LARC NEWS Posted: 1/16/2020 3:36:44 PM

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Ron Hartley’s Cartel Jess Rockin, the 2019 AQHA champion 2-year-old filly, and Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity winner Runforyourlife, who races for newly named championship connections of AQHA Champion owner Rosenthal Ranch and AQHA champion trainer Christopher O’Dell, are among the 31 top sophomores racing in Saturday’s trials to the Grade 1, $190,550 Los Alamitos Winter Derby.

Cartel Jess Rockin and Runforyourlife will both be in action in the four trials to be contested at 400 yards. The horses with the 10 fastest times in the trials will advance to the Winter Derby final to be held on Saturday, February 8. For Cartel Jess Rockin, this will be her first start since winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on December 15.

Trained by John Cooper and ridden by Juan Pablo Leon, Cartel Jess Rockin will be racing from post number one while looking for her fourth win in 10 career starts. The Favorite Cartel filly finished her freshman campaign as leading money winner at Los Alamitos in 2019 with $840,640. She was also the nation’s leading filly and second overall in earnings. Hartley purchased Cartel Jess Rockin for $18,000 at the Heritage Place Sale from breeders Reed Land & Cattle and Levings Racing.

Runforyourlife also exits the Two Million Futurity and enters after a terrific campaign in which he won the $1,072,850 Golden State Million Futurity and finished second in the $365,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity. The Favorite Cartel gelding is a full-brother to superstar Powerful Favorite, who won the Winter Derby last year for Rosenthal Ranch and O’Dell. Eduardo Nicasio will pilot the sorrel gelding from post five in the second trial.

The opening Winter Derby trial will feature Ed Allred’s Circle City, who put together a terrific three-race win streak before running second by a whisker to Runforyourlife in the Golden State Million final. A daylight winner in the Golden State trials, Circle City has been off since the Golden State final and returns after posting a solid turn and work at 350 yards of :18.50 on December 18. Vinnie Bednar will ride him from the outside post seven for trainer Scott Willoughby. Grade 2 Hobbs America Futurity runner-up Sacred Nation, Wild West Futurity runner-up Senor Frogs and The Plan Handicap winner Zoom On Jess will also be in action in the opening trial.

Steve Burns and Jose Flores’ Sass Go Blue, the winner of the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, will take on Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity runner-up Mental Error, Autumn Handicap winner Just Be Real and Corona Chick Handicap winner JR Prissys Blood. The final trial will include a pair of Los Alamitos Two Million finalists in Allred’s Nomadic and La Feliz Montana Ranch LLC and MRB Racing LLC’s Up And Coming. Other top names there include Los Alamitos Juvenile Invitational runner-up You Can Run, Ed Burke Million Futurity finalist Corona Required and Corona Chick Handicap runner-up Old School Icon.

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