It’s a dream come true (to train here).”
Fales said that Jess A Cowboy will now be pointed to the October 6 Blane Schvaneveldt Stakes, which is also for horses from the Intermountain, Northwest, Arizona and Nevada regions.
“Los Alamitos has integrated a really nice Intermountain program and being that I run a lot of my horses in Arizona it fits me like a glove,” Fales added. “Hopefully we can continue on. Tonight I have a few really nice babies running here and (owner) Martha Wells has let me run a few of my horses in Arizona. I have a couple of in tonight. Jess A Cowboy will come back and I may have a couple of more horses here.”
Sired by the stallion Dejon and out of the mare Secret Return, Jess A Cowboy has finished in the money in 16 of23 career starts. He entered this race after running fifth in the Bank Of America California Championship Challenge where he faced Go Man Go Handicap runner-up Flash N Bling and Vessels Maturity runner-up The Charm Of Corona. Jess A Cowboy has competed in the Grade 1 Bank of America Championship held here last year.
Trained by Monty Arrossa, Justified ran gamely to finish in second place. He’s now hit the board in eight of 15 career starts. Justified is by the sire Foose and out of Special Leader dam Special Wave. He earned $3,600 for running second. Adequan California Derby winner Genuine Version finished third and was followed by Buckshot Cartel, Cypress Sally, and Mr First Dash completed the field.
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