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This weekend at Los Alamitos: $61K Claiming Futurity on Saturday, Vessels Maturity trials on Sunday

June 14, 2013     E-mail this page to a friend!

Racing for his new connections of owners Dan Ray and John Orlandini, multiple winner Alota Cartel will go after her third victory in a row in Saturday's running of the $61,600 Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity.

Trained by Charles Treece and ridden by Santiago Mendez, Alota Cartel is one of four horses racing in this 350-yard final that was claimed on trial night back on May 26. Alota Cartel won her trial by 1 ½ lengths with Mendez aboard. In fact, Mendez has ridden the filly in all three of her previous starts. Alota Cartel's new owners will be taking part in their first major Quarter Horse event.

"A few months ago Dan called me to talk about the Claiming Futurity," Treece said. "We talked about it for a while and we decided to give it a look. Dan has never had a Quarter Horse before. We had a horse picked out for every (trial) that we were going to try to claim. We stopped after the first trial because we got lucky with Alota Cartel."

Ray and Orlandini, however, are no strangers to racing at Los Alamitos. The owners have raced several Thoroughbreds at the Orange County in past seasons. On Saturday, their Carters Cartel filly will start from post number eight in the Los Alamitos Claiming Futurity.

The late May trials were contested as claiming events and horses could be claimed for a price of $12,500 each. In addition to Alota Cartel, the others finalists claimed out of the trials are Mozilla, who will race for owner Steve Mickaelian, She Pays Dividends, now owned by Gerald Kaul and Vince Smith, and Think About It, who was claimed by Gustavo De La Torre.

Trained by Jimmy Glenn, Jr. and ridden by Eulices Gomez, Mozilla posted the second fastest times after scoring a half-length victory over third fastest qualifier She Pays Dividends. Trained by Vince Smith, She Pays Dividends also posted a second place finish to eventual Kindergarten Futurity winner Glitter In My Face in their racing debut on April 14. Lisa Anderson’s Chicks On Wings won the other trial thanks to a hard fought nose decision over RP Jets Azoomen. Lin Melton will saddle the sorrel filly, who had previously finished fourth in a trial to the Kindergarten. The field will be completed by RP Jets Azoomen, Candelaria Sport, Separate Gift JH3 and Top Fuel Cha Cha.

Outstanding group set to run in Vessels Maturity trials

Major Los Alamitos derby winners Deniro, PK Fire and New Look are among the 16 older horses that will compete in a pair of 400-yard trials to the $167,900 Vessels Maturity on Sunday at Los Alamitos. The horses with the 10 fastest times will move on to the Grade 1 final to be held on July 7. The winner of the Vessels Maturity will earn a starting berth to the prestigious $750,000 Champion of Champions on December 14.

Owned by Shane O’Leary, Deniro will be looking for a return trip to the Champion of Champions after finishing fifth in last year’s classic. The Desirio gelding will be making his first start since the Champion of Champions following a 2012 campaign that saw him win the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby and finished second by a nose in the Los Alamitos Winter Derby. To be ridden by Eduardo Nicasio for trainer Jose De La Torre, Deniro has posted three workouts in preparation for this trial. His most recent drill was a 350-yard workout in :18.30 on May 25.

The opening trial will also feature Paul Blanchard’s Bills Last, who finished second in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship earlier this season, and two-time local stakes winner Fols Jesse. The field will also feature La Pacifica Handicap runner-up Queens R Blue, 2011 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity finalist Hit It Big, PCQHRA Breeders Derby third place finisher Chicks Boudro, the stakes placed sprinter Perfect Place and the stakes experienced newcomer Jess One Ace.

Martha Wells’ New Look and Gerardo Pasquel’s PK Fire, the winners of the last two runnings of the El Primero Del Ano Derby, are among the top names that will participate in the second trial. In addition to the winning the El Primero last year, New Look also scored stakes wins in the Town Policy and Dana Point handicaps in 2012. His last start came in the Winter Championship and he has since posted a nice 350-yard workout of :17.90 on May 28. PK Fire won the 2011 El Primero and most recently he enjoyed a victory in the Kaweah Bar Handicap on May 4. He finished third in last year’s running of the Vessels Maturity.

The richest horse among the 16 trialists is Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire, who has earned $587,627 in his career. Last To Fire’s career is filled with appearances in Grade 1 stakes races here, including a second in the 2011 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity. This trial will also feature newcomer Jess Featureme Quick, the winner of the 2012 Hobbs America Derby and most recently the runner-up in the $100,000 Bank of America Sunland Challenge Championship on April 7. He was also fourth in last year’s All American Derby. Bitterroot Derby winner Alittlebitofivory, Grade 1 derby finalist Our Man David, the stakes placed Gone With A Win and the five-time local winner Steller will complete this field.