angle-left September 13-15 Stakes Recap

September 13-15 Stakes Recap

A recap of non-graded stakes.
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Cinnamon Beach and Samuel Mendez rallied hard all the way to the wire to pull in an upset in the $45,700 Leader of the Class Sale Futurity Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 at Indiana Grand. The race was established for weanlings and yearlings that have sold at the Speed Sale the past two years, respectively. The race is a perfect Segway into the ninth annual Indiana Quarter Horse Speed Sale set to begin at Noon Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

Starting from post six in the seven-horse field, Cinnamon Beach broke alertly and ended up drifting down several paths before settling in to run during the 330-yard dash. She held her ground on the front end and as Jess Z Bob and Juan Marquez began to close in at the wire from the outside, she was game and dug in for the win in a time of :17.274, just a nose ahead of Jess Z Bob. Loveherlikethat an Jose Beltran finished third.

Owned by Donna and Noel Alexander’s DNA Quarter Horses, Cinnamon Beach paid $13.40, $8.00 and $5.60 across the board. It was her fourth career start and her first trip to the winner’s circle in her brief career for trainer Randy Smith.

Mendez was making his third start aboard Cinnamon Beach coming into the Leader of the Class Sale Futurity. The Escondido Beach filly, who was unraced at two, just missed a win two starts back, but Mendez had confidence in the filly stepping up into stakes action for the first time in her brief career.

“He (Samuel Mendez) loves this filly and he so deserves this win,” said Debbie Smith, Randy Smith’s wife. “He was so confident in her. This is the biggest win of his career. He works so hard at our barn and it doesn’t matter what we need, he jumps in to take care of it. We are so happy for him to get this win tonight.”

Mendez is a native of Mexico and began his riding career in 2014 at Los Alamitos. He came to Indiana last year to ride and made the trip back from California again this season and now works for Smith.

It’s always the ultimate experience to win a race, but victory just got a little sweeter for trainer John McCreary on Saturday, September 14. The Tennessee native swept the trials of the Sterlie Bertram Memorial and both winners were longshots as Valiantinecandyrocks and One Smart Jess scored wins in their respective trials.

Valiantinecandyrocks kicked off the first trial with a near gate-to-wire effort, rallying out of the gate quickly to be in contention for the lead the entire 400-yard distance. The Valiant Hero filly fought off late attempts by her opponents to pull in the win by one-half length in :20.157, the fastest trial of the night. Abe and Uriel Cervantes finished second over Stoneburner and Berkley Packer for third. The win was the first of three on the card for jockey Jose Beltran.

Owned by Tammy and Lance Finlinson of Greenwood, Indiana, Valiantinecandyrocks paid $12.60, $4.00 and $5.20 across the board. The win marked the third of the season in eight starts for the lightly raced sophomore, who only ran twice as a two-year-old.

“’VV’ (Valiantinecandyrocks has always been my favorite ever since she was a baby,” said Finlinson, who is the breeder of the black filly along with his wife, Tammy. “We didn’t race her very much last year and she seems to be getting better with every start this year. We are tickled at her performance tonight.”

McCreary headed to the paddock for the second trial to prepare One Smart Jess for his Bertram trial. Once again ridden by Beltran, the One Sweet Jess gelding had drawn the outside post and was overlooked by the public as he loaded in the gate. As soon as the gates sprung, Beltran had the sorrel gelding on top to lead the way to the wire, winning by a neck over Cause for Corona and Gerardo Garrido with Nacho Binez and Fernando Morin finishing third. The time of the trial was :20.334 seconds.

Another longshot, One Smart Jess paid $13.60, $7.80, $3.60 across the board. It was his second win in five starts for 2019 and his fourth win overall for Jeff Bennell and John Murphy’s Brushy Valley Farm. A stakes winner at two, One Smart Jess has in excess of $50,000 now on his card.

“This horse (One Smart Jess) started out the year with a win in a tough allowance and came back to finish second in another tough allowance,” said McCreary. “Then he had some bad luck. He stumbled really bad out of the gate in his next two starts. I though all along he was good enough to be a contender, but so is Valiantinecandyrocks. She will give ‘Jess’ a run for his money in the final. They are both the right kind to be right there for the final.”

The full field of qualifiers for the $100,000 Sterlie Bertram Memorial Final set for Saturday, Sept. 28, in order of times with jockeys includes:  Valiantinecandyrocks (Jose Beltran, :20.157); Abe (Uriel Cervantes, :20.247); One Smart Jess (Jose Beltran, :20.334); Cause For Corona (Gerardo Garrido, :20.376); Nacho Binez (Fernando Morin, :20.475); RK The Magician (German Rodriguez, :20.482); Stoneburner (Berkley Packer, :20.484); Rarely A Tres (L.D. Martinez, :20.508); Get Used To Me (L.D. Martinez, :20.731); and I Like Beer (Oscar Macias, :20.855).

In addition to McCreary saddling multiple horses for the final, trainer Tony Cunningham will saddle three in the Bertram final, RK The Magician, Rarely a Tres, and Get Used To Me.

Jorge Carmona’s Ladys A Cartel stumbled at the start but quickly recovered to take the lead on the way to winning the $15,000 Champagne Lane Handicap on Friday at Los Alamitos. 

Making her first start since running in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on February 9, Ladys A Cartel got stronger as the race went longer, crossing the wire ¾ lengths ahead of Janet McKinnerney’s Jess Motions to win the 350-yard dash. Ridden by Ruben Lozano for trainer Danny Montes, Ladys A Cartel covered the distance in :17.702. Bred by A Regal Choice, Inc., the filly by Five Bar Cartel was picking up her first ever win at Los Alamitos and first since taking the Pot O’ Gold Futurity at Sun Downs in May of 2018. 

Ladys A Cartel, a daughter of  has performed well in previous starts at Los Alamitos. She qualified to the Wild West Futurity last year and was fifth in the Los Alamitos Invitational Stakes here on December 16. She then finished third in her Winter Derby trial before running sixth in the final to the outstanding Powerful Favorite. Ladys A Cartel has now won three of 10 career starts. She earned $8,250 for the win to the take her career earnings to $43,607. Carmona campaigned the Grade 1 winning champion Five Bar Cartel, so for the owner this was a victory to remember. 

Ridden by Erasmo Gasca, Jess Motions earned $3,375. She came into this race after running in both the Grade 2 Golden State Derby and Grade 3 La Primera Del Año Derby. Jess Motions finished fourth in the Golden State final.

EG High Desert Farms’ Anas Image finished third and was followed across the wire by Striver, No Telling, and Easily Lethal.  

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