Q-Racing Blog: On a Roll

Q-Racing Blog: On a Roll

This team is on fire at Los Alamitos, and have another chance in upcoming El Primero.

Tell Cartel Los Alamitos Winter Derby

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By Ty Wyant

Breeder/owner Martha “Mimi” Wells, trainer Matt Fales and jockey Ruben Lozano are on a roll at Los Alamitos.

The team won the $190,500 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) with Tell Cartel in February. It was Wells’ and Lozano’s first Grade 1 win and the first Grade 1 win for Fales with a horse running down the straightaway. The trainer’s first Grade 1 was when he took the 2018 AQHA Distance Challenge over 870 yards with Mickey Ward.

“I was pretty surprised,” Fales said of the derby win. “He was doing well, and I thought he could hit the board. Ruben is a great fit for this horse. (Tell Cartel) just wants a hand ride.”

Tell Cartel is a colt, so longtime Los Alamitos regular Wells now has a Grade 1-winning son of Favorite Cartel who is a promising stallion prospect.

Wells has won the Frank Vessels Sr. Memorial and is a two-time winner of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Special Achievement Award. Her roots run deep at Los Alamitos and there are a lot of smiles when she wins.

The trio followed up Winter Derby night by qualifying three horses, including Tell Cartel, to the $213,300 El Primero del Ano Derby (G3). The finals of the 400-yard derby for colts and geldings will be contested on March 29.

Joining third-fastest qualifier Tell Cartel for the team in the El Primero are fourth-fastest qualifier Old School Icon and ninth-fastest qualifier Fire By Night.

Tell Cartel showed his grit and acceleration in his El Primero trial.

“He was brushed at the start and then went through the hole when it opened up,” Fales said. “I was on pins and needles.”

The homebred Tell Cartel, the 3-10 favorite in the trial, kicked in with his long stride to win by 1 1/4 lengths with a time of :19.853.

“I’m really excited for the finals,” Fales said. “He came out of his trial really well.”

Tell Cartel showed promise last year with he overcame a bump at the start and rallied to finish second in the $355,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (G2). In the Breeders Futurity, El Primero Derby fastest-qualifier Flokie finished third. He had won the $1,070,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) and went on to finish third in the $1,903,300 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1).

Tell Cartel’s stablemates in the El Primero – Old School Icon and Fire By Night – are also bred by Wells.

Old School Icon, sent off at 14-1 odds, finished 1 length behind Flokie for second place in their trial. Old School Icon was timed in :19.866.

“He is one to watch as for as the longshots in the race,” Fales said of Old School Icon. “Like Tell Cartel, he gets going and lengthens his stride.”

The gelding by Texas Icon was second in the Corona Chick Handicap and The Plan Handicap, third in the $30,000 Desert Classic Futurity and qualified for the $117,200 Wild West Futurity.

Fire By Night is a maiden and made the El Primero Derby with a third-place trial finish in :20.011.

“He has been a project,” Fales said. “He was a little green last year and had minor injuries. His best days are ahead of him.”

The Walk Thru Fire gelding has also had some bad luck. He qualified for the Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes, however grabbed a quarter during his trial and couldn’t run back in the finals. Fales said that he is completely healed.

It’s been a memorable start to the year for this team. They’re hot;  never overlook a hot barn.

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