05/23/2012 1:24PM

Los Alamitos: Blackberry Czech's Kindergarten Futurity win a surprise


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Owning Blackberry Czech, winner of the $268,200 Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos last Sunday, was the last thing on owner Salvador Pimienta’s mind when he bought the filly’s dam several years ago.

Ra Noble was purchased with the intent of sending her to Mexico to race – until a mishap occurred the day she was scheduled to depart. Ra Noble injured her leg when she was being loaded onto a van, canceling the sale. She never left Pimienta’s home in Marana, Ariz.

Pimienta was stuck with a broodmare prospect, one who has turned out to be very productive. Ra Noble’s last foal is Blackberry Czech. The mare died last year, Pimienta said.

Blackberry Czech ($13.80) won the 300-yard Kindergarten by a head over 5-2 favorite The Cartel Straw, earning $112,644.

The victory came as a bit of a surprise, considering the expectations that Pimienta and trainer Felix Gonzalez had for the filly earlier this spring.

“We didn’t expect big things because she’s small,” said Pimienta, who runs a horse transportation business.

Blackberry Czech, by Corona Czech, gave Gonzalez his second career win in the Kindergarten. He won the race with Dash To The End in 2004 for E.G. High Desert Farms.

Blackberry Czech has won 2 of 3 starts, but will not have an extensive summer campaign. Gonzalez and Pimienta said that Blackberry Czech was not nominated to the next major race for 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos, the Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 24.

The filly is nominated for the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeders’ Futurity in the fall and will start in the California division of the John Deere Challenge Stakes later this year.

The final of that race will be held at Prairie Meadows on Oct. 27.

De la Torre gets 200-day ban

Trainer Ugo de la Torre has been fined $17,500 and suspended for 200 days for two clenbuterol overages at Los Alamitos last summer, the Los Alamitos stewards announced in a ruling May 13.

De la Torre was suspended for 180 days and had another 20 days added to the penalty because the overages occurred during a time in which he was on probation for a clenbuterol overage from 2010, the stewards ruled.

The suspension began May 18 and runs through Dec. 3.

De la Torre is best known for winning the Golden State Million in 2010 with One Sweet Jess.