Owner Pete Parrella can tell you about a winning legacy in horse racing. He also has become an expert on the vicissitudes of the sport.
Parrella is the co-owner of Legacy Ranch in Chino and is represented by both quarter horse and thoroughbred divisions.
His quarter horse contingent left an indelible mark on Los Alamitos last Friday.
Legacy Ranch won the $245,000 Governor’s Cup Derby with Apprehend, reason alone for celebration.
But then two races later, Griswold, Apprehend’s 4-year-old full brother, won an allowance test in world-record time of 44.07 seconds for 870 yards.
His Legacy, a third Legacy Ranch horse, capped Parrella’s dream night by winning the final race.
“I’ve been in racing 25 years and an owner the last 10, and this was the most incredible night I’ve been around in this business,” Parrella said.
“If there’s any feeling higher than that, I don’t want to know. It’s too dangerous. I had to take sleeping pills that night.”
Parrella charges a stud fee of $4,000 for Merridoc at the 30-acre ranch. Merridoc sired winners of five of the 11 quarter horse races on the card Friday: the Legacy trio, Toosoontotell in the fifth race and Top Fuel Doc in the 12th.
Apprehend and Griswold are both by Merridoc out of the Fleet Mel mare Twist A Fleet. A third full brother, the 5-year-old Good Attitude, had a chance to complete a rare fraternal triple in the 12th race but finished fifth. He is not owned by Legacy.
Apprehend rallied under Henry Garcia to make up a length and catch 1989 divisional champion Way Maker at the wire by a head in :19.65 for the 400 yards.
“Henry kept his cool and did not panic after breaking badly,” Parrella said. “Take nothing away from Way Maker. Danny Cardoza (his jockey) said he wasn’t stopping. He’s also by Merridoc.”
Daryn Charlton trained both Apprehend and His Legacy, and Dan Francisco conditioned Griswold. Griswold drew off and won by 3 3/4 lengths under Kip Didericksen, obliterating the electronically timed standard of :44.23 set by Rise Again at Bay Meadows in 1987.
Griswold had not raced longer than 550 yards before.
“He was always flying at the end, and I thought he would like 870,” Francisco said. “I thought he was capable of breaking the track record (:44.41) but I didn’t think he’d break a world record.
“Kip wasn’t surprised. He just worked him in :45 (Nov. 24), and I’ve never had a horse work that fast before. I just wanted him to learn to negotiate the turn that morning, and Kip said afterward that he was sorry that he worked that fast.
“Griswold lost a shoe two jumps out of the gate, and that couldn’t have helped him.”
Parrella, 47, owns Parr Lumber Co. in Chino and four years ago bought Legacy Ranch. Eighteen months ago, he sold half of it to Jerry Moreland, a Villa Heights neighbor and race-car driver.
Legacy owns about 75 quarter horses and thoroughbreds.
“As soon as Jerry bought in, we won about 14 races in six or seven months,” Parrella said. “Dave Hofmans trains our thoroughbreds, and I had the greatest weekend of my career in April at Golden Gate Fields. For My Mom won the Miss California Stakes on one day, and His Legacy (no relation to the quarter horse of the same name) won the Tiburon Handicap the next. Jockey Ron Hansen tied a track record of six winners in one day on His Legacy.
“After that weekend, we went 0 for six months until two weeks ago. We went into a complete dry spell. We tasted victory, and now I know what they mean by the agony of defeat. His Legacy (the thoroughbred) came down sore, and we took chips out of For My Mom’s knee.
“On the Fourth of July, Apprehend was leading the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso (N.M.) 50 yards from the wire when he cracked his ankle and finished fifth.
“He came back to the ranch with a hairline fracture, and I have to give Shaun Hadley, our farm trainer, all the credit for getting him ready to run in the trial last month.”
Apprehend will return in the $250,000 Champion of Champions Saturday for the red-hot Legacy Stable, which finished third in the race last year with Griswold.
“If he doesn’t win, I won’t be disappointed,” Parrella said. “He’s coming back off eight days, and it’s a very tough race. Just being there is an accomplishment.”
Charlton will saddle both Apprehend and Jazzing Hi in the Champion of Champions, which is expected to determine 1990 World Champion honors. Four-time winner Blane Schvaneveldt will saddle Dash For Speed and Wicked Dash, and Bob Gilbert also will start a pair, Isaws Sugar Bear and Barbs Bounce.
A field of 10 is likely in the 440-yard race. The probable starters with jockeys in parentheses: See Me Do It (Larry Layton), Heisajoy (James Lackey), Jazzing Hi (Bruce Pilkenton), Tee Roy Reb (Steve Treasure), Apprehend (Henry Garcia), Sandys Love Bug (Danny Cardoza), Isaws Sugar Bear (John Creager), Barbs Bounce (G.R. Carter), Wicked Dash (Luke Myles), Dash For Speed (Kip Didericksen).
See Me Do It, a 4-year-old filly, seeks to become the first repeat winner of the race and first repeat World Champion since her grandsire, Dash For Cash, accomplished the feat in 1976 and 1977.
Trainer Bobby Turner said the filly bled while finishing fourth, a length behind, in the Breeders Championship Classic here Nov. 17 and is confident she will return to top form.
The reigning queen hates the sound of rain.
“She just gets real nervous and runs the stall when she hears rain,” said Jean Dillard, the horse’s owner-breeder from Ringling, Okla. “It rained for a couple of days before the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso last year, and Bobby had to stay up with her all night.”
Los Alamitos Notes
Trainer Carlos Lucero has been going through Los Alamitos claiming races like George Foreman through a buffet line. Lucero claimed six horses out of the Friday program and accounts for 34 of the 112 claims during the current session. The New Mexico conditioner has nine stalls with an assistant. His Friday claims included winners Jettin Gene and Raise in Class. He equalled his most expensive claims of the 34 by laying out $12,500 for both Casadys Cuzzin and I Like It Like Pie in other races.
Veteran trainer Rodney Hart, who has been at Los Alamitos for 30 years, scored the richest triumph of his career Saturday with Jacks Dash in the $334,000 Ed Burke Memorial Futurity. The 2-year-old gelding climaxed a triple for Hart and also gave jockey Henry Garcia a sweep of the two rich weekend stakes. Jacks Dash scored his third victory in four starts since Hart claimed the son of Dash For Cash for $12,500 here July 26.
“I liked his breeding,” said Hart. “He shin-bucked in that race, and we gave him until November to get over it. We’ll come back in the Golden State Futurity trials and hope to get into the final Dec. 29. That one’s even bigger: $500,000.”
Jacks Dash is owned by Alvin Ely of Riverside, who manages a catering and vending business.
Trainer Lee Roy Heidelberg hopes Tee Roy Reb draws a post away from the inside in the Champion of Champions. The 4-year-old son of thoroughbred Reb’s Policy romped to victory from the outside in a Champion of Champions trial after finishing third off the rail in the Breeders Championship Classic behind Heisajoy and Jazzing Hi.
Claude and Bessie Lea Jeane, breeders and owners of Heisajoy, will see him run for the first time since they sent him to California from Louisiana two years ago. “They left Monday in a mobile home,” said trainer H.L. Hooper of the Evans (La.) residents, who have an aversion to flying. They leave that to Heisajoy, one of the favorites in the Champion of Champions.