The Racing Journal Logo

Blackberry Czech leads the girl power contingent in Kindergarten Futurity

May 17, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

Blackberry Czech sets the fastest time from eight trial to Sunday's Kindergarten Futurity—300 yards in :15.439.
(photo by Scott Martinez, courtesy of Los Alamitos Race Course)
Salvador Pimienta’s Blackberry Czech has what it takes to check mate her rivals in the Grade 2 $268,200 Kindergarten Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos Race Course, but the task will not be easy as she’ll be facing a field that includes two undefeated fillies in Bonanza Racing Stables’ The Cartel Straw and Kolleen Ledgerwood’s Tres Racer. One of the marquee runners in the famous Kindergarten Futurity, Blackberry Czech still enters as one of the marquee runners in this race after posting the fastest 300-yard qualifying time of :15.439 to the prestigious Kindergarten in the trials on May 6.

For Pimienta, a native of Tecolotlan, Jalisco in Mexico, watching Blackberry Czech’s rise to prominence has been one of the great enjoyments of his lifelong involvement with Quarter Horses. Horses have always been front and center in the life of a man that grew up surrounded by them and by the cattle that his father raised at their ranch in Mexico.

“My dad’s favorites were his mules that he used for work,” Pimienta said. “But I liked the horses. I bought my first horse with the money that I made working when I was 17 years old. I was still in high school in Mexico and I was fortune to work in a program that helped people become literate. I used that money to buy my first horse and then I took to a match race close to my hometown and he gave me my first win.”

Pimienta has been racing horses ever since. Over the years, Pimienta has campaigned a modest group of horses at Los Alamitos that has resulted in 10 wins from 67 starters. In addition to Blackberry Czech, he has also raced El Primero Del Ano Derby finalist Rey Tiburon, futurity trialist Fascination Gal and Noble Hoy, a half sister to Blackberry Czech.

Now living in Marana, Arizona, Pimienta finds his home to be in the midst of horse country.

“There are a lot of horse farms in the area. The world champion barrel racer lives in the area and you’ll find a lot of places with cutting and barrel horses. This is where I raise my horses. This is where I keep my mares.”

Pimienta briefly owned Kindhearted, the mother of multiple Grade 1 runner Kindly Fellow. He bought her the day after her son Wimping ran an impressive race at Los Alamitos. He would eventually sell her to trainer Jaime Gomez. Pimienta’s broodmare band now consists of Corona Blurr, the mother of Rey Tiburon, and Sonora Cartel, a half sister to Rey Tiburon. RA Noble, the mother of Blackberry Czech, was another one of Pimienta’s mares before she passed away in 2011.

“We lost her because of laminitis,” Pimienta said. “I never had any intention of keeping RA Noble as my broodmare. I bought her from Frank and Rosie Alvarado because I had an agent in Mexico that wanted a fast horse. On the day that I was sending her to Mexico she became crazy as she was entering the horse trailer and she kicked it very hard. She suffered a terrible injury and I had no choice but to keep her. I couldn’t send her anywhere in that condition so I was forced to keep her. I ended up giving that agent two other mares in exchange for RA Noble.

“I started breeding her to Hawkinson and she produced Noble Coyote, who became an allowance winner, and also Gift For Twins, who is named after my twin daughters, Laura and Priscilla. I sold Gift For Twins as a yearling, but then I saw her again six months later and I fell in love with her. I bought her back and she went on to post the fastest qualifying time to the Hermosillo Futurity in Sonora, Mexico and would later run second in the final. The next year she won the Clasico Easily A Possum in Mexico City.”

Pimienta and his wife, Alicia, have four children. The oldest is 21-year-old Marlon, who is currently attending New Mexico State University. Estefania is 19 and she attends Pima College, while the couple’s 17-year-old twin daughters will both be going to the University of Arizona in the near future.

“They play soccer together and earlier this month their team, Tucson Soccer Academy, won the US Youth Soccer Arizona state title,” Pimienta said proudly.

As for his good luck with the horses, Pimienta credits his mentor and friend, the late Jose De Jesus Jimenez.

“I worked for Jose when I was doing veterinary work in Mexico,” Pimienta said. “Jose was a respected breeder in Mexico and he’s known for purchasing Rare Form as a yearling for $15,000. Rare Form went on to make a lot of money (over $278,000) and became an AQHA champion. Jose had a sensational eye for horses. He bought good horses like Sir Gold Miner and Diva Reba as yearlings. He also bought the talented Ought To Be First before selling him to Anjora Corporation. Jose taught so much about the horse racing business and industry.”

Pimienta learned his lessons well. At the 2007 Los Alamitos Equine Sale, he was involved in the purchase of the yearling Mr Queens Mystery for $30,000 and the Shazoom runner would go on to win the $1.15 million Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity.

“I’ve been around the horses all my life,” Pimienta said. “I’m fortunate to have been able to make a living working in the world of horses.”

Blackberry Czech will now look give Pimienta and his family with one more memorable moment, this one in the famous Kindergarten Futurity at Los Alamitos on Sunday night.

Seven fillies in the field

The fastest four qualifiers from eight trials on May 6 were all fillies, and a total of seven fillies qualified for Sunday’s final.

Blackberry Czech won her maiden in her second career start when she won the third trial heat in a final time of :15.439 for 300 yards. She nearly won her career debut when she was second by a neck in a 300-yard maiden race at Los Alamitos on April 15, stopping the clock at :15.484 in that effort.