featured graphic for Los Alamitos Race Course news

Favorite Professors’ Pride takes Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos Race Course



CYPRESS, Calif. –A stretch to two turns proved no issue for Professors’ Pride as the 9-5 favorite went all the way in the $100,500 Soviet Problem Stakes Friday at Los Alamitos.

Trained by Eddie Truman for owners Larry and Carolyn Samovar’s Academic Farms, the 2-year-old daughter of Bayern and the Twirling Candy mare Last Resort assumed control immediately and was never menaced, winning by three lengths under jockey Juan Hernandez.

Purchased for $60,000 in October of last year, Professors’ Pride is now 2-for-2 with earnings of $102,000. A one-length winner in her sprint debut Nov. 14 at Del Mar, she completed one mile in 1:36.94, the fastest time in the race restricted to fillies bred or sired in California since Sircat Sally won in record 1:35.42 in 2016.

Providing Hernandez with his second consecutive Soviet Problem victory – he tallied with Sensible Cat in 2020 – Professors’ Pride paid $5.60, $3.20 and $3.

Big Novel, the 9-5 second choice, rallied to complete the exacta, two lengths in front of Madiha, the longest shot in the field of eight at nearly 48-1. Big Novel returned $3 and $2.60 while the show price on Madiha was $8.

Completing the order of finish were Girl Ranger, Dendera, At the Spa, Rose Maddox and Munny Penny. Smilin Evie was scratched.

The stakes victory was the first for Truman, who will turn 75 Jan. 23, since Moonless Sky captured the Fran’s Valentine Stakes – via disqualification – May 21, 2017 at Santa Anita.

“That’s what we were hoping for,’’ said Truman. “When she started working I was kind of upset with the exercise riders working her too fast, then I realized she’s fast and she’s good. She would come back and not blow out a match.

“I wanted to run her two turns the first time, but there wasn’t a race, so I had to sprint her. Once I saw her go to the lead today, I said we have no excuses now.

“(Larry and Carolyn) have been clients of mine and friends for 40 years and have kept me alive all the down times. It’s so great to win for people like that who love the business so much and stuck with me through thick and thin.’’

Hernandez, who was also aboard when Professors’ Pride debut 24 days earlier, was left impressed.

“She broke sharp and was very comfortable on the lead,’’ he said. “It was her first time at a distance, but she changed leads at the quarter pole and was waiting for company. She was very professional.’’

One race before the Soviet Problem, trainer Art Sherman saddled the last runner of his illustrious training career. Unfortunately, he didn’t add to his 2,261 career wins as Chasing Alchemy, a 9-1 shot in the $50,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds, finished seventh under jockey Wayne Barnett.

Sherman, 84, was honored in a winner’s circle ceremony after the race. Best known for training two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome (2014, 2016), Sherman finished with more than $45 million in stable earnings. His first starter was Lady Lenda, who finished fourth in the seventh race at Golden Gate Fields April 4, 1979. Sherman’s first victory came later that year when Chase Me Round won a $8,500 allowance Sept. 25 at Bay Meadows.

“I appreciate all (Los Alamitos president and chairman of the board) Doc (Edward) Allred has done for me,’’ said Sherman, who stabled California Chrome locally for most of his career after the closure of Hollywood Park in 2013. “We’ve been good friends for a lot of years. We’ve had a wonderful time. I love the people in Orange County. They’ve always been close to my heart and I’m going to miss them.

“I got lucky enough to win a Kentucky Derby which is every trainer’s dream and winning the (2016) Pacific Classic (at Del Mar) meant a whole lot to me. California Chrome was a once in a lifetime horse.’’

Racing resumes Saturday at Los Alamitos. Post time for the next-to-last day of the Winter Meet is 12 Noon.

The main event on the 10-race program is the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity. Messier is the prohibitive 1-2 morning line favorite in the race at 1 1/16 miles for 2-year-olds.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who has won the Futurity seven years in a row at Los Alamitos, for a partnership, the Grade II is the ninth race on the card and has a scheduled post time of 3:58 p.m.

There is also a National Handicapping Championship qualifier Saturday with two seats up for grabs for the 2022 NHC in Las Vegas.

The cost to enter is $500 with $400 on a live money wagering card and the remaining $100 placed in the prize pool.

Players can bet win, place, show, exactas, trifectas and daily doubles on the Los Alamitos races. The two players with the highest bankroll at the conclusion of the card will earn the NHC berths.

The article above was released by Los Alamitos Race Course.