LOS ALAMITOS, CA—OCTOBER 17, 2020—Owned and bred by Martha Wells, Tell Cartel recaptured the winning form that made him the top sophomore Quarter Horse during the early part of the meet at Los Alamitos Race Course thanks to an impressive 1-¼ length score in the fastest qualifying time to the richest running ever of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby here on Saturday night.
Forty runners competed in the six trials to the Los Alamitos Super Derby with the horses with the 10 fastest times advancing to the 400-yard final to be held here on Sunday, November 8. The $1,052,350 purse for the Super Derby is the richest in the 66-year history of the race. The winner will also receive a provisional berth to the Grade 1. $600,000 Champion of Champions to be held here on December 12.
Ridden by Ruben Lozano for trainer Matt Fales, Tell Cartel won the second of six trials after taking the lead shortly after the start and then extending his advantage with each stride. The effort was reminiscent of his derby victories earlier this year when he won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby on February 8 and the El Primero Del Año Derby on March 29.
Tell Cartel showed tremendous finishing kicks in both of his derby wins and he was just equally strong at the end of his Super Derby trial. The colt by Favorite Cartel covered the 400 yards in :19.59
In between his derby wins and this trial victory, Tell Cartel had some rough outings during a three-race losing streak. He was fourth in the Grade 2 Golden State Derby final on August 16 and a disappointing sixth as the favorite in his trial to the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Derby on September 12. All that is in the past now after his strong trial victory.
"That was incredible," Fales said. "Right now, he's got a bounce to him that is nice. I did not train him as hard coming into this race. He did not have any big workout. Instead of doing that, I just let him be him. I decided that I did not want to (push him) so hard that I would get in his way. I think maybe we put too much pressure on the horse, and he could feel that. I was not nervous tonight. I was happy with whatever the results were going to be tonight. Maybe he felt that from me, a nice vibe, a different energy from me. We were looser going into the race. At the highest level you better be 100% or you will run third or fourth. I think the timing is right with him where he's 100% now. I've really have not done anything differently training wise. It's a pretty incredible feeling right now."
Fales added that he did notice a couple of keys moments during Tell Cartel's winning journey.
"Halfway through the race Ruben asked him right-handed and the horse re-engaged, got motivated and just took off," Fales said. "And then in the very last part of the race – the final 25 yards – I saw him just flying through there. It makes me feel that at 440, if I can run him in a 440 race, he might be just perfect for it. When he gets into a rhythm, he just continues to go. It is a great night for the whole team, and it is going to be amazing three weeks heading into the Super Derby final. I know I will be getting up extra early for the next three weeks. I am so happy right now."
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