Pedigree Analysis: My Favorite Check

Cashing in on a good pedigree.

Q-Racing Journal

The Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes was a close finish. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Most of us would agree: Our favorite kind of check is a winning one.

It’s certainly true for Ron Hartley, whose joy continued on Sunday night when his homebred My Favorite Check eked out a hard-fought victory in the $111,000 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes (which is not an official stakes). A week before, Hartley enjoyed a huge thrill when the tremendous champions Moonist and Heza Dasha Fire battled valiantly to the wire in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1), with Hartley’s Moonist coming out on top (that time). A week later, Hartley and trainer John Cooper joined jockey Tony Guymon and My Favorite Check for another well-earned victory. This is now My Favorite Check’s third win in four starts, all of them since the horse made his first career start on December 12.

Bred by Hartley, My Favorite Check is a gelding by Favorite Cartel out of the Check Him Out mare Six Checks. This horse’s pedigree is quite notable for its diversity. Of the top three sires currently influencing the sport (First Down Dash, Corona Cartel and Mr Jess Perry), only Corona Cartel appears  in the first three generations, which is peppered by Thoroughbred outcrosses.

Favorite Cartel last year finished as the No. 2 leading freshman sire, behind only All American Futurity (G1) winner-siring Good Reason SA. It was a neat trick for the two dark brown stallions, who both happen to be sons of the late Favorite Trick (TB), both products of the year 2007, and both stablemates trained by Blane Schvaneveldt Champion Trainer Paul Jones.

Favorite Cartel – whom Jones also bred and raced in partnership – concentrated on Ruidoso early in his career, finishing third in the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and fourth in the All American Futurity (G1) and making it into the gate of the Rainbow and All American derbies. Good Reason SA got started late, not making his first start until September of his 2-year-old year. Racing exclusively at Los Al, he won the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) over Apollitical Jess in his fourth start.

Both were top 3-year-olds and even better older runners; Favorite Cartel won the 2011 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) and would earn $607,669 in his career. They would meet in the 2011 Champion of Champions, with Good Reason SA taking the victory and eventually the aged champion honors.

Favorite Cartel stands at Burns Ranch at Menifee, California, and has to date sired 37 winners from 64 starters, and the earners of more than $1.2 million. They include Grade 1 winners Little Talks and Fire At Will, as well as second-place Maiden Stakes finisher Flay (a half brother to champion Foose).

His sire, Favorite Trick (TB), was Thoroughbred racing’s horse of the year as a 2-year-old in 1997. After siring top runners Tricky Dust ($428,581) and Prankster CF ($230,013), a syndicate acquired him for stud. His only full Quarter Horse crop was 2007, as unfortunately he died in the tragic 2006 fire that also took the lives of Fredricksburg, The Down Side, Southern Cartel and two other Thoroughbreds. His unfulfilled potential to become one of the great Thoroughbred outcrosses, combined with the unfortunate death of Good Reason SA (who died in 2012, but does have limited breedings still available), leaves Favorite Cartel as the leading candidate to continue this sire line. Favorite Cartel’s dam is the Corona Cartel mare Shenoshercorona; his half-sister, Shescheckinumout is the dam of Senor Gianni (by Good Reason SA, $126,467) and Foose Is Loose (by Foose, $112,170).

My Favorite Check’s dam, Six Checks, was also bred by Hartley out of the Streakin Six mare Joy Of Six, a daughter of the great mare Make Mine Cash. My Favorite Check is Six Check’s second foal. Her sire, Check Him Out, is another example of an outcross, being by the Thoroughbred stallion Hennessy and out of the First Down Dash mare Check Her Twice.

Six Checks is a sister to stakes-placed runner Joys Secret (by No Secrets Here, $25,586) and stakes producers Tag A Joy (dam of The Joy Of Jazz ($38,837)), Streakin For Joy (dam of Tanqueray Cocktail ($36,769)) and Jeryls Choice (dam of La Dominica ($56,538)).

Of course, My Favorite Check’s third dam is Make Mine Cash, winner of the 1982 Faberge Special Effort Futurity and 1983 All American Derby (G1) who earned $1,142,428 in her racing career.

My Favorite Check has a ways to go yet to catch up with Hartley’s superstar Moonist, but this is a good first step.

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