10/03/2007 11:00PM

Carters Cartel might skip futurity

EmailLOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - The $484,000 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity at Los Alamitos on Saturday may be too small of a stakes for fastest qualifier Carters Cartel.

The winner of the Kindergarten and Ed Burke Million futurities earlier this year, Carters Cartel will be a strong favorite in the PCQHRA Futurity, if he starts. As of Wednesday, when entries were drawn, there were indications that he would not.

The colt's owners - Sharon, Dawn, and Rhonda List of Double Bar S Ranch - and trainer Jaime Gomez are strongly considering scratching Carters Cartel in favor of the time trials for the $1 million-guaranteed Golden State Million Futurity on Oct. 19.

With his win in the Ed Burke, Carters Cartel is eligible for a $1 million bonus if he completes an unprecedented sweep of the three seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos, including the Golden State Million on Nov. 2 and the Los Alamitos Two Million on Dec. 14.

"I think he has a chance to win the triple crown," Gomez said.

Carters Cartel still has to qualify for both races through trials. With four grueling races coming in the next few months, the Lists and Gomez are reluctant to run Carters Cartel on Saturday, even if the race does offer $199,080 to the winner.

"My plan? I don't know yet," Gomez said. "We'll talk it over. The trials are really close. If I have to say myself, I don't run."

A winner of 5 of 6 starts and $619,037, Carters Cartel is brilliantly fast. He set a Los Alamitos 350-yard track record of 17.17 seconds in the Ed Burke and nearly equaled that time winning a division of the PCQHRA Futurity trials in 17.27 seconds on Sept. 22.

In a strong sign that he may not start, the mount has gone to Carlos Huerta. Regular rider Alejandro Luna is named to ride Gomez's other qualifier - Velvetins.

The situation facing the Lists and Gomez is rare. Horses are occasionally scratched from futurities because of injury or illness, and receive prize money as if they finished last. If Carters Cartel is withdrawn, he will earn 10th-place prize money of $9,480, but the 11th-fastest qualifier from the futurity trials will have been denied an opportunity at a lucrative purse.

Without Carters Cartel, Daddy Dasher would assume the role of favorite. Second by a neck in the Kindergarten on May 19 for trainer Scott Willoughby, Daddy Dasher returned to win a division of the PCQHRA Futurity trials by a length.

Bikers Bono, third as the 1-2 favorite in the Governor's Cup Futurity on July 28, is seeking his first stakes win. Trained by Chuck Treece, Bikers Bono has won 4 of 5 starts, including a one-length win in the PCQHRA Futurity trials.