Powerful Favorite Is Just That in Los Alamitos Winter Derby

The Favorite Cartel gelding opens his sophomore campaign with a stakes win.

Q-Racing Journal

Powerful Favorite led at every call en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, 400-yard Los Alamitos Winter Derby. PHOTO: Los Alamitos Racecourse

Sent to post as the 13-10 favorite in a field of nine 3-year-olds, Rosenthal Ranch's Powerful Favorite sprinted to a clear 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $198,700 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

Powerful Favorite covered 400 yards in :19.774 under jockey Eduardo Nicasio. Chris O'Dell prepped the sorrel son of Favorite Cartel.

 
Connie Rosenthal and Chris O'Dell
with the Los Alamitos Winter Derby
trophy. PHOTO: Los Alamitos
Racecourse

Powerful Favorite was bred in California by James Markum and Steve Burns. The gelding was a $90,000 yearling buy at the 2017 Los Alamitos Equine Sale.

"We wouldn’t have this horse if it wasn’t for Connie,” O’Dell said. “She doesn’t like to talk about it, but she’s the one that raised her hand during the bidding and bought him. The Rosenthals paid $90,000 for this horse. That’s a nice chunk of money. When the horse entered the sale ring, Connie asked me if this is the horse that I liked. When I said that it was, she said, ‘Well, let’s get him.’”

Powerful Favorite is out of Remember Me Rose, a multiple graded stakes winning daughter of Corona Cartel. The gelding has won five of 11 starts, and the $83,454 winner's share of the Winter Derby purse pushed his earnings to $404,915.

Powerful Favorite's two stakes wins include a neck victory in last year's 350-yard, $380,000 Governor's Cup Futurity (RG2).

“Chris has done a wonderful job with him,” Connie Rosenthal said. “John Firth did a fabulous job breaking him, and he said all along that he was going to be a good horse. This is what we hoped for and to have it be a reality is just a blessing. It’s truly wonderful.”

“What a great team effort with my assistant Adalberto “Maloso” Aceves, the grooms, and Eduardo Nicasio, who spent a lot of time on the horse," O'Dell said. "This horse was terrible in the gates. Even the first time he ever ran, he threw some fits in the gate. We put our heads together and came up with the flipping halter. We’ve had good luck with that. I don’t know for sure what we’ll do next. He’s in the El Primero but we may skip it and look for some other things. We’ll see.”

About two weeks ago at the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Awards Banquet, Rosenthal Ranch received the Frank Vessels Sr. Memorial Award for their contributions to Quarter Horse racing. It was an emotional moment for Connie and her family, as she shared with those in attendance how much racing meant to her late husband, Bob.  

 “I can’t fathom this (past) year, now the beginning of this year and what’s happening,” Connie Rosenthal said. “This horse is magnificent. This is what we hoped for and to have it be a reality is a blessing. It’s truly wonderful.”

Red Hawk Cartel finished second and was followed by Terrific First Down, Mister Appolitical, Heza Blues Man, Ladys A Cartel, I Like My Chances, Singles Cruise, and Cole Man 47. Tough Enough Jess was scratched.

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