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All American: Knock On Wood

Blane Wood will send out Sam Crow and Bodacious Eagle in the All American Futurity.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 25, 2014

sam crow

Ricky Ramirez returns aboard Sam Crow after a qualifying trial run. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

This could be the year of combined entries in the All American Futurity (G1). Blane Wood, Mike Joiner and Umberto Belloc each have two qualifiers apiece: Wood with Sam Crow and Bodacious Eagle, Joiner with Thunderball B and Tempting Dynasty, and Belloc with JM Miracle and This Fire Is Cold.

Bred by Paris Wixon and racing for Terry Baber of Burkburnett, Texas, Sam Crow is a gray gelding by Valiant Hero and is one of three winners from six starters out of the graded stakes-winning Chicks Beduino mare Bourbonstreetchick. An earner of $79,555, Bourbonstreetchick has produced the earners of more than $163,000, including the stakes-winning Teller Cartel gelding Corona Street. Wood picked Sam Crow at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, where Baber purchased the gelding for $40,000.

 “I liked his breeding, obviously,” Wood says. “But it’s his mother that I really liked. His mother had won a futurity here at Ruidoso (the Clovis Classic Futurity (RG3) in 2002). I had eight head in the final that day and she outran me. I said at the time if I ever get the opportunity to buy any of that mare’s babies, they’re going to be in my barn. So what you’re seeing is the result of Bourbonstreetchick. She taught me a lesson the first time I ran against her, yessir, she did.”

With a record of 6-3-2-0 and $19,560, Sam Crow scored his third career and second consecutive victory on the first day of All American trials, when he won the ninth trial by 2 lengths. In his first race, in the March 29 trials to the Sam Houston Futurity (G2), the gelding finished ninth after he shied from a rival. He broke his maiden in his next start, on April 10 at Houston, and then shipped to Ruidoso, where he finished second in his May 22 trial to the Ruidoso Futurity (G1) and second to Lethal Express in the June 8 Ruidoso Juvenile Invitational (R). In his last start before the All American trials, he stumbled at the break but recovered in a big effort to win his July 3 trial to the Rainbow Futurity (G1), though in a non-qualifying time for the final.

After finishing ninth in his first race, Sam Crow has been no worse than second since.

“His first out, he run really, really green, and he ran kinda scared down there at Houston,” Wood says. “We knew he had some talent and so we started giving him some experience, giving him some outs. We knew that nothing was going to fix that but just racing. He’s kinda figured it out and he’s just gotten better and better and better. And this is the result of it: He won his (All American) trial by 2 lengths and run a really good race. So we feel real good about him. I think he has figured it out. He’s had a little hard luck. But he’s been right there on the board every time after that first out.

“He’s growing up, he likes to train, he likes to go to the track,” Wood says. “Sam Crow is real aggressive. He doesn’t miss much, he sees everything. He’s just kinda on the spot, ready to do something all the time. He’s an aggressive horse, real bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He loves to run, and he’s got the personality of ‘Let’s go do something! Let’s get this done!’ ”

Whatever happens on Labor Day, it will be out of the same gate with Bodacious Eagle. A sorrel gelding by One Famous Eagle out of Bodacious Dream by Corona Cartel, Bodacious Eagle was bred by Feliz Montana Ranch and races for Johnny Trotter of Hereford, Texas, who is the president of AQHA.

“Johnny bought the embryo and raised him,” Wood says. “Johnny thought that he was the best colt in the pasture, out of that particular yearling crop. This has been Johnny’s pick basically since the first time he saw him and the result is what you’re seeing.

“Bodacious Eagle is an honest, hard-knocking, laid-back, good-doing gelding,” Wood says. “He’s a good-feeling horse, but he’s laid-back, just a matter-of-fact kind of horse. He’s hard-knocking dude: He’s qualified for all three of the futurities here, which is just a blessing. That’s so hard to do, much less win them. But just to qualify for them is really special, so we feel very, very fortunate.”

Bodacious Eagle comes into the All American final with a record of 5-3-0-1 and $151,000.Winning the seventh trial on the second day of trials, Bodacious Eagle became one of two horses who qualified for all three Grade 1 futurities this summer at Ruidoso Downs. The other is JM Miracle, who qualified on the first day.

Bodacious Eagle finished third in the $700,000 Ruidoso Futurity on June 8 and fourth in the $900,000 Rainbow Futurity on July 20. Coming into the All American trials off the Rainbow, Bodacious Eagle raced the 440 yards in :21.436 to nose out the day’s fifth-fastest qualifier Mad About The Moon, who was clocked in :21.442.

“He hasn’t finished off the board yet, but that’s not really a surprise to us,” Wood says. “We’ve really liked him since Johnny brought him to me as a yearling. But you never know how much you like them until you go to running them, and of course the more we ran him the better we’ve liked him.”

Both of Wood’s qualifiers were ridden by Ricky Ramirez, who rides first call for Wood and now has to choose between Sam Crow and Bodacious Eagle.

“They both pulled up good from the trials,” Wood says. “I feel like we’re really in good shape. I feel like both of them will compete at a high level. I feel real good about how they pulled up. I’m really excited.

“I just feel blessed and fortunate just to qualify for this race,” Wood concludes. “Obviously it’s our biggest goal every year, to try to get in the All American. Our goal hasn’t changed, but we sure want to win it. We’ve got to take it realistically and just say we’re glad to be back in it and competing here.”

Knock on Wood.

Look for All American features all week leading up to the weekend races. The All American Derby is August 31, and the All American Futurity is September 1. AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.