Celina & Corina Molina
Celina won the 2000 California Breeders' Matron Stakes with Flash First
This weekend's Grade I Kindergarten Futurity will undoubtedly bring a great deal of excitement to the Molina family, which has two horses running in Saturday night's rich $340,150 race. For Celina Molina, owner of tenth-fastest qualifier Candy Corona, is an overdue return back to the spotlight of futurity racing at Los Alamitos.
More than ten years have past since her brilliant colt Corona Cartel took the California racing circuit by storm, winning stakes race after stakes race at the age of two. On Saturday she'll look to get back to her winning ways and capture her second Kindergarten Futurity with the talented filly Candy Corona. Then there's her sister-in-law Corina, owner of ninth-fastest qualifier Loved Her First, in search of the first stakes win of her career as an owner.
Celina has always had a knack for finding and racing outstanding horses. In fact, one of her very first runners in the sport was superstar Corona Cartel, perennially one of the top sires in the nation. Corona Cartel began to showcase his talent and speed very early in his career. The bay colt jumped out to a three-length lead early in his career debut, but was disqualified and moved to fifth even though he won the race. Regardless, the word was out. Two starts later he blew away the competition in the Kindergarten Futurity by a length, establishing himself as the top juvenile on the west coast. Corona Cartel was then shipped to Ruidoso, New Mexico for the trials to the Rainbow and All American Futurities in the summertime. Two races later, he had the extreme misfortune of just missing the top-ten in the All American.
Corona Cartel returned to win the All American Futurity Consolation in a time of 21.45 seconds, nearly a tenth of a second faster than Streakin Flyer's All American win in 21.53 seconds. Following the victory, Corona Cartel returned to her California home base and captured the Grade I Los Alamitos Million Futurity as well as the Tiny's Gay Handicap, rounding out a terrific juvenile campaign for the runner. Corona Cartel now stands at Lazy E Ranch in Guthrie, Oklahoma and is one of quarter horse racing's best stallions, having sired such runners as recent Champion of Champions winner Blues Girl Too and All American victor Teller Cartel.
Candy Corona, who won a shake in order to get into the Kindergarten, is a nicely bred filly in her own regard. A daughter of Corona Cartel, she is out of the First Down Dash mare Takeoff Royally, making her a half-sister to stallion Take Off Jess, who ran second in the 2004 All American Futurity. In her trial on May 3rd, Candy Corona ran a quality third behind Sixish and Irenes Choice in the evening's tenth race. Trained by Jaime Gomez, the winner of the last three runnings of the Kindergarten Futurity, Candy Corona will be making her third career start in the race and should she win, she would give owner Celina Molina her first victory of the 2008 meeting.
Her sister-in-law Corina Molina also brings a solid chance into this weekend's Kindergarten with the filly Loved Her First. In her first career start, the filly broke a step slow, but rallied gamely in the middle of the racetrack, finishing second by a nose to The Shazoom Alliance. On May 3rd, Loved Her First turned the tables on The Shazoom Alliance, outnodding the filly by a head in the trials to the Kindergarten and qualifying to the finals with a time of 15.545.
Drawn on the far outside in Saturday's race, Loved Her First will be ridden for the second time by jockey Eddie Garcia, who piloted her to a second place finish in her debut race on April 10. From the barn of trainer Felix Gonzalez, Loved Her First is one of three horses in the race to have been sired by first-year stallion A Regal Choice. Additionally, her dam Pretty Jet High was a finalist in the Grade I Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and earned a respectable $44,276 in her racing career.