LOS ALAMITOS : After Suffering a Decade of Defeats, Hall Will Hope the Futurity Is Now

Owner Jack Hall of Corona will go into Saturday’s $233,000 Kindergarten with his colt Jacks Special Gem having the fastest qualifying time.

Through the 1980s, Hall was one of the leading quarter horse buyers in the nation. But despite his investment, Hall has yet to win a major 2-year-old race with one of his horses.

Jacks Special Gem gives Hall another chance. A son of the world champion Special Effort, Jacks Special Gem ran a swift 17.71 while winning his Kindergarten trial.

“I used to think about not being able to win one of these big races, but then I quit worrying about it a couple of years ago,” said Hall, who races his horses under his business name of Liston Aluminum Brick Co.


“I have to admit, though, that I have been thinking about it more and more this past year. After 14 years in the business, winning one of these things would take the pressure off.”

Hall came close to winning a major futurity in April when his Illawardyall was second in the Bay Meadows Futurity. Illawardyall was beaten by Takin On The Cash, a colt bred by Hall and sold as a yearling.

“I watched the Kentucky Derby this year and saw that lady (92-year-old Francis Genter) finally win that race,” Hall said. “It reminded me there are people who’ve been in this business longer than I have who haven’t been as successful. I’m just not sure I can last until I’m 92.”

The 350-yard Kindergarten will be the first of three Grade I futurities this spring and summer at Los Alamitos. The field is made up of the 10 fastest qualifiers from the May 23 time trials. Here’s a look at the field in qualifying order:

Jacks Special Gem (17.71)--Won his trial by a half-length, but had been winless in two previous starts.

Miss Strikin Jet (17.79)--Trainer Bob Baffert will be after his second consecutive Kindergarten victory with this half-sister to last year’s winner, Ourautograph. Was second to Jacks Special Gem in their trial.

Resolutions (17.80)--Won his Kindergarten trial as a 42-1 shot. Trained by Charlie Bloomquist, who won the Kindergarten in 1981 with Dash Again and in 1985 with Solvency.

Feemes Flam (17.84)--Winner of the Bay Meadows Futurity Consolation and third-place finisher in the Leo Handicap. A fast-breaking filly who won her trial heat by a neck for trainer Bruce Bell.

Takin On The Cash (17.86)--The winner of the Bay Meadows Futurity has won $98,153. Brought up to the trials without a prep race by trainer Caesar Dominguez and figures to improve off his second-place trial finish.

Cash N Cara (17.88)--An impressive winner of her first start, May 12 at Los Alamitos, and second in her Kindergarten trial. A half-sister to major winner Streakin Cara.

Ramtac (17.93)--A full brother to the two-time champion and 1983 Kindergarten winner Tolltac. Bombed in his first career start, but returned to be third in his Kindergarten trial.

Ms Bush Whacker (17.94)--A half-sister to the major stakes winner Betty Loop. Was supplemented to the Kindergarten trials for $11,500 and needs to be fourth or better to earn the money back.

Raised Toperfection (17.97)--Another Kindergarten entrant from the Baffert barn. Was third in the Bay Meadows Futurity Consolation, but fourth in his Kindergarten trial.

Splitsville (18.01)--A half-brother to last year’s champion 2-year-old, Way Maker. Was third in three maiden races and fourth in his Kindergarten trial.

Sunday afternoon racing will start at Los Alamitos June 24 and will continue through July 22. The five Sunday afternoon cards were brought about in a compromise with Hollywood Park after that track was granted Friday night racing.

According to Don Galloway, Los Alamitos’ executive director, fighting Hollywood Park on the issue would have been a losing battle.

“Hollywood Park was in a strong position and fighting them would have been a fruitless effort,” stated Galloway.

First post for the Sunday afternoon programs will be 1:25 p.m.

Topping tonight’s racing program will be two trials for the Grade I Vessels Maturity. The 10 fastest qualifiers will run in the June 9 finals.

Leading the group of 19 entrants will be major stakes winners Teller Queen and Barbs Bounce, who will top the first trial, and the champion Sig Hanson, the favorite in the second trial.