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Fastest qualifier Walk Thru Crystal heads Kindergarten field, Gomez aims for a record eighth win


May 16, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Walk Thru Crystal sets the fastest qualifying time—300 yards in :15.411— from eight trials on to the Kindergarten Futurity
(photo by Los Alamitos Race Course)
Trainer Jaime Gomez looks to win his eighth Grade 2 Kindergarten Futurity victory when he saddles three of the 10 horses that will compete in the 300-yard dash on Sunday, May 17, at Los Alamitos Race Course. The Kindergarten features a purse of $294,500, making it its richest running since 2011. The Kindergarten is scheduled as the ninth and final race on the card. First post is at 5:20 p.m.

The fastest qualifier and third-fastest qualifier—Walk Thru Crystal and Marko Czech—are both fillies trained by Yanet Rodriguez, who will be saddling her first ever futurity starters at Los Alamitos. Rodriguez is a second generation trainer at the Orange County oval. Her father, Santiago Rodriguez, won 346 Quarter Horse races at Los Alamitos during his training career.

“I grew up coming to Los Alamitos,” Yanet said. “I started helping my dad at the ranch when I was a youngster and received my license to train horses when I was 18. I’ve training on my own for about 10 years. It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of my first futurity at Los Alamitos. Every trainer would love to have a horse in a futurity. We are very excited to have two.”

Walk Thru Crystal (by Walk Thru Fire) is undefeated in her two career starts. Ridden by Alejandro Luna, Walk Thru Fire won her trial by a neck over second fastest qualifier Carnegie Haul. She was a runaway winner in her maiden race by 1½ lengths. Alejandro Luna will pilot the top qualifier from post number three.

Stablemate Marko Czech was second to Walk Thru Crystal in their maiden race, but she led every step of the way in her Kindergarten trial to win by a neck. The homebred filly is a half sister of multiple Grade 1 finalist Jimmy Delivers. She’ll be ridden by young pilot Jesus Rios Ayala.

“This filly just keeps getting better,” Rodriguez said. “She’s been full of surprises.”

Jaime Gomez has a great history in this race and is currently tied with the late great Blane Schvaneveldt with seven Kindergarten wins. Gomez, who is in the midst of a solid season, will saddle second fastest qualifier Carnegie Haul for Bobby Cox in addition to Docs Best Card, which Gomez owns, and Dutch Masters III’s Thru The Night. Gomez has previously saddled three Kindergarten winners for Dutch Masters III in the form of Secret Card, Sassy Smith, and Twin Spires. Secret Card is a half sister of Docs Best Card.

“I’ve been training for Dr. Streelman of Dutch Masters III forever,” Gomez said. “That man has been like a father to me and I am happy to have another one of his Kindergarten contenders. I have three nice babies in this race and they’ve showed me a lot of talent. I think I have a chance to win.

“Docs Best Card stumbled a little in his trial,” Gomez added. “He has trouble at the start, but he made up a lot of ground. I also like Carnegie Haul a lot. He lugged out a little at the start of his trial. He also hit himself when he was running for about the last 100 yards of his trial race. He just grabbed a hold of his bridle. Carlos couldn’t use the whip on him for the last 100 yards.”

Gomez is confident that Carnegie Haul will be a factor in the final. The colt by Corona Cartel will start from post number one with Huerta in the irons. “He’s a super nice horse,” Gomez added.

Legendary jockey G.R. Carter arrives at Los Alamitos to pilot Docs Best Card from post number six.

Trainer Jose Flores and jockey Cruz Mendez have combined to win the last two runnings of the Kindergarten with Old Girl in 2014 and Glitter In My Face in 2013. They will now pair up with Juan Humberto Moya’s Trust Me Not, who posted the most impressive victory of the trials. The gelding by TR Dasher was never challenged in his heat while scoring a 2¼ length victory. Flores will look to become the third trainer to win three straight runnings of the Kindergarten. Schvaneveldt won three in a row starting in 1975 (Bobbys Angels, Sir Chica More, Town Policy) and Gomez went three for three beginning in 2005 (Gold Nugget Rd, Vachetta, and Carters Cartel).

Ed Allred, the sport’s all-time leading owners and breeder, will be going after his first win in the Kindergarten when Scott Willoughby saddles homebreds Ready Red and Joyous. The latter will be ridden by Ramon Sanchez, who returned to action this weekend after missing two months with a broken toe. Joyous, a filly by Kiddy Up, will start from post number nine. She won her maiden race by a half length and fought hard when finishing second to High Class Cartel in the trials. The TR Dasher gelding Ready Red showed a ton of quickness in his trial effort while finishing third against the top two qualifiers Walk Thru Crystal and Carnegie Haul. Eulices Gomez, who was on fire aboard Quarter Horses this month, will get the call on Ready Red.

Angela Aquino and Ashley Garcia’s High Class Cartel is one of only two undefeated runners in this race, Walk Thru Crystal is the other one. Also sired by TR Dasher, High Class Cartel won her first start by 1 ¼ lengths and then her trial by a neck. Big money rider Saul Ramirez, Jr. will ride the Reginald Rasner-bred filly from post eight. Anna and Rod MacPherson Jr.’s Big Time Wild will complete the field. Fourth to Walk Thru Crystal in the trials, Big Time Wild is a half brother to multiple futurity finalists Chicanery and More Than Wild. Trainer John Cooper will saddle the gray gelding by Separatist. Cooper trained Separatist for Rod MacPherson.