03/04/2010 12:00AM

Gonzalez coming into his own

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Family connections helped Carlos Gonzalez build a Quarter Horse stable at Los Alamitos. Horses such as Brooklyn Boy are helping to show he belongs.

Gonzalez, 24, won the richest race of his two-year training career on Saturday in the $134,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes. He trains Brooklyn Boy for his uncle Felix. Another of Carlos Gonzalez s uncles, Enrique Gonzalez, operates EG High Desert Farm and has been one of the more prominent owners at Los Alamitos in recent years.

Carlos Gonzalez has a 15-horse stable at Los Alamitos, and another 20 horses on a local farm. Brooklyn Boy was his first six-figure stakes winner after winning two minor handicaps last year.

Winning the Maiden Stakes with Brooklyn Boy was not a complete surprise to the young trainer. When Brooklyn Boy was gelded last year, and allowed to recover from sore shins, his performances improved.

We always knew he had a lot of talent, even as a baby, Gonzalez said. He had really sore shins. Then, after that we ran him again, our jockey Juan Andrade said he felt kind of weird, like he was struggling, so we decided to geld him.

Brooklyn Boy beat maidens in his third career start on Dec. 12 and then finished second after a troubled start in a division of the Maiden Stakes trials on Feb. 6. Gonzalez later realized that Brooklyn Boy had lost two shoes at the start of the time trials. The incident left Brooklyn Boy with sore feet.

The soreness did not affect Brooklyn Boy in the final, which was restricted to horses who were maidens as of Dec 1. He won the 350-yard race by a neck over the 31-1 outsider Howlin Mad, earning a vacation.

Gonzalez said Brooklyn Boy is not nominated to the many of the leading 3-year-old stakes in coming months, and he may not start again until August, in the Golden State Derby trials.

In the interim, Gonzalez wants to build his Quarter Horse stable with other clients. He is helped at his stable by foreman Martin Aceves, who has a background in Mexican match racing and working on Southern California Quarter Horse ranches.

We make a good team, Gonzalez said.