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Blackberry Czech Tops Kindergarten Trials

Bonanza Racing Stable sends out four qualifiers to rich Los Alamitos futurity.

May 7, 2012

Owned and bred by Salvador Pimienta, Blackberry Czech became one of seven fillies to qualify to this year’s Grade 2, $268,200 Kindergarten Futurity after posting the fastest qualifying time of the night on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Alex Bautista, Blackberry Czech scored a half-length victory over fifth-fastest qualifier Sugarbear Sax Man to break her maiden in a time of :15.439 at 300 yards. It was an evening of girl power, as the four fastest Kindergarten qualifiers were fillies. In addition to the Corona Czech filly Blackberry Czech, the trial-winning fillies The Cartel Straw, Tres Racer and Jess Another Czech had the second- through fourth-fastest qualifying times of the night. Led by these fillies, the 10 fastest qualifiers will return for the Kindergarten final on Sunday, May 20.

Trainer Felix Gonzalez, who saddled EG High Desert Farms’ Dash To The End to victory in the 2004 Kindergarten Futurity (G1), knows the female family of Blackberry Czech like the back of his hand, as he trained Blackberry Czech’s mother and grandmother.

“I had her mother, RA Noble, for Ron and Rosie Alvarado,” Gonzalez said. “I still think that RA Noble is one of the quickest horses out of the gate that I’ve ever trained. That’s the reason why Blackberry Czech was paid into these trials. RA Noble was such a quick breaker that we felt that she would do well at 300 yards.”

Sired by Blushing Bug, RA Noble won five races during her Los Alamitos career, including the 1999 Goetta Handicap. She earned $39,548 during her time on the racetrack.

“I also trained RA Noble’s mother,” Gonzalez added. “Her name was Dashing Noble and she was a good mare by First Down Dash. The Alvarados owned her as well. I’ve trained horses for them since I started here 20 years ago. It means a lot to me to see a horse from that family do well.”

Gonzalez and Pimienta have been successful together in previous stakes trials at Los Alamitos. Gonzalez saddled Pimienta’s Rey Tiburon to an impressive 1 ¼-length trial victory to qualify to the 2010 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2). He saddled him to a fifth-place finish in the El Primero final and also trained him to a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 AQRA-Turf Paradise Futurity (G3) in 2009. In her only previous start on April 15, Blackberry Czech finished second to Kolleen Ledgerwood’s aforementioned Tres Racer.

Bonanza Racing Stable’s enjoyed a great trial night, as the racing operation had four horses qualify to the Kindergarten final. In addition to the second-fastest qualifier The Cartel Straw, Bonanza also qualified with The Cartel Straw’s full sister, Super Long Straw, and with Mr Ease Cartel, the only colt to make it to the Kindergarten final, and the PYC Paint Your Wagon gelding To Catch This Wagon.

Bred by Santos Montemayor, The Cartel Straw is a filly by Corona Cartel and out of Strawfly Special mare The Long Straw, who made over $58,000 in 21 career starts. The Long Straw ran third in the 2007 John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge (G3) and also qualified to the 2006 Manor Downs (G2) and Retama Park (G1) derbies. The Cartel Straw, meanwhile, is now a perfect two-for-two in her young racing career. Trained by Juan Aleman and ridden by Francisco Rubio, she covered the distance in :15.441 while winning by a half-length over Cina and John Sperry’s Revv Me Up. The Cartel Straw came into this race after winning her maiden by 1 ¼ lengths in a time of :15.36.

“She didn’t break as hard as she did in her maiden race and she had to hold off Revv Me Up,” Aleman said. “I thought she finished strong and I think she’s getting better. Her time was not as fast as in her maiden win, but I remember watching her first race and thinking that her time was going to be :15.49. Then I remembered that there was a 25 mile-per-hour tailwind and the track had been sealed because of rain. I’m happy with the way she ran in the trials. I think she’s getting better.”

Bred by Mary or John Allred, Tres Racer beat Mr Ease Cartel by a half-length in time of :15.468. Trained by Roberto Dominguez and ridden by Gregorio Arriaga, the Tres Seis filly is now a perfect two-for-two on the year. To go along with top qualifier Blackberry Czech, EG High Desert Farms’ Corona Czech also sired his owner’s successful trialist Jess Another Czech. She posted the biggest surprise of the night when scoring her victory at odds of 15-1. While posting the fourth-fastest time of :15.484, Jess Another Czech also beat the 10th-fastest qualifier To Catch This Wagon in this trial. EG High Desert Farms will be shooting for its third Kindergarten victory after winning with Hawkish in 2003 and previously mentioned Dash To The End in ’04.

The Cartel Straw’s full sister, Super Long Straw, won the opening trial of the night with the sixth-fastest time of :15.496. Jose Flores saddled Super Long Straw, who had leading rider Cruz Mendez in the irons.

“She broke like a shot,” Flores said. “She did everything fine and finished strongly. She’s done well in everything that she’s done. “

Montemayor also bred Super Long Straw.

The complete list of qualifiers to the Kindergarten Futurity is as follows: Blackberry Czech (:15.439), The Cartel Straw (:15.441), Tres Racer (:15.468), Jess Another Czech (:15.484), Sugarbear Sax Man (:15.495), Super Long Straw (:15.496), Revv Me Up (:15.509), Mr Ease Cartel (:15.520), Mama Mia Bella (:15.527), To Catch This Wagon (:15.535).

The pools for the early Pick Fours on May 5 and May 6 of $293,421 were an all-time record figure for back-to-back nights at Los Alamitos. The early Pick Four pool on Kentucky Derby Day was $139,982, while Sunday’s early Pick Four pool of $153,439 was also the third-highest ever at Los Alamitos. The pools for Sunday’s early and late Pick Fours added to a total of $260,438, making it the second highest amount wagered in the Pick Fours during a single racing program at Los Alamitos. The average early Pick Four pool for the week of May 4-6 was $138,138, also the second-highest average for a single weekend of racing in Los Alamitos history.