LQHBA Insider - By Martha Claussen June  20, 2024


Two major racing finals will take place this month at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana: the $339,931 Lassie Futurity (RG2) and $369,405 Laddie Futurity (RG2).

In a true testament to Louisiana breeding and racing, the trials showcased some incredibly talented fillies and colts. Fastest qualifiers Shes a Cartel and Ed O have fascinating story lines as they head into the final, and we are proud to share them in this month’s LQHBA “Insider”!

Family Affair for Pina-Garcia Ranch in the $339,931 Lassie Futurity (RG2)

Delta Downs hosted trials for this year’s $339,931 Louisiana Lassie Futurity (RG2) on Friday, April 26 and the fastest clocking of the evening went to Shes A Cartel, who posted a 330-yard mark of :16.427 seconds, earning her a speed index of 105.

The bay filly was making her second career start for trainer Wendy Garcia, who gave a leg up to her husband, jockey Modesta Pina. The family owns Pina-Garcia Ranch and signed the $7,500 ticket for Shes a Cartel at the 2018 LQHBA Yearling Sale last August. She is a daughter of 2018 leading first-crop sire Five Bar Cartel out of the Game Patriot mare Carry on Baby.

Gerald Paul Vidrine, of Ville Platte, is the breeder and made the trip to Delta Downs to see the filly run her Lassie trial.

“It knew she was fast from the day she was born and remembered how she could turn on a dime,” said Vidrine. “You never know what kind of racehorse you will have, but she’s a granddaughter of Carry on Tee, who has produced some nice runners.”

Wendy Garcia was pleased with the performance by Shes a Cartel, who was recovering from a cold the day she ran in the Mardi Gras trials at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“She really improved in her Lassie trial,” said Garcia. “You’re always nervous waiting to see if the time will hold, as she won the sixth trial and we had many trials to go.”

Her time held through the 15th trial of the card and Garcia reported that her filly is doing well and primed for her return on Friday, May 17. This would be the second major futurity win for the Pina-Garcia family; they won the $294,944 Mardi Gras Futurity (G2) at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs with Guidry Pride II on March 17, 2018.

“We are looking forward to the final, but are humble about our chances,” added Garcia. “For us, we are proud to work together as a family. That means a great deal to us.”

Connections of Ed O Hoping for a Touchdown in the $369,405 Laddie Futurity (RG2)

Is there anyone in Louisiana who does not love football? Whether it is the New Orleans Saints, college or high school, football thrills and inspires pretty much everyone in the Pelican State! It certainly did for breeder Earl Landry, Jr. of of Erath, Louisiana, when the son of Mr Piloto out of the Heza Fast Dash mare Shezadashinatcha came into this world on March 3, 2017. He was named Ed O in honor of LSU Tiger Coach Ed Orgeron.

“I noticed another horse called Nick Saban who ran at Delta Downs couple of years ago,” explained Landry. “Ed O’s dam Shezadashinatcha was raised at my horse farm. Her dam, a mare named Runninatcha, was my first broodmare and passed away a few years ago. I bred Shezadashinatcha to Mr Piloto thinking of Coach Ed Orgeron, the coach of my LSU Tigers!”

When Ed O won his trial in a speedy :16.666 seconds under jockey Noe Villatoro in the eighth of 17 trials on April 28, Landry was ecstatic!

“My grandfather owned a cattle farm,” said Landry. “I always loved horses and dabbled as an owner in the mid-80’s. My friend Gerald Provost was a big part of me getting involved as a breeder. With my brother, Ferdinand, we bought a Runaway Winner mare and kept all the daughters.”

Like so many breeders, there were quite a few disappointments along the way, but the victory of Ed O in trials for the Laddie, rejuvenated the 70-year-old Landry.

“I’m all excited and motivated again,” stated Landry.

Landry will be decked in LSU purple for the final on Saturday, May 18 and will share the thrill with co-breeder Anthony Gaspard, trainer Jose U. Lopez, jockey Noe Villatoro and owner Edwardo Lopez, who purchased Ed O at the 2017 LQHBA Yearling Sale for a mere $4,700. The Laddie champion will receive a check for $184,702, but it’s safe to say that the pride of these connections will far outweigh the money!

The Shake That Will Never be Forgotten

It is indeed an honor to qualify for these two championships. Of course, it is always a long day for everyone hoping to get one of the ten fastest clockings to the final.

The night of the 2017 Lassie Futurity trials was one that owner Rogelio Marquez, Jr. will never forget! His filly, Dashnunder Afullmoon was tied for the tenth-fastest time with Keithon Roberts and Oscar Rhone’s Fastdashing Lassie.

Marquez, who purchased the daughter of Heza Fast Dash out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Full Moon Dasher at the 2016 LQHBA Yearling Sale for $44,500, remembers every detail like it was yesterday! He and his dad made their way to the racing office for the shake for the tenth spot into the record Lassie Futurity purse of $322,285.

The shake went in favor of Dashnunder Afullmoon, much to the relief of Marquez.

“It was my first, and hopefully the last,” he said. “It was so nerve-racking, but I have to give credit to Oscar. He congratulated us and said, ‘now go out and win that thing and make my filly look good’!”

Ignored by the betting public, Dashnunder Afullmoon left the gates at odds of 28-1, returning $59.40 to win to her loyal backers. Her good fortune continued on June 17, when she won her 350-yard trial for the $705,495 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) in commanding fashion, setting the fastest qualifying and winning that final on July 8. Now retired and in foal, the exceptional filly was honored as LQHBA Champion 2-Year-Old Filly in 2017 as well as Co-Champion 3-Year-old Filly (with Fastdashing Lassie) in 2018.

Looking forward to Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 at Delta Downs when the next Louisiana champions will emerge. Here is a link to the ten fastest qualifiers:

Good luck to each of the connections!

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The LQHBA Insider is a monthly feature written by Martha Claussen for www.lqhba.com. She served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for ten years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.