Parsons Family Limited Partnership’s Energy Cartel picked the perfect time to post his first career victory, as the royally bred colt held off fastest qualifier Lucas Czech by a head to win the $100,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes on Sunday night.
Ridden by Tony Guymon for trainer Chris O’Dell, Energy Cartel was seventh after leaving the gate from post number five, but really took off at the midway point of the 350-yard race. The Parsons-bred runner was all heart from there, winning for the first time in eight career starts. Energy Cartel came into the race with just $3,735 in earnings, but his sharp effort in the Maiden Stakes earned him $42,000. Sent off at 11-1 odds, Energy Cartel covered the distance in :17.709.
“That was a blast,” said R.J. Parsons, the grandson of late great Quarter Horse owners and breeders Jay and Polly Parsons. “You’ll win some and you’ll lose some in racing, but when you watch a race at Los Alamitos and there’s 10 horses flying at you and you see your horses pull to the lead and cross the wire first, you just can’t help to feel the excitement. My dad, Jay, and also John Parsons work with the horses in the ranch (in Sanger, California) and they send the horses to Chris O’Dell here at Los Alamitos. Chris does a great job getting them ready for these races. I remember coming to Los Alamitos in the early 1980s as a kid. There was no better feeling than going to the winner’s circle then and it’s the same today. We were screaming and yelling when the horse crossed the finish line. It just never gets old to win a race.”
The Parsons keep around 40 to 45 horses in Sanger, where one of the stars of the ranch is Terrific Energy. Under O’Dell’s tutelage, the mare won the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap and Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap in 2009.
“I’ve been lucky to have trained a lot of nice horses and two of my favorite mares of all-time are Dashing Phoebe and Terrific Energy,” O’Dell said. “They were great runner and great broodmares. I’m lucky to have their (sons and daughters) in my barn now. Terrific Energy is also the mother of Valiant Energy, who won the second race here earlier tonight.
“Energy Cartel has the license to be a decent horse. He’s a Corona Cartel out of a nice mare like Terrific Energy and he’s still learning. I think he can still step up some more. He went to Ruidoso last year and he did not like the altitude. He bled. He came back here and it just took us a little time to get his confidence back. I’m glad for (Tony Guymon). He’s ridden this horse four times now and has won this race and piloted him to a couple of second place finishes. They make a good team.”
For Guymon, the Maiden Stakes represents his biggest victory at Los Alamitos.
“I won a claiming stakes race here,” he said. “I’ve ridden in New Mexico and Oklahoma, but I’ve always wanted to move to Los Alamitos to ride. I finally got a chance to do that.”
“Tony needed this win and so did I,” O’Dell said. “This is an important win for both of us. He’s already won three of four races for me and hopefully we can keep winning races together. I’m most thankful to the owners. The Parsons have stuck with me through the good times and the bad times. I’m so thankful for their support.”
Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Adriana Aceves, Lucas Czech earned $17,000 for running second for owner David Munguia. A colt by Corona Czech, the EG High Desert Farms-bred runner has finished in the top three in all four career starts. He was the second choice in the wagering at 7-2 odds. Isaias Esparza’s Cruel Ride earned $12,000 for running in third place. Tres Corona Cash, El Rey Coronas, A Mere Patron, Fire Fortune, Worth The Price, Runaway Fire and KR Showboat completed the field.