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Significant Cartel Wins Cypress Handicap

Gelding’s victory could be the start of big things for trainer Juan Aleman.

January 16, 2012

Juan Aleman was not on hand at the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Awards Banquet to pick up his second consecutive trainer special achievement award, but he had an understandable excuse for missing the event. Aleman was cleaning and prepping the 40 new stalls that he has added to his stable in time for the 2012 racing season.

“I had just moved into this stalls and I was cleaning and pressure washing them and the time caught up with me,” Aleman said. “I felt terrible that I couldn’t make the event, but I had some pressing things to do in the barn.”

Aleman will have 35 babies in his barn in 2012, many of them of the high quality variety. The new arrivals will complement perfectly a stable that on Sunday night welcomed a new stakes winner in the form of Vinewood Farms’ Significant Cartel. Ridden by Francisco Rubio and saddled by Aleman, Significant Cartel won the night’s $25,000 Cypress Handicap by a half-length while outdueling Corona Kool Handicap winner Touch Of Paso. Significant Cartel had been knocking on the door of stakes win during his sophomore campaign, but his bright start to the new year could be a sign for bigger and better things to come for the son of Corona Cartel.

“He qualified to a couple of nice derbies in 2011 and he was second to the outstanding Senor Toby in the A Ransom Handicap in the last weekend of the past meet,” Aleman said. “It’s great to finally win a nice race with Significant Cartel because he’s a good horse that always does a nice job. I’m hoping that this victory will put him over the top and help him reach the elite level. He has always been an honest, tough horse and he has already won over $100,000. He’s a quality runner.”

Significant Cartel finished third to Docs Apollo in the $238,000 Golden State Derby (G1) and was sixth in the $987,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1) last year. He also had a three-race winning streak starting in the spring. Bred in Texas by Scarlett Hill Farm Inc., Significant Cartel has now won four of 19 starts and his Cypress earnings of $13,750 have pushed his career bankroll to $122,883. Accepting the trophy in the winner’s circle on behalf of Vinewood Farms was Santos Montemayor, who campaigns Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes winner TR Eddie in partnership with Vinewood.

“My family worked for the Lucas family at Vinewood Farm,” Montemayor said. “I now have a ranch and vineyard in Delano, California, and I’ve always had an interest in the horses. Five years ago I because partners with Vinewood Farms on some horses and now we have five or six together. It’s become a passion for me as well.”

Horses from the partnership of Vinewood and Montemayor will be among those that will help fill Aleman’s stalls.

“I’ve had some great owners and I’ve been lucky to add some new owners from Texas, Oklahoma and California,” he added. “I’m looking forward to this season. I’m pretty organized and I have a great crew. I usually hire grooms that come in a little green because that way I can teach them my way of doing things. I’ve added some new grooms for this year, but they all have great backgrounds working with horses.

“It’s an honor to have been recognized by the PCQHRA for the second straight year,” Aleman added. “Just to be in the conversation is an honor. We’ve been fortunate in the past couple of years to have been able to win at a high percentage and to have done well in stakes races. My dream has always been to be among the top trainers in wins, but it wasn’t possible before with only 20 to 30 horses. But I think that now we’ll have enough horses in the barn to where I think we can shoot for it.”