All American Derby Qualifier: Wicked Courage

Br.g. Captain Courage-Wicked Pamela by Dash For Cash

Watch Qualifying Race

Race Record: 15-9-3-2 $1,041,350

Breeder: Burnett Ranches LLC
Owner: Andrew T. “Andy” Smith
Trainer: Luis Villafranco
Qualifying jockey: Cody Jensen
Qualifying time: :21.164

Race record: Wicked Courage stumbled out of the gate in the ninth trial and finished second, breaking a nine-race win record, but was clocked in :21.164 for the second-fastest qualifying time.

“He stumbled and you can’t win them all,” said Wicked Courage’s jockey Cody Jensen. “All good things must come to an end. Don’t worry about it.”

While the gelding’s finish ended a winning streak, he is still a prime contender to sweep the three derbies, having won the $823,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) by a neck and the $1,055,000 Rainbow Derby (G1) by a length. Wicked Courage is a proven stakes veteran and came into the All American Derby trials as the sport’s top-ranked older horse, garnering 99 of a possible 100 points, in the weekly AQHA Racing-Horseplayer.com weekly poll.

Wicked Courage won two futurities last fall in Oklahoma and then took a minor stakes at Remington Park before coming to Ruidoso Downs for the three Grade 1 derbies. If he wins the All American Derby, Wicked Courage would be the fourth horse to take Ruidoso’s three major derbies. The three horses that have swept the series are My Easy Credit (1977), Dash For Speed (1988) and DM Shicago (2005). When My Easy Credit and Dash For Speed scored their wins, the first derby of the summer season was the Kansas Derby, which was replaced by the Ruidoso Derby in 1994.

Breeder: Wicked Courage is bred by Burnett Ranches LLC of Fort Worth, Texas. Since 2009, Burnett Ranches LLC has seven stakes winners, 27 other winners and the earners of more than $2.23 million from 89 starters. That record, however, does not tell the full story of the Burnett Ranches, a leading breeder of both racing and performance Quarter Horses. The historic Four Sixes Ranch at Guthrie, Texas, is the flagship operation of Burnett Ranches, which was founded in 1868 by Capt. Samuel “Burk” Burnett, whose granddaughter Anne Burnett Tandy (aka “Miss Anne”) was instrumental in the formation of AQHA and in 1940 hosted the AQHA founders as dinner guests at her home in Fort Worth the night before the meeting that originated the Association. An American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer, Miss Anne is the mother of Anne Windfohr Marion (“Little Anne”), the current owner of the “Sixes”, which now stretches over more than 310,000 acres.

Owner: Wicked Courage is owned by Andrew T. “Andy” Smith of Ardmore, Oklahoma, who as owner this year also was represented by First In Class DBS ($80,227), winner of the March 30 Leo Stakes (G1) at Remington Park. In his own name, Smith has bred eight winners from 17 starters.

Trainer: Luis Villafranco sent out Wicked Courage to win the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies. Villafranco has sent out the earners of $12,973,101 and winners of 878 of 6,661 American Quarter Horse races.

Qualifying jockey: From 8,430 starts aboard American Quarter Horses, Cody Jensen has ridden the winners of 1,415 races and the earners of $27,407,343. Jensen has won the All American Futurity twice, aboard Teller Cartel in 2005 and No Secrets Here in 2006, both for Paul Jones.

Pedigree: Wicked Courage is one of four stakes winners, 19 other winners and the earners of more than $1.52 million from 56 starters by sophomore sire Captain Courage ($213,251). An 8-year-old stakes-placed son of champion and leading sire Mr Jess Perry out of the champion Chicks Beduino mare Corona Chick, Captain Courage finished third in champion Heartswideopen’s 2007 All American Futurity.

Purchased by Smith for $4,000 at the 2011 Heritage Place Yearling Sale, Wicked Courage is one of three stakes winners and two other winners out of Wicked Pamela, a stakes-placed mare by Dash For Cash who is a full sister to stakes winners Strictly Wicked, Wicked Dash, Wicked Wind and Wicked Willa. The sisters are daughters of the great distance racer Viking Anne, a Vikingson (TB) mare who scored nine of her 10 stakes wins at 870 yards. Retired after winning 19 of 55 races and earning $183,809, Viking Anne produced 12 winners and the earners of $827,734 from 14 starters.