Mendel (pictured), a gray son of Big Daddy Cartel racing for Rancho El 48, made his career debut with a clear 3 1/4-length victory in the third of 13 Mountain Top Quarter Horse Futurity RG2 trials Saturday at Ruidoso Downs.

Ridden by Francisco Calderon for trainer James Gonzales III, Mendel set the fastest qualifying time by covering 350 yards in :17.595, a clocking aided by a reported 9-mph tail wind. The gelding earned an 89 speed index and the $6,000 winner’s share of a $10,000 purse from his first lifetime start.

Mendel was bred by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico, and he was a $160,000 yearling purchase at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs. The gelding is out of Diamondia, a homebred daughter of 1994 AQHA champion 2-year-old Mr Jess Perry and a half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Wild Six, and he is a full brother to 2022 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG2) winner Talbott.

Leftie, the second-fastest qualifier, won the second heat by a half of a length from third-fastest qualifier Three Finger Jack. Prepped by Marco Flores and ridden by Jose Enriquez for owners Empire Racing, Pavon Racing, and Heysol Howlet, the sorrel Big Daddy Cartel gelding went 350 yards in :17.710 while aided by a reported 9-mph tail wind.

Leftie was bred by MJ Farms, and he was a $35,000 yearling buy at last year’s New Mexico-Bred Sale. The gelding is out of C Twister Seis, a stakes-winning daughter of champion Tres Seis and a finalist in the 2007 Rainbow (G1) and Hobbs America (G3) derbies.

Leftie was a finalist in the April 6, $355,000 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park. The gelding has won one of three starts and has earned $22,361.

Three Finger Jack races for J & SM Inc., Don Reynolds, and M. Lane Reynolds from the barn of trainer Fred Danley. A $150,000 purchase at last year’s Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the Jesse James Jr gelding was bred by MJ Farms, and he is out of Start Somethin Bad, a daughter of the Corona Cartel stallion Pappasito who won the ’17 La Primera del Ano Derby (G3) for sophomore fillies at Los Alamitos.

Three Finger Jack is a half brother to three graded stakes placed geldings: Doing Something Good, Doin Something Right, and Wood Be Bad. He has earned $3,090 from two races.

The complete list of qualifiers appears below:

Horse (Sex, Pedigree)OwnerBreeder (State)TrainerTime
G, Big Daddy Cartel-Diamondia by Mr Jess Perry
Rancho El 48 LLCMJ Farms (NM)James Gonzales III:17.595
G, Big Daddy Cartel-C Twister Seis by Tres Seis
Empire Racing, Pavon Racing, and Heysol HowletMJ Farms (NM)Marco A. Flores:17.710
G, Jesse James Jr-Start Somethin Bad by Pappasito
J & SM Inc., Don Reynolds and M. Lane ReynoldsMJ Farms (NM)Fred Danley:17.768
F, Jet Black Patriot-Loveurlieineyes by PYC Paint Your Wagon
Whiskey River RacingCopper Spring Ranch LLC (NM)James Gonzales III:17.873
G, Eye Am King-Startedwithawhisper by First Moonflash
Tungsten Racing PartnershipPaul P. Cervantes (NM)Tony Sedillo:17.876
F, Suspicious Interest-Javys Brown Sugar by First Moonflash
La Feliz Montana RanchLa Feliz Montana Ranch (NM)Xavier Rodriguez:17.907
G, Eye Am King-Donelli by Big Daddy Cartel
Ernesto SotoMJ Farms (NM)Marco A. Flores:17.911
F, Jesse James Jr-Bigg Alice by Big Daddy Cartel
Denis & Julie SchoenhoferMJ Farms (NM)James Gonzales III:17.931
F, Big Daddy Cartel-Bridgette Bordeaux by Blushing Bug
Tungsten Racing PartnershipMJ Farms (NM)Eric Valenzuela:17.956
G, Suspicious Interest-Significant Runner by Foose
La Feliz Montana RanchLa Feliz Montana Ranch (NM)Xavier Rodriguez:17.959