Reed Pierson was an elementary school teacher for over 32 years in his home state of Utah.
“I taught mostly fifth graders and that was a lot of fun,” said Pierson, who owned 2011 Champion of Champions runner-up Sparky E Boy.
The former teacher had to like the way that his young 2-year-old pupil, Cartels Fire, performed in the $141,800 Wild West Futurity. Ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Paul Jones, the son of Teller Cartel flew out of the gate and under solid left-hand urging went on to score a ¾ length victory in a time of :17.910.
“I really liked the way he ran in the Wild West trials (on October 6),” Nicasio said. “He won his trial from the outside post so I was really happy when I saw that he had the outside number 10 post in the final.”
Cartels Fire was never trailed in the Wild West final. He had a big lead right from the start and was ahead by as much as 1 ¼ lengths. Nicasio put away the whip in the final 50 yards, as Cartels Fire cruised across the finish line. Bred by Legacy Ranch, Cartels Fire earned $59,556 for the win.
“That’s not bad for a horse we bought for $5,500 (at the Los Alamitos Equine Sale),” Pierson said.
Pierson, who was accompanied in the winner’s circle by his son, Wesley, and grandson, Hunter, took Cartels Fire home to Utah.
“We hooked him to a chariot and trained him on one of them for about a month,” Pierson said.
“They bump around a little bit, but it gets them used to it,” Wesley added.
“He didn’t race him in anything highly competitive,” Pierson said. “We did that in January and then we sent him to Idaho. We ran him in two different trials and he made the final. He came here to run in trials and he also made the finals. When he made the finals to the Wild West that made it four out of four. He didn’t have much luck in the first three final, but he picked the right race to win in terms of money.”
“Having some races at Los Alamitos under his belt helped him,” Jones said. “Getting him here early enough was nice.”
Cartels Fire was fourth in the trials to the John Deere California Juvenile Challenge and fourth in the John Deere California Challenge final. The connections will now start thinking about perhaps nominating him to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby.
“I think he’s earned that right,” Jones said.
The Piersons will now head home.
“I farm a couple of hundred acres with Wes’ help,” Pierson added.
“He still farms a little,” Wesley added. “He raised his hay for his horses.”
Pierson’s stock includes one broodmare and a couple of Hawkinson yearlings.
“They’re both full brothers to Sparky E Boy,” the owner added. “One of them looks a lot like Sparky. We’ll see how they do next year.”
Jorge Navarro’s Cybil made a huge late run to go from ninth at the start to second place at the wire. Saddled by Dean Frey, Cybil earned $24,106 for running second. Steve Berry’s Gunnin For Doe earned $17,016 for finishing third. Steinway Ivory, the favorite and fastest qualifier, bumped at the start and had to settle for running fourth. Azhecansee, Cr Proud Prince, As Needed, Koolist, Juicy Walk, and Five Bar Sassy completed the field.