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McArthur, Brooks to Ruidoso Hall

Cox and Corona Cartel will complete 2013 class of inductees.

December 28, 2012

Ruidoso Downs Race Track Logo

Trainer James McArthur and jockey Roy Brooks join owner/breeder Bobby Cox and leading sire Corona Cartel to complete the 2013 class to be inducted into the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame. The announcement of Cox and Corona Cartel came earlier this week.

Each year one owner/breeder, trainer, jockey and horse are inducted into the Hall of Fame located on the second floor at Ruidoso Downs. It is open every racing day and weekdays (except holidays) the rest of the year. There is no admission charge.

McArthur has been one of American Quarter Horse racing most important trainers for four decades. His stable has been primarily based in New Mexico; however he has also found success in California. Up until recently, his wife, Donna, ran their operation based at Los Alamitos Race Course.

James sent out Walter Merrick’s world champion Easy Date to win the 1973 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and then to win the 1974 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos. Easy Date became the first horse to sweep Quarter Horse racing’s premier race for 2-year-olds (All American Futurity) and older horses (Champion of Champions). The only other horse to perform this feat is world champion Refrigerator. Easy Date also became the first horse to win the All American Futurity who was sired by an All American Futurity winner, Merrick’s Easy Jet. The fact that everyone’s hall of famer Merrick sent Easy Date to McArthur is testament to his skills as a horseman. Easy Date is in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

McArthur also won the 1984 All American Futurity with Eastex. The gelding set a then stakes record time of :21.42 while winning the 440-yard classic by one length. He is still the seventh all-time leading money earner at $1,869,406 and was the all-time leading money earner until he was surpassed by Refrigerator.

McArthur’s other major Ruidoso Downs stakes wins include the All American Derby, Rainbow Futurity, Rainbow Derby and Kansas Futurity. At Los Alamitos, he won the Kindergarten Futurity (twice) and the Dash For Cash Futurity (twice). He also won the Golden State Derby at Bay Meadows and the Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park.

Brooks defines longevity. He turned 71-years-old in August and has won the latest two runnings of the Heritage Place Derby (G2) at Remington Park. He won the 2011 Heritage Place Derby aboard Capo De Capi and the 2012 edition with Priceless Feature. Then, after winning this year’s Heritage Place Derby, he came to Ruidoso Downs and rode Priceless Feature in the Grade 1 $903,000 Rainbow Derby. They held the lead until the final jump when champion Ochoa caught them and they finished second by a head. Less than two weeks later, Brooks celebrated his 71st birthday.

Brooks was born and still lives in Blanchard, Oklahoma, on his family’s farm. He began his race riding career in 1969 in his native Oklahoma. He scored his first of three Oklahoma Derby wins in 1971 and also has three wins in the Oklahoma Futurity and two wins in the Oklahoma-bred Futurity. He was second in the 1987 All American Futurity aboard Elaina Rae and third in the 1983 All American Futurity with Racy Roman.

Brooks’ most productive year came in 2007, when he turned 66, with 93 victories and his horses banking $1,617,996. His most important win came in the Speedhorse Gold and Silver Cup Futurity at Fair Meadows.

He won the first Sam Thompson Award in 2011.

The Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held in late June with a reception in the Hall of Fame followed by dinner and induction ceremonies in the All American Turf Club. Tax-deductible tickets will be sold.