06/07/2012 10:23AM

Ruidoso Futurity begins New Mexico 2-year-old series


Krash Cartel was more than just an impressive debut winner last month at Ruidoso Downs. He also set the fastest qualifying time for the Grade 1, $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity for Quarter Horses when he won the second of 25 trials for Saturday’s finale.

Krash Cartel beat out 245 others for the distinction, and now has nine rivals to beat in the Ruidoso, a 350-yard sprint that begins futurity season in the mountaintop town of Ruidoso Downs, N.M. The race is also part of a blockbuster stakes double, with champions Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles to meet for the first time in the Grade 1, $679,207 Ruidoso Derby.

Krash Cartel romped by 4 1/4 lengths in his Ruidoso trial May 25. He ran 350 yards in 17.75 seconds, with the second fastest qualifier, Prince of Alexander, winning the 18th trial in 17.78. John Stinebaugh, who trains Krash Cartel, said in his 27 seasons at Ruidoso he has never seen a more notable debut.

“He was the most impressive 2-year-old I’ve ever seen, to win by that far, that big a margin,” said Stinebaugh, whose top horses have included champion Double Down Special. “And he’d only been up here 10 days. He shipped up from Houston. His regular trainer, Judd Kearl, sent him up here and we just prepped him for the race. He’s a pretty impressive horse. I’m happy to be the one Judd picked to send him to. There’s a lot of great trainers up here, any number of guys to fill the bill.”

Stinebaugh is looking forward to Saturday.

“They generally tend to improve off a race, and so, that’s kind of a scary thing to think about. ‘How good is he?’

“We’re hoping for the best. These kinds of races are hard to win. No matter how good a horse you are, things have to go right for you. [But] I don’t think that race knocked him out.”

Cody Jensen will ride Krash Cartel for Los Primitos. Krash Cartel is by Corona Cartel, while his second dam is the champion Speedy Empress.

A chief threat is Pj Chick in Black, who has won her three starts by a combined margin of five lengths. She was a $15,000 supplement to the Ruidoso Futurity trials following her Grade 2 New Mexico Spring Futurity victory at Sunland Park, and she won off by three lengths. Her time of 17.84 was the fourth fastest on the day May 25.

* Feature Mr Bojangles will be seeking his eighth consecutive win when he starts in the Ruidoso Derby. He was the third fastest qualifier for the 400-yard race during trials May 26. Ochoa set the fourth fastest time, in his first race since winning last year’s Grade 1, $2.4 All American Futurity at Ruidoso.