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Tell Cartel Gives Connections Grade 1 Win In Los Alamitos Winter Derby

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LOS ALAMITOS, CA—FEBRUARY 8, 2020—Owner Martha Wells celebrated her first Grade 1 stakes victory after her homebred colt Tell Cartel, a longshot at odds of 17-1, pulled away late to win the $190,500 Los Alamitos Winter Derby over fastest qualifier You Can Run and the talented stakes placed colt Mental Error here on Saturday night.

Wells has campaigned Quarter Horses since the late 1990s and before that she saddled 90 starters over a three-year span following the passing of her husband, the stakes winning Quarter Horse trainer Dwayne Wells.

Over the years, "Mimi", as she's affectional known, has become one of the top Quarter Horse owners and breeders in California and one of the most respected. She was presented with the Frank Vessels, Sr. Memorial Award in appreciation for her outstanding contribution to the sport and has won the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Breeder Special Achievement Award in 2019 and 2012.
After running second in each of the past two runnings of the Winter Derby, Mimi got her turn to be in the winner's circle thanks to Tell Cartel's powerful finish. Sired by Favorite Cartel and out of Wells' outstanding 21-year-old mare Chicks Tell, Tell Cartel was sixth at the start before kicking it into high gear on the way to a ¾ length win over Steve Burns' You Can Run. Tell Cartel's clocking for the final 220 yards was a blistering :09.43, while his winning time coming in at :19.610.

Ridden by Ruben Lozano for trainer Matt Fales, Tell Cartel earned $80,031 for his fourth win in 11 career starts. The runner-up in last year's PCQHRA Breeders Futurity, Tell Cartel doubled his career earnings with this win to $160,016.

"I told Ruben to ride (Tell Cartel) like he rides Yanque," said Wells referring to another one of her stakes winning horses that Lozano rides. "Ruben just gave me a little wink and a nod and went 'Okay'. When he came back to the winner's circle he said 'Just like Yanque right?'

Yanque finished second to Jess My Kiss in the 2018 running of the Winter Derby. His full-brother, Red Hawk Cartel, ran second to Powerful Favorite in last year's running of this race. Bred by Wells, Yanque and Red Hawk Cartel's are both out of a daughter of Chicks Tells.

The 2010 PCQHRA Mare of the Year, Chicks Tell has also produced the multiple stakes winner Forrest Fire, stakes winner My Favorite Cartel, and the stakes placed winner Chicks Fayvorite. Now she's the dam of a Grade 1 winner in Tell Cartel.

"This was just fantastic," Wells said. "I have Tell Cartel and Red Hawk Cartel, two Favorite Cartel colts. I'm truly blessed."

Wells has enjoyed several major derby wins in her career. In 2000, she won the Grade 2 California Sires Cup Derby with the eventual AQHA champion 3-year-old gelding Chicks First Policy. In 2012, she won the Grade 2 El Primero Del Año Derby with New Look. Wells has also won Grade 3 stakes races with No Pet Peeves, Heza Sand Trap and Getit Together.

For Fales, this was his first Grade 1 derby victory. The trainer's first Grade 1 stakes win came in 2018 at Los Alamitos with Mickey Ward in the Cox Ranch Distance Challenge at 870 yards. Fales, who also trains Yanque, Red Hawk Cartel, My Favorite Cartel and many others for Wells, was at a loss for words following the running of the Winter Derby.

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