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LOS ALAMITOS : Ah Sigh Looks More Like Oh Wow


Jockey John Creager added another stakes victory to his already impressive resume when he won Friday's $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby with Ah Sigh.

Creager, who was honored by the American Quarter Horse Assn. as champion rider of 1994, has been aboard some of the top horses in the sport, and has won nearly every major race at Los Alamitos. He was on Sgt Pepper Feature when he won the Champion of Champions, and rode Prissy Fein, Florentine and Chicks Beduino to stakes victories during their illustrious careers.

"I love all of them," Creager said. "They're all pretty special. You kind of hate to say which one's your favorite. It's like when you have six kids, you don't really have a favorite."

Now, Creager has another big winner in Ah Sigh, last year's champion 2-year-old filly.

Under the guidance of trainer Charlie Bloomquist, Ah Sigh is nearly repeating her performance of '94, when she won eight of nine starts and three major stakes. With her victory in the Los Alamitos Derby, Ah Sigh has won three of four races, including two Grade I derbies, in 1995.

Unlike her demeanor in previous starts, Ah Sigh acted up before the Los Alamitos Derby, rearing in the gate and acting fractious.

"She's always been a pretty good gate horse," Creager said. "She got a little excited the other night. She could have gotten away a little bit sharper, but she still got away good."

Ah Sigh had her mind set on running once the gate opened, and took control from the start. Pulling away from the field at the gap, she won by a neck in 19.83 seconds for the 400 yards.

The victory put Ah Sigh, owned by Ah Sigh Enterprises, in line for another championship award in 1995, and qualifies her for the Champion of Champions in December.

"She's an awful good mare," Creager said. "On the right day, she can probably beat any of them, and she doesn't have many bad days. She always runs with authority."

For Creager, who is also the regular rider for World Champion Down With Debt, the stakes victory is yet another pay-back for a lifetime of hard work.

"It's great to have some nice horses like that to ride," he said. "It kind of makes you want to go to work and keep going. It gives you a little more incentive."

Throughout his career, Creager's motivation hasn't been simply to win races or to ride the best horses, it's the result of a strong work ethic derived from growing up on a cattle ranch in Utah.

"If a person can just go out and do the best you can do every day, that's a pretty big accomplishment," Creager said.

"I'm lucky. A lot of people don't get to make a living doing what they enjoy."

Los Alamitos Notes

Los Alamitos is offering harness simulcasts from Sportsman's Park and Balmoral Park in Illinois. At least one harness simulcast will be shown each racing night, in addition to races from Delta Downs and Mexico City. . . . Barbara Jagoda's Magna Terra Smoky became the first Arabian to surpass $250,000 in earnings when he won his 41st race in 94 starts Friday night. . . . Margaret Leard's The Money Crunch scored a head victory over Mongoose Effort in the $12,000 Lancaster Handicap on Saturday night, running 350 yards in 17.58 seconds.

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