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LOS ALAMITOS : Refrigerator Is Ready to Run in the Go Man Go Handicap

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

“The Refrigerator is on the grounds,” went the refrain when the bay gelding returned to the Los Alamitos barn area a month ago. Now he is ready to run and will start in Friday’s Go Man Go Handicap.

With nearly $2 million in earnings, he will make only his second start of the year. His first, in the Remington Park Championship at Oklahoma City, proved a disappointment as Sound Dash beat the heavily favored Refrigerator by a neck.

“It was just too far with too tough of horses for his first time out,” owner Jim Helzer said. “I knew it was a high-risk deal, but I thought I owed it to the Oklahoma people to take him there.”

In 1993, Refrigerator was perfect in five starts. He finished the year by winning his second Champion of Champions, quarter horse racing’s most prestigious event for older horses. He was voted world champion older horse for the second time before heading back to Helzer’s 34-acre ranch in Arlington, Tex.

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Helzer sent Refrigerator back into training at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico on April 1, then to Remington Park for the July 3 race.

Helzer bought Refrigerator as a 2-year-old for $150,000 and after correcting his bleeding and other problems, watched the gelding reel off victory after victory. In 28 starts, Refrigerator has 20 victories, seven seconds and a third.

“He puts a lot of pressure on us when he runs,” Helzer said. “We hate to see him get beat. I want to make sure he goes out a champion.”

Blane Schvaneveldt, who trains Refrigerator, also nominated the Helzer-owned Hopkins, a 4-year-old by Streakin Six, and multiple-stakes winner Make Mine Bud for the Go Man Go. He entered Refrigerator and Make Mine Bud but wasn’t sure if Make Mine Bud would start.

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Charles Bloomquist nominated Down With Debt, who won the July 30 Las Damas Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths in her second start of the year.

In six races last fall, Refrigerator won the two races Down With Debt lost. In the Champion of Champions, she came closest to him, running second by three-quarters of a length.

Trainer Jaime Gomez nominated his champion for the Go Man Go, too. Four Forty Blast, top 3-year-old of 1993, will be making only his second start of the year.

Avison, a Connie Hall-trained 4-year-old who has the fastest 350- and 400-yard races of the meeting; Shawnes Diamond, who defeated Refrigerator in the 1992 Go Man Go, and the Charles Treece-trained Brotherly fill out the field.

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Kenny Hart, who leads all active jockeys with 2,196 Los Alamitos victories, plans to return to the track after Labor Day. Currently riding at Ruidoso Downs, Hart rode Meter Me Gone for trainer Danny Cardoza in the Malibu Overnight Handicap two weeks ago.

Hart was the leading rider 10 times between 1975 and 1983--the track had winter and summer meetings in those days--and Cardoza, who retired his tack at the end of last year, led nine meets. Cardoza, however, topped the victory count with 2,528.

“I really thought I’d outlast him,” Cardoza said of his longtime friend and former rival.

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Los Alamitos received approval from the California Horse Racing Board to change first post time on Sundays to 4 p.m. and to conduct a special Labor Day race program on Monday, Sept. 5.

The Sunday twilight racing began Aug. 5, and will continue through the end of the meeting on Dec. 18. The track tested Sunday afternoons in 1990, and again on two Sundays this summer, and found the schedule popular among fans.

The Labor Day program will include a simulcast of the Grade I, $2-million All-American Futurity from Ruidoso Downs. The race is scheduled to run at 2:30 and might include local runners. The track is giving up it’s Thursday, Sept. 8, program in exchange.

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Jungle Raised might join the local contingent of All-American Futurity hopefuls when trials are held at Ruidoso Downs.

The Daryn Charlton-trained runner won the Grade I Governor’s Futurity Cup, earning $65,250 for her owner, Spencer Childers, and disrupting the expected showdown between Ah Sigh and Dicey Secret.

Ah Sigh, favored off her convincing performance in the Miss Kindergarten, saw horses pass her for the first time as she finished third by a neck. Dicey Secret, continued her routine of running second after winning her trial heat.

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Docs Keepin Time, who left the track for Hollywood, will be back for a brief appearance at Los Alamitos Friday. The 7-year-old stallion, who stars in the newly released “Black Beauty,” will perform all his tricks from the movie--bowing, lying down, rearing, sitting down and playing ball, with guidance from his trainer, Rex Peterson.


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