04/27/2012 11:45AM

Los Alamitos: The Cartel Straw hot prospect coming into Kindergarten Futurity


This is the time of year when 2-year-olds, not 3-year-olds, became the focus of racing at Quarter Horse venues nationwide.

At Los Alamitos, the year’s first futurity, the Kindergarten, will have 300-yard time trials on May 6 and a $400,000-estimated final on May 20. Later, there are three seven-figure futurities in June, November, and December at Los Alamitos.

Since early April at Los Alamitos, each weekend has featured several maiden races featuring early-season prospects. So far, The Cartel Straw has been the quickest, winning a 300-yard maiden race in 15.36 seconds on April 13. Don Loncho has been the unluckiest, finishing a troubled second in another 300-yard maiden race on April 13.

Both are expected to play a major role in the Kindergarten trials. The 10 fastest times in the trials, regardless of finishing position, will advance to the final.

The Cartel Straw, a filly, is trained by Juan Aleman for Bonanza Racing Stable of Mission, Texas. Her victory on April 13 was expected; she was 4-5. The style of the win, by 1 1/4 lengths over such a short distance, left Aleman stunned.

“She’d had some good works, but she really surprised me the way she exploded the second part of the race,” he said. “She’s not that big, but she surprised me the way she pulled away.”

The time, Aleman admitted, was a bit deceptive. The Cartel Straw was pushed down a wet-fast track with a 25 mile-per-hour tailwind.

“Taking into consideration the track was fast, the way she beat them was impressive,” he said.

Bonanza has horses with several trainers at Los Alamitos, including Mr Ease Cartel, a maiden race winner at Los Alamitos on April 14 for Jose Flores; and To Catch This Wagon, a maiden race winner on April 20 for Aleman.

Flores ranks Mr Ease Cartel among his best 2-year-olds, but said that Don Loncho is a colt he expects to thrive in the Kindergarten trials.

“He might be the smartest baby I’ve got,” Flores said. “He broke a length behind. He was moving when the gate opened and he came back at the end and surged.”

Don Loncho was beaten by Henoshersecret, a well-regarded colt trained by Paul Jones. Henohersecret was timed in a quick 15.46 seconds.

“Sometimes the times don’t mean as much if they have trouble,” Flores said, reflecting on Don Loncho’s debut.

The time will mean much more in the Kindergarten trials.