Mendel (pictured), a gray son of Big Daddy Cartel and the fastest qualifier, drew post 2 for Sunday’s 350-yard, $351,484 Mountain Top Futurity (RG2) for New Mexico-bred 2-year-old Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs.

A $160,000 yearling purchase by owner Rancho El 48 at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs, Mendel made official career debut with a convincing 3 1/4-length victory in the third of 13 trials on May 31. The gelding will be ridden by Francisco Calderon for trainer James Gonzales III, who qualified three Mountain Top finalists.

Other contenders include Suspicious Runner, a homebred stakes-placed son of the Seperate Interest stallion Suspicious Interest trained by Xavier Rodriguez for owner La Feliz Montana Ranch. Suspicious Runner has earned $14,040 from three outs, and his record includes a third-place finish, a half of a length behind winner La Princess Peach, in the April 6, $50,000 New Mexican Spring Fling Stakes (R) at Sunland Park.

Suspicious Runner drew post 5 and will be ridden by Noe Garcia Jr.

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments:
Lovely Lady Mae (Christian Cardenas)
Mendel (Francisco Calderon)
Big Jessie (Ali Rivera)
Eye Im Flashin (Jacob Enriquez)
Suspicious Runner (Noe Garcia Jr.)
Harken (Sergio Becerra Jr.)
BV Bridgette Cartel (Jose Luis Enriquez)
Javys Interest (Luis Martinez)
Leftie (Esgar Ramirez)
Three Finger Jack (Ricky Ramirez)