Teller Cartel, a maiden who couldn't find his winning stride in four previous starts, won quarter horse racing's richest race, the $1.9-million All American Futurity, by a neck Monday at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
Trained by Paul Jones, the sport's most successful trainer, Teller Cartel held off Arealstraithheart on a muddy track, running 440 yards in 21.50 seconds. First place was worth $1 million to the 12-member Teller Cartel Syndicate, which bought the colt for $87,000 at a yearling sale in 2004. Teller Cartel had earned only $3,871 before Monday.
Teller Cartel, who gave Jones and jockey Cody Jensen their first wins in the All American, was the second-longest shot in the 10-horse field and paid $37.60 for $2. Brindis Por Cayenne finished third and Make A Secret, coupled with Jess A Classy Lad and the 13-10 favorite, was fourth, beaten by about one length.
The Los Alamitos-based Jones, whose horses set records last year by winning 281 races and earning $5.3 million, started three horses Monday, and Teller Cartel was the least likely contender. He had finished second twice at Los Alamitos this summer, and was disqualified to third in his debut, and after running second in a Ruidoso maiden race in July, finished third, with the second-slowest time of the finalists, in the All American Trials.
Make A Secret was the fastest qualifier.
Jones' other horses, Shesnowlady and another maiden, First Wicked Lady, finished fifth and ninth, respectively.
"This is the culmination of a lifetime of effort," said Floyd "Butch" Wise, a breeder from Guthrie, Okla., who's a member of the Teller Cartel Syndicate. "This is a magnificent achievement."
Bred by Charles and Marilyn Cockrill of C/C Stock Farm in Alto, N.M., Teller Cartel is a son of Corona Cartel and Jet Along Jamie. The sire of Jet Along Jamie, Easy Jet, won the All American in 1967.
Besides Make A Secret, trainer Heath Taylor also ran Jess A Classy Lad and Vodka On Ice. Jess A Classy Lad finished eighth and Vodka On Ice ran last.