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Q-Racing JournalMay 29, 2014
Wade Helton’s sharp Llano Cartel, winner of the $105,400 Leo Stakes (G1), faces 11 classy rivals over 440 yards with a Champion of Champions (G1) invitation on the line in the $250,000 Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1) on Saturday night at Remington Park.
The winner receives that invitation to the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in December.
Also on Saturday night at Remington Park is the $1,020,980 Heritage Place Futurity (G1), $257,050 Heritage Place Derby (G2) and the $50,000 Junos Request Stakes (G2).
Llano Cartel (Teller Cartel-Eyesa Lil Cuervo by Lil Bit Cuervo) is a hot horse coming into the meet’s premier race for older horses with four wins and a second-place finish from five starts this year. While three of those wins came at the allowance level, including his latest start, he showed his class in the Leo Stakes two starts ago when he won by three quarters of a length at 8-1 odds.
In his start before the Leo Stakes, Llano Cartel just missed winning the $52,340 Eastex Stakes (G2) when he came up a nose short.
Reliance Ranches LLC’s champion Feature Hero (Valiant Hero-Illegal Feature by Feature Mr Jess) and Andrew Smith’s multiple Grade 1 winner Wicked Courage (Captain Courage-Wicked Pamela by Dash For Cash) are each trying to regain their Grade 1-winning form.
Feature Hero is looking for his first win since his 23-1 upset win in the $2.8 million All American Derby (G1) on Labor Day weekend. The All American Derby distributed the largest purse in Quarter Horse racing history and that win earned him the champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old gelding titles.
The Eddie Willis-trained Feature Hero got off to a good start at Remington Park when he was second in the $70,000 Mighty Deck Three Stakes, however was then off the board in the Leo Stakes and the $100,000 Sooner State Stakes (RG1).
Wicked Courage was sensational before he finished sixth in the All American Derby on Labor Day weekend. At Ruidoso Downs last summer, he was named horse of the meet with wins in the $1,054,992 Rainbow Derby (G1) and the $822,753 Ruidoso Derby (G1). He was sixth in the Leo Handicap in his only start this year for trainer Luis Villafranco.
Joe Mills’ Skuze Pleeze (Dashin Bye-Sixy Hemp by Sixarun) is a 3-year-old who found success against older horses when he was second in the Sooner State Stakes. Last year, he qualified for the $2.6 million All American Futurity (G1) and the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) before winning the $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1).
Heysol Howlet and Julieta Torres’ TF Featured Effort makes his Remington Park debut after winning the $111,452 West Texas Maturity (G3) at Sunland Park on March 1. The Jaime Dominguez-trained horse also won the $50,320 KOFX Handicap (G2) at the track near El Paso.
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