05/18/2012 11:31AM

Los Alamitos: The Cartel Straw needs sharp break in Kindergarten Futurity


The Cartel Straw is fortunate to remain unbeaten after two starts in advance of Sunday’s $268,200 Kindergarten Futurity for Quarter Horses at Los Alamitos, her trainer says.

Juan Aleman was not particularly impressed by the filly’s start in time trials on May 6, even though she won a division by a half-length to claim a berth in the 300-yard final.

“If she breaks, she’ll be tough,” Aleman said. “She didn’t break all that sharp in the trials. She was standing a little off-balance. She has to break on top to get it done.”

Sunday, The Cartel Straw has drawn post 8, one position to the inside of Blackberry Czech, who set the fastest qualifying time of 15.43 seconds in the trials. The Cartel Straw was timed in 15.44 seconds.

Aleman can forgive The Cartel Straw to some extent. The filly has made just two starts, including a maiden race win over 300 yards on April 13. She has been an odds-on favorite in both races.

To prepare for the Kindergarten, the first futurity of the year, Aleman said he has stuck to his typical approach for a two-week gap between trials and final. The Cartel Straw was given a week off to recover from her trial race and has been to the track three times for exercise in the last week. Quarter Horses do not have extensive training on a daily basis before races the way that Thoroughbreds do.

The Kindergarten field of 10 includes seven fillies. The Cartel Straw is one of two unbeaten runners, joined by the filly Tres Racer, who has Aleman’s attention. Tres Racer, trained by Roberto Dominguez, won her division of the trials by a half-length in 15.46 seconds.

“She looks like a runner,” Aleman said.

Blackberry Czech, a filly, was second to Tres Racer in a maiden race on April 15 but rebounded to win a trial by a half-length.

Trainer Jose Antonio Flores has three qualifiers – Super Long Straw, who won a division of the trials, and Mr Ease Cartel and Sugarbear Sax Man, who were second to Tres Racer and Blackberry Czech in trials.

“I like all three of them,” Flores said. “They all have chances. If Sugarbear breaks a lot better than he did in the trials, he’ll be tough in there.”

Sugarbear Sax Man starts from the outside post in the Kindergarten.