LETTY CARTEL SURPRISES FIELD AT 18-1 IN ABIGAIL KAWANANAKOA;
FAMOUS SHINING STAR DOMINATES CHECK HER TWICE STAKES
For the second time in her career, EG High Desert Farms’ Letty Cartel surprised a solid cast of fillies and mares in a stakes event at Los Alamitos. The 4-year-old homebred mare by Fast Prize Cartel won the Florentine Stakes in a dead-heat last August at odds of 28-1. She posted another upset victory here on Sunday night, this time flying in the final 100 yards to win the $100,000 Abigail Kawananakoa Stakes at odds of 18-1.
Ridden by Irving Lara for trainer Santos Perez, Letty Cartel edged multiple stakes winner Cir Lady Moon by a nose to win the 400-yard Kawananakoa. Letty Cartel covered the distance in :19.689.
“I liked her from the moment we stepped into the starting gate because she’s usually a little anxious, but tonight she behaved great, and she took off at the start. When she did that, I just thought ‘alright, here we go.’ She just kept going and going. I felt the pressure of the inside horse, Monty Arrossa’s horse (Cir Lady Moon). She just never stopped. Letty Cartel just kept going and going. She was strong.”
In his early 20s, Irving Lara was honored with the Val Tonks Award given to an up-and-coming Quarter Horse rider in California. The jockey makes the most of his opportunities with this being his second stakes win with a purse of more than $100,000. He had previously won the 2020 Governor’s Cup Derby with Favorite Colossus.
“I’ve worked with this mare for a while and ridden her multiple times,” Lara said. “I’ve had the good fortune of riding her in the mornings and she’s been doing really well.”
Lara also piloted Letty Cartel to victory in the Florentine Stakes. A half-sister to the Restricted Grade 1 winner Bail Czech, Letty Cartel picked up only her second win in 18 career starts. She earned $55,000 in this race to more than double her total bankroll to $106,829.
Owned by Daniel and Carol Lee, Cir Lady Moon earned $22,500 for her second-place finish. She’s now finished in the top two in all four of her starts at Los Alamitos, each one of them coming in a stakes races. The Utah-bred mare by Moonin The Eagle entered this race fresh off wins in the Miss Princess Handicap and the Denim N Diamonds Handicap. Ed Allred’s She Goes Up earned $12,500 for running third, while Edward and Theresa DeNike’s Sweet Tess earned $7,500 for finishing fourth. Imm Born To Fly, Nymphette, Jettin Gigi, Shez Our Jess, and Gotta Corona Jess completed the field.
GREAT IN TRAINING, FAMOUS SHINING STAR RETURNS STRONG IN CHECK HER TWICE
Making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap on January 1, Johnny Trotter’s Famous Shining Star posted a gate to wire victory to win the $25,000 Check Her Twice Stakes on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
Ridden by Erasmo Gasca for trainer Jose Flores, Famous Shining Star won the 350-yard dash by a neck over David Hinkins’ Budder Off Friends while covering the distance in :19.532. Bred by Juliana Hawn Holt, Famous Shining Star entered the Check Her Twice following a sensation 220-yard gate drill on May 20 in which she displayed elite speed and a flawless ability to hit a higher gear. The 5-year-old mare by One Famous Eagle carried her morning form to her return to night racing, as she opened a half-length lead after the first 100 yards before extending it to ¾ lengths past the midway point. The victory was Famous Shining Star’s seventh in 19 starts. She earned $13,750 for the win to take her career earnings to $163,653. This was her fourth career stakes win.
Ridden by Rodrigo Aceves for trainer Adan Farias, Budder Off Friends earned $5,625 for running second. Ashley Garcia’s All Prettied Up earned $3,125 for running third with Diego Herrera up for trainer Angela Aquino. Koalition, One Sweet Duck, and Chrissy Ledoux completed the field.