December 18-20 Stakes Recap

A recap of non-graded stakes.

Q-Racing Journal

Vivid scored her first career stakes win in Friday's $20,000 A Ransom Handicap at Los Alamitos. PHOTO: Scott Martinez.

Following is a recap of all official American Quarter Horse stakes for the week of December 18-20, listed by track. For recaps of graded stakes and Bank of America Racing Challenge events, see the individual recap stories posted in the Racing News section. This recap page will be updated throughout the week.

Evangeline Downs
Alejandra Carrion's EC Cartel ran his win streak to three in Saturday's $26,000 IP 870 Stakes.

Ridden by Francisco Calderon for trainer Trey Ellis, EC Cartel went 870 yards in :46.265 while defeating Jessa Little Rusty by 1 1/2 lengths and posting a 90 speed index. The 6-year-old son of Tinys First Corona was coming off of a Lone Star Park fall campaign in which he won both of his starts, including the 870-yard, $25,000 Q-Racing Video Distance Stakes on November 6.

EC Cartel was bred in Texas by Enrique Carrion. The gelding has won seven of 19 races, including two stakes, and he has banked $79,660.

KR Jess Hopeful ran third, 2 3/4 lengths behind EC Cartel. Keepn It Kool, Sheza Gamer, and The Game Lover completed the order of finish.

Also on Saturday, Scoopies Leaving You sprinted to a wire-to-wire, half-length win in the 350-yard Sam's Town Stakes.

Under jockey Donald Watson, who rode Scoopies Leaving You for owner Joel Galindo and trainer Kevin Broussard, the 4-year-old stallion stopped the timer in :17.593. The winner's share of the $25,850 purse boosted his earnings to $195,780.

Scoopies Leaving You was bred in Louisiana by Gerald D. Libersat. The stallion has won 11 of 22 outs, and his four lifetime stakes wins include the October 2 Evangeline Downs Dash and August 22 Gentilly Dash Stakes at Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans.

Cartels Fortune ran second and was followed by odds-on favorite TF Eyes R Struttin, JW Divino Comento, Sleepers Best Corona, The Eagle Express, Quic Carter, Allizoom, T Boy G, and Chale Viejo.

Los Alamitos
Howard Nichols’ Vivid was a prompt 6-5 favorite in Friday’s $20,000 A Ransom Handicap for 3-year-olds.

Prepped by Jose Flores and ridden by Cody Jensen, Vivid covered 350 yards in :17.771 while defeating Tango In Cash by a half of a length. The filly ran second, a head behind winner Bac In Front, in her most recent stakes out, the October 2, $122,500 PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby (G3).

“We’ve had some trouble with her in the gate, but she’s always a strong finisher,” said Nichols of Vivid. “She’s a big filly, so she’s not as quick as some of the smaller horses, but she’s improved.

“We think she’s going to be a nice 4-year-old,” he added. “I’ll sit down with Jose and have a conversation about our (future) plans with this filly.”

A daughter of Walk Thru Fire and the graded stakes winning Separatist filly Realistically, Vivid was bred in California by Dr. Edward Allred. Vivid has won four of 13 races, and the $11,000 winner’s share of the A Ransom Handicap purse pushed her bankroll to $61,268.

Boundless Ocean finished third and was followed by Old Girl and Chicanery.

Tony Guymon rode Front And Center to a neck victory in the $35,000 First Down Dash Handicap (G3) on Saturday.

Trained by Mark Skeen for owners Ronald Skeen and Fawna Knight, Front And Center went 400 yards on a sloppy and sealed track in :19.914. The $19,250 winner's share of the purse from the 4-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding's fourth consecutive win and first stakes score pushed his bankroll to $73,694 from 24 outs.

"He's such a nice horse; he's a gentle horse, a good eater and a lot of fun to be around," said assistant trainer Holly Skeen of Front And Center. "The biggest thing is that as he's matured he's improved in the starting gate. He's learned to relax, and that's helped him a lot.

"We'll keep finding spots for him to compete," she added. "We're looking forward to his races next year."

Front And Center was bred in California by Dr. Edward Allred. The gelding has won six races, and his current streak includes three allowance races at this track.

Jake Gold Br, the 6-5 favorite, finished second and was followed by Remarkableyesapoweer, Wilmas Alright Now, Margaritas N Coronas, Joe Legacy, Mrs Pickens, and The Midnite Caller.

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