A year after Jose Flores saddled Glitter In My Face to win the 2013 running of the Kindergarten Futurity for his father, Jose Antonio Flores, the trainer saddled Old Girl to win this year’s running of the $261,200 Kindergarten for his uncle, Jose Arturo Flores, on Sunday at Los Alamitos. The victory by the Stel Corona filly led to a full house in the Los Alamitos winner’s circle for the Flores family.
“We have a big family and a lot of friends from Pasadena (California) that came to support my uncle’s horse,” said Flores. “My dad and my uncle are from a family of 11 children. It was nice to see so many people in the winner’s circle.”
In addition to the family ties, there were several other similarities between this year’s Kindergarten and last year’s event. Jockey Cruz Mendez was the winning rider for the second year in a row aboard the Flores-trainee and just like in the case of Glitter In My Face, Old Girl improved her record to a perfect three for three with the win. Both fillies also scored relatively easy wins, with Glitter In My Face winning by a half-length while going wire to wire last year, while Old Girl dominated the race from the starting gate to the finish line by a 1 ¼ length winning margin over runner-up Wild Sixes Cartel, owned by Tom Bradbury, Thomas Bradbury Jr, and Lisa Beauprez. Sent off from the outside post number 10, Old Girl covered the 300 yards in a sparkling time of :15.210, an eyelash faster than Glitter In My Face’s winning time of :15.278 from post number seven last year.
“Glitter In My Face and Old Girl remind me a lot of each other,” Mendez said. “They are both very quick fillies. Old Girl flew out the gate all by herself. Right from the start she was alone in the front. I just grabbed a hold of her to make sure that she didn’t go inside too much. She did everything very easy. She warmed up great. I let her jog out there and she felt really good. I didn’t need to gallop her at all during warm-ups. She was relaxed and I felt that she was happy. She behaved extremely well in the gate and then she took off at the start.”
As sentimental a victory as Glitter In My Face was for Jose Flores – “It was great to win one with my dad as the owner,” the trainer said last year – the trainer felt great about his uncle having an opportunity to enjoy this stakes win.
“I owe a lot to my uncle,” Flores said. “I remember a lunch that I had with him when I first started training horses in the 1990s. I was doing my best back and he told me ‘Hey, when are you going to get a good horse. I’m tired of you not having any good horses.’ I told him that there was only so much that I could do, so he told me to find a good horse for him to buy.”
The year was 1996 and Flores found a 7-year-old gelding named IB Quick, whose performances in stakes races changed the trainer’s career. IB Quick won that year’s running of the Grade 1 Vessels Maturity and would go on to be named the AQHA champion aged gelding for owners Enrique Sanchez and Jose Arturo Flores.
“IB Quick ended up running in the Champion of Champions,” Flores said. “I wouldn’t buy a 7-year-old now, but I bought him back then for my uncle and it turned out great. I always wanted to do this job (training horses) and IB Quick was big for me.”
Jose Arturo Flores once again instructed his nephew at last year’s Los Alamitos Equine Sale to find him a young futurity prospect. They settled on the Ed Allred-bred filly out of First Down Express mare Female Friend.
“We went to the sale with a budget and there were a few horses that I had seen at Doc’s ranch that I liked,” the trainer added. “We ended up paying $6,000 for her, but when you buy a Dr. Allred horse the price doesn’t matter because all of them are class horses. All of his horses have great bloodlines. This filly blossomed into a good runner and she’s my uncle’s first big winner since IB Quick. My uncle works very hard for his money and it’s not easy to pay the futurity nominations. It gives me great satisfaction to see him win this race. This filly is in the Governor’s Cup Futurity and PCQHRA Breeders Futurity so those are two more good races that she will be a part of.”
Sent off at odds of 7-2, Old Girl earned $109,704 for her victory. The trials to the Governor’s Cup will be held on July 12.
Trained by Paul Jones and ridden by Ramon Sanchez, Wild Sixes Cartel earned $44,404 for finishing in second place. Tom Bradbury, a longtime Quarter Horse owner, had been in the hospital prior to the running of this race, but he was looking forward to seeing his colt in the Kindergarten. Wild Sixes Cartel’s nice effort will have been well received at the Bradbury household.
Balgo Racing Team, Inc’s Pink Berreta was fractious in the gates prior to the start, but still managed to race nicely on the way to finishing third. Ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Lindolfo Diaz. The Mr Eyer Opener filly earned $31,344 for running third. EG High Desert Farms’ Perryczech earned $18,284 for as the second longest shot on the board at 36-1 despite bumping several times during the race. The other six others in the field all had to deal with bumping or being bumped during the course of the race. The order of finish from fifth place to 10th was as follows: Off Beat, fastest qualifier Zoomilicious, Mystery Man, Ochoteco, 2-1 favorite Vitali and Viento Negro. Zoomilicious broke through the gate.
“She hit the gate and it’s tough to recover after that happens,” said trainer Jaime Gomez, who was looking for a record eighth victory in the Kindergarten. “She did break nicely and she gave us her all.”