Jockey Santiago Mendez was released from the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center on Sunday afternoon and was resting at his home following an accident in the winner’s circle area after the running of Saturday’s $61,600 Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity.
Mendez was in the winner’s circle after guiding the Dan Ray and John Orlandini-owned filly Alota Cartel to an impressive wire to wire ¾ length victory in the 350-yard Claiming Futurity for 2-year-old Quarter Horses. But all thoughts immediately turned to Mendez when his mount bucked him off to the ground as they prepared to have their photograph taken. The jockey appeared to be unconscious immediately after the fall, but he regained alertness several minutes later. He was transported to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and kept overnight for further observation. He was released on Sunday and while still very sore, he was feeling better according to reports. The talented rider is currently the meet’s eighth leading Quarter Horse jockey with 22 victories. Alota Cartel walked out of the winner’s circle under her own power.
A daughter of Carters Cartel and out of the mare Alota Beduino, Alota Cartel has won three of her four career outings with Mendez piloting her in all of her starts. Alota Cartel has won her last three races and in her previous outing she posted the fastest qualifying time to the Claiming Futurity. The owners claimed her for $12,500 out of her Claiming Futurity trial from Balgo Racing Team Inc., who also bred the filly. Trained by Charles Treece, she’s the first Quarter Horse ever owned by Ray and Orlandini. Alota Cartel earned $25,872 for finishing first in the Claiming Futurity in a 350-yard time of :17.807. She has now earned $31,582 in her career.
Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Rp Jets Azoomen earned $10,472 for finishing second in the Claiming Futurity. Carlos Huerta rode the Azoom gelding for trainer Jose De La Torre. Steve Mickaelian’s Mozilla finished third and earned $10,472. Chicks On Wings, George The Curious, Separate Gift Jh3, Candelaria Sport, Top Fuel Cha Cha, She Pays Dividends and Think About It completed the field.