Lotta Blues Man Returns in "Deuce" Final

The fastest qualifier draws post 3 for Sunday's $1.9-million Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Q-Racing Journal

Morning-line maker Ed Burgart has made Lotta Blues Man the even-money favorite for Saturday's Grade 1, 400-yard Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity. The homebred gelding is pictured here winning the Golden State Million Futurity in October. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Lucky Seven Ranch's Lotta Blues Man, a Grade 1-winning son of Favorite Cartel, is the even-money morning-line favorite for Sunday's 400-yard, $1,950,050 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1).

Stride for stride and second for second, the "Deuce," as it is known, will offer California’s biggest payout of the year, as winner of the stakes will earn a first place check of $801,381. At 400 yards, the winner of the Los Alamitos Two-Million Futurity will earn about $40,000 per second, and every yard the winner travels will be worth $2,003.45. Any way you cut it, it’ll be a good day in the office for the winner. 

Russell and Lisa Stooks' Lucky Seven Ranch has had a solid fall, as its Sass Me Blue won the Grade 1, $100,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap in September with Sass Me Blue, who earned a berth in Saturday's Champion of Champions (G1) with that victory, and the Grade 1, 400-yard Golden State Million Futurity in October with Lotta Blues Man.

Lotta Blues Man is coming off of a 1 1/4-length victory in the fifth of 14 "Deuce" trials on November 20. The homebred gelding is one of only three horses to qualify to all of Los Alamitos' million-dollar races this year; the others are Cartel Sixes and Worth Doing.

An earner of $551,395 from six outs, all at Los Alamitos, Lotta Blues Man will be ridden by Cody Jensen on Sunday.

Russell Stooks has given trainer Mike Casselman great credit for Lotta Blues Man’s year-long successes.

"Mike has done an incredible job," Stooks added. "Every horse has a program tailored to that horse's needs. His barns are immaculate; you could eat off of the floor of his barn. We're very happy.

"His help is the best and Cody Jensen is riding as good as anybody," he added. "It's a good team. It's a good program for this horse. (Lotta Blues Man) is not real big, but he's not real hard on himself. He's an easy keeper and sleeps a lot in the barn. We just need to get one more race out of him this year."

Perennial champion trainer Paul Jones will send out One Hot Habit, a daughter of Walk Thru Fire racing for Turner Farms and a finalist in the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day.

"We ran in the Ruidoso Futurity trials and qualified," Jones said. "We ran in the All American Futurity trials and qualified, and now we ran in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity trials and qualified as well. We're three-for-three with this filly.

"We bought her at the sale, and then I sent her to my ranch in Tularosa, New Mexico," he added. "My assistant Lisa Saumell, who manages the New Mexico ranch, did a great job working with this filly. She's a good filly. This is her first time out here, and she needed a race, but she ran a good second to the fastest qualifier, Lotta Blues Man. It's tough to get a horse in the finals here. It takes the right horse to qualify."

"When the Turners got her, they sent her right to me and I've had her ever since," Saumell said in an interview on aqharacing.com. "I love having them in the elevation, and I love breaking babies - it's one of the things I do best. I like to look inside them and really get to know them.

"One Hot Habit's a friendly filly who loves to be petted, and from day one she has really been a dream to work with," she added. "Fillies usually come with an attitude, and they're the ones that run. This filly didn't come with an attitude and she runs. She's been a sweetheart."

Cartel Sixes races for P and J Racing Ltd. from the barn of trainer Jaime Gomez, who has won the Ed Burke Million Futurity four times, the Golden State Million Futurity three times and the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity once. His victory in the “Deuce” came with in 1996 with Corona Cartel, who has become one of Quarter Horse racing's leading sires.

Bred by AQHA past president Johnny Trotter of Hereford, Texas, Cartel Sixes is a full brother to the 2007 Golden State Million Futurity winner and "Deuce" runner-up Eye For Corona

"It's unbelievable," said Pam Williams of P and J Racing. "I told my husband before the trials that Cartel Sixes had already qualified to two of the million-dollar futurities, so whatever happened we were okay with it.

"But Jaime is the man," she added. "It's just unbelievable to see this horse qualify to all three big futurities. We'll be back in a couple of weeks for the final and we'll be back next year. California is my second home right now." 

Gomez will also send out Katella Deli for owners James Streelman and Paul Blanchard. Named after well-known delicatessen, restaurant and bakery located less than a mile from the track, Katella Deli has been one of Gomez’s favorites all year long.

“We’ve been unlucky with him a few times, but he’s a horse that I’ve loved since day one,” he said.

Blanchard is one of the most respected horsemen in New Mexico and the owner of The Downs at Albuquerque. Dr. Streelman is a staple at Los Alamitos. As one half of the famed Dutch Masters III, Streelman won the Ed Burke Million this year with Chazaq and has also campaigned star juveniles like Higher Fire, Romeo Ryon, Twin Spires and more.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Katella Deli (Carlos Huerta), 12-1
Worth Doing (Tony Guymon), 6-1
Lotta Blues Man (Cody Jensen), Even
One Hot Habit (Ramon Sanchez), 15-1
Ms Jess Knockout (Cruz Mendez), 20-1
Cartel Sixes (Rodrigo Aceves), 6-1
Kissed By An Eagle (Cesar DeAlba), 4-1
Billionaire Boy (Jesus Rios Ayala), 30-1
Mr Apollitical Dash (Eduardo Nicasio), 12-1
Jess Mas (Oscar Peinado), 30-1

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