LARC NEWS Posted: 5/6/2019 2:45:24 AM

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             It took a photo finish to separate J. Francisco Diaz’s Chayito Cartel (left) and Ron and Jeryl Hartley’s Chickititas Favorite when they debuted together in a maiden race on April 19, a duel won by Chayito Cartel by a nose – or 7/1000ths of a second to be more exact. 

The two were narrowly close once again in the trials to the Grade 2, $362,300 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity, but this time it was on the final list of fastest qualifiers to the 300-yard race. Ridden by Jesus Rios Ayala for trainer Lindolfo Diaz, Chayito Cartel finished with the fastest qualifying time of :15.444 after winning the fifth of nine trials, while the John Cooper-trained Chickititas Favorite delivered the second fastest qualifying time of :15.449 in the opening heat of the night. After another paper thin margin of difference between Chayito Cartel and Chickititas Favorite in these trials, a great rematch is now in store when the two geldings sired by the outstanding stallion Favorite Cartel meet again in the Kindergarten final to be held here on Sunday, May 19.

            A total of 68 juveniles competed in the nine trials with the horses with the 10 fastest time advancing to the second richest Kindergarten final since 2008. The complete list of qualifiers is as follows: Chayito Cartel (:15.444), Chickititas Favorite (:15.449), Diamond Rock (:15.507), Leonel Bugatti (:15.550), Cartel Jess Rockin (:15.554), A Political Spell (:15.576), Mental Error (:15.586), Dreams Divine (:15.602), Spectacular Corona (:15.614) and Corona Lake (:15.633).

            For the father and son team of J. Francisco and Lindolfo Diaz, Chayito Cartel’s victory was one of their most special moments ever at the track.

            “Without that man, I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Lindolfo of his dad, who has started Quarter Horses in 1,172 races at Los Alamitos since 2000. “He has invested so much money and so much time in me just to have me here. He’s everything. He’s invested so much money in this game.”

            J. Francisco Diaz campaigned the mare Running Bac to victory in the 2002 Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap. The owner also campaigned Chayito Cartel’s dam, Runnin In Traffic, to earnings of nearly $40,000 and several in-the-money finishes in overnight stakes races in 2003 and ’04. After working as an assistant for trainer Jose Flores, Lindolfo set up his own stable in 2013. He’s saddled 120 winners from 450 starters since then. 

“I’m thankful that it looks like my dad finally has a decent horse again,” Lindolfo said. “It took us a while to get a 2-year-old that looks like he can run. (Chayito Cartel) is a homebred and that’s what makes it even more special. He was born at my dad’s place in San Diego. It’s like seeing your kid grow up and that makes it so special. He’s still trying to figure things out at the gate. When he gets by himself he’ll shy away a little bit. He’s still learning. He’s still a baby. He’s still green. Hopefully in the final he can run straight.” 

Racing from post five, the son of Favorite Cartel was fast into his stride and continued to move powerfully to the wire, eventually crossing the finish line 1 ¼ lengths ahead of the determined runner-up Corona Required.

“We liked him, but didn’t think he would be this good,” Lindolfo added. “He impressed me after his first work and looked like he could run a little bit. He kept impressing me in the morning. We’ll see how we do in the final against nice horses like Chickititas Favorite. He’s a runner too.”

Meanwhile, the Hartley’s Chickititas Favorite posted a ¾ length victory over fourth fastest qualifier Leonel Bugatti. The Hartleys became the breeders of the son of Favorite Cartel after acquiring his mother - first via a claim in a $12,500 in partnership with John Firth and then by receiving full ownership of her thanks to a horse trade between friends. 

“I saw the breeding on her mother and I thought that she was really well bred,” Ron Hartley shared. “Jeryl and John Firth went ahead and claimed her. I think we gave ($12,500) for her. She ran in a few futurity and derby trials and some stakes races. Once she became a broodmare she had a baby named Hard Headed Chick. That’s around the time that we made a trade. John took Hard Headed Chick and I took his half of the mare. Jeryl and I now own the mare. John did well with Hard Headed Chick. She earned around $100,000 on the track and John has since sold her so that she could be a broodmare. He did well with Hard Headed Chick. We’ve since bred Chickitita to Parsons Rock and also have an embryo to Favorite Cartel. You can’t beat that.  We’re really excited and I think Parsons Rock is going to be a very good stallion.”

            Cruz Mendez piloted Chickititas Favorite to victory.

            Diamond Rock finished with the third fastest qualifying time of :15.507 and like the top two qualifiers, he’s also a homebred owned by Juan Humberto Moya.

“I’m thrilled, I’m proud, and I’m very happy,” Moya said. “We raised this horse at our ranch. The Parsons Family have the stallion Parsons Rock and I own the mare (Might She Go by Stel Corona). I fed this horse when he was a baby and watched him grow up. He’s been a very sound horse. He’s been a good horse since he was a baby. He ran his race tonight.”

            Ridden by Jairo Rangel for trainer Jose Flores, Diamond Rock won his trial by a length after winning his maiden race by 2 ¾ lengths. He’ll be one of the favorites in the Kindergarten final in two weeks.

            Romeo Daniel Sedano’s homebred Leonel Bugatti finished with the fourth fastest time of :15.55 after his runner-up effort to Chickititas Favorite. A gelding by Kiddy Up and out of Warm My Effort, Leonel Bugatti was ridden by Carlos Huerta for trainer Juan Aleman.

            The Hartleys’ bright pink silks were back in the winner’s circle after Cartel Jess Rockin posted a length victory in trial number six in a time of :15.554, the fifth fastest of the night. A daylight winner in her racing debut, Cartel Jess Rockin was ridden by Eddie Garcia, this track’s all-time leading Quarter Horse rider.

            “I think she’s a pretty good filly,” Cooper said. “She may not be the best, but she’s got a lot of run in her. It’s never easy to win, but I know that if you run against good horses, you’ll run to the wire. She worked with Chickititas Favorite. He ran past her in that work, but she stayed with him. He got away from her right at the end.  She might get better as the year goes on.”

            Cartel Jess Rockin is another Kindergarten qualifier by Favorite Cartel, the 2018 Three Bars Award winner presented by the Pacific Quarter Horse Racing Association to the Qiarter Horse stallion of the year in California. Favorite Cartel is also the sire of the seventh fastest qualifier Mental Error to give him four out of the 10 qualifiers to the Kindergarten.

            Meanwhile, Apollitical Jess is the sire of Link Newcomb’s A Political Spell, the sixth fastest qualifier to the Kindergarten. The Rancho El Cabresto-bred mare is out of multiple stakes winner Chalala. Aleman, who trains A Political Spell, also conditioned Apollitical Jess and Chalala, so he had some insight on the potential of this filly.  

“My trainer knew (A Political Spell) well,” Newcomb said. “He knew her mother. He trained her mother. We looked at this filly at the Ruidoso Sale and liked her. She was right at the end of the sale. I had already bought two horses, but I bought her anyways (for $27,000). She’s been very professional as a young horse. This is her first out. She drew the outside, which she likes. No complaints. It seems like she knows what she’s doing.”

With Huerta up, A Political Spell won her trial by ¾ lengths in a time of :15.576. 

Bobby Simmons’ Mental Error was third at the start, but he quickly gained command of the lead and never relinquished it on the way to a length victory. Ridden by Ayala for trainer Paul Jones, Mental Error was purchased for a bargain price of $16,000 at the 2018 Los Alamitos Equine Sale. The colt finished with the seventh fastest time :15.586. 

Reliance Ranches LLC’s Dreams Divine, winner of the meet’s first 2-year-old race of 2019, is now a perfect two-for-two after winning her trial by a nose over Spectacular Corona, who qualified with the ninth fastest time. A $112,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Yearling Sale, Dreams Divine won from post number one with the eighth fastest time of :15.602. Ruben Castro was up for trainer Mike Robbins.

 Salvador Espinoza, Hernando Guerra and Salvador Pimienta’s Spectacular Corona, a $43,000 purchase at the 2018 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, earned the ninth fastest time of :19.614.  Eduardo Nicasio rode the Corona Cartel filly for trainer Chris O’Dell. Spectacular Corona’s mother is Separate Fire, who won the Kindergarten Futurity in 2011.      

EG High Desert Farms will be represented by Corona Lake in the Kindergarten final. The Corona Czech gelding won the eighth of nine trials in a time of :15.633 with Erasmo Gasca up for trainer Jesus Nunez. Corona Lake broke out at the start of his trial, but ran a near perfect race from there on the way to posting the tenth fastest time.

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