The Louisiana Cartel
-photo by Coady Photography
The Louisiana Cartel Wins the $100,260 Bank of America Texas Challenge at SHRP

(Houston, Texas - Saturday, March 26, 2011) - It was a big night for American Quarter Horse trainer Jorge Haddad as he won both feature races on the Saturday night Sam Houston Race Park program. He saddled The Louisiana Cartel, who came very close to setting a new track record in the $100,260 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2), as well as Jakes Charming Jody who was an impressive winner of the $80,000 Sam Houston Maiden Classic.

Haddad owns and trains The Louisiana Cartel, a four-year-old son of Corona Cartel who drew off by two lengths in the 440-yard Bank of America Texas Challenge under rider David Alvarez. Breaking from post position four, The Louisiana Cartel defeated a top caliber field which included defending champion Stolis Winner, 2010 Adequan Derby Challenge Champion Acorn, multiple graded stakes mare, XO Kate, and Comin Thru, voted 2010 American Quarter Horse of the Meet last year at Sam Houston Race Park. He recorded a career high speed index of 105, crossing the wire in :21.357, just two-hundredths of a second off the track record.

Haddad had confidence in his runner, who won an open allowance on March 12, in preparation for tonight’s stakes.

“We gave him that allowance to get him ready,” said Jorge Haddad, Jr. in the winner’s circle following the race. “We thought he was in top shape and were just hoping he would do the job. He broke perfectly and smoked them. This was unforgettable; something we can look forward to for the rest of the year.”

Acorn, owned by Rose Mary Chandler and trained by Janet VanBebber, ran second. This was the first start at 440-yards and against older horses for the 4-year-old son of Oak Tree Special.

“He had a slight bobble,” said rider Alfonso Lujan. “It took him a while to get going, but once he did, he finished well. The Louisiana Cartel ran a perfect race.”

XO Kate, who was the runner-up in the 2010 Bank of America Texas Challenge, was third and Stolis Winner ran fourth.

The Louisiana Cartel paid $13.40 for the win and earned $48,125 for tonight’s graded stakes victory. He will represent Texas in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos on October 29. Haddad indicated that he might run in the Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park before heading to California.

Alvarez returned to the winner’s circle aboard fastest qualifier Jakes Charming Jody, who lived up to her post-time favoritism in the $80,000 Sam Houston Maiden Classic. The 3-year-old daughter of Jody O Toole won her trial in :17.742 for owner/ breeder Gary Kurz and won the final in :17.534.

“She ran a wonderful race tonight,” said Haddad. “She ran faster than the derby horses (in trials for the Sam Houston Derby) so I am really pleased with her.”

La Fuente, who was the ninth fastest qualifier, closed for second under rider Luis Ramirez and Ms Tnt, the entrymate of Jakes Charming Jody, ran third.

Texas Icon Fastest Qualifier in the $152,800 Sam Houston Derby

The first five races of the Saturday night card were trials for the $152,800 Sam Houston Derby. Texas Icon, a Corona Cartel colt owned and bred in Texas by Jerry Windham was the fastest qualifier, covering 350 yards in:17.562. David Alvarez rode the bay colt who is trained by Tommy Zarate.

“It just took him a little longer to mature,” said Windham. “We took him to Turf Paradise last October to get him qualified for the Challenge Championships. His legs went out from under him and he finished third, but went to Fair Grounds and won one of the undercard stakes.”

The ten fastest qualifiers will return for the finals on Saturday, April 9.

$152,800 Sam Houston Derby Trials
Trials: Saturday, March 26, 2011
Final: Saturday, April 9, 2011
Three-Year-Olds, 350 Yards

Track Record: Hotdoggin - :17.360 - July 27, 2001

Qualifying Time
Texas Icon David A. Alvarez Thomas Zarate :17.562
Stones Puede Luis L. Vivanco Yasmine Medina Fierro :17.625
Royal Invasor Julian Cantu Jonathan Castaneda :17.714
Jessica Lane Julian Cantu Jonathan Castaneda :17.749
Texas Kool Jose Amador Alvarez Juan Carlos Saucedo :17.768
Bigtime Cat Alfonso Lujan Preston Jourdan :17.774
Hollywood Sixes Cipriano Uscanga Vidana Ben Garza :17.775
Cooleo Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo Judd S. Kearl :17.806
Fast Dashin Dude David A. Alvarez Jorge Haddad :17.809
Jess Scared Money Russel Hadley John S. Buchanan :17.823


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