Jody Pops Zoomer Ready for Gold Cup

Grade 1 event at Ruidoso Downs will offer Champion of Champions berth.

Press Release
August 23, 2014

Raymundo Medrano and Sammy Valeriano’s Jody Pops Zoomer, winner of two stakes this summer at Ruidoso Downs, faces the sternest test of his career in the Grade 1, $200,000 All American Gold Cup on Saturday afternoon, August 30, at Ruidoso Downs. First post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. with free parking and free grandstand admission.

The 440-yard All American Gold Cup winner receives an invitation to the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions in December at Los Alamitos.

The All American Gold Cup is the most improved Quarter Horse race in recent history. Just a year ago, the Gold Cup had a $40,000 purse with Grade 3 status and no Champion of Champions invitation. This year, it has the sport’s highest graded status, the purse is five times larger and it carries the highly valued Champion of Champions invitation. These changes have attracted a stellar field.

The total earnings of the 10 horses in the All American Gold Cup is $4,770,236. Much of this total through the stakes program at Ruidoso Downs. A total of $3,090,598 has been earned at Ruidoso Downs by Gold Cup entrants.

The All American Gold Cup is the first of three Grade 1 races over Labor Day weekend at Ruidoso Downs. On Sunday is the Grade 1, $1,920,887 All American Derby, which also carries a Champion of Champions invitation. On Monday is the Grade 1, $2.6 million All American Futurity with the largest purse of any 2-year-old race in North America.

First post time on Sunday is 12:30 p.m. and on Monday is 1 p.m.

Jody Pops Zoomer has been the dominant older horse at Ruidoso Downs this summer. He made his local debut in the Grade 3, $30,000 Higheasterjet Handicap at 350 yards and won by three-quarters of a length. The Zoomin For Bux gelding then stepped forward at 400 yards when he took the Grade 3, $20,000 Mr Jet Moore Handicap.

A member of the Toby Keeton stable, Jody Pops Zoomer showed he can handle 440 yards when he closed out his 2013 season with a one-half length win in the Grade 1, $394,306 Texas Classic Derby. G.R. Carter Jr. will ride Jody Pops Zoomer from the third post position.

Norma Alvarez, Brenda Alvarez and Debra Laney’s Handsome Jack Flash, the 2013 champion 2-year-old, takes on older horses for the first time in the Gold Cup. The gelding has the credentials with six wins including two Grade 1 futurities and one second with $1,487,671 in earnings.

The gelding by First Moonflash defeated New Mexico-breds when he won last summer’s $409,000 Zia Futurity (RG1) and then he earned his championship with a neck win in the Grade 1, $2.6 million All American Futurity. This summer, he has won his trials to the Rainbow and All American derbies, however his times were not fast enough to qualify for the derbies.

Trainer Sleepy Gilbreath has named Cody Jensen to ride Handsome Jack Flash with the ninth post position.

A. Wade Helton’s Llano Cartel makes his seasonal debut at Ruidoso Downs after a sensational spring at Remington Park. The gelding finished second by a nose in the Grade 2, $52,400 Eastex Stakes and then posted back-to-back wins in the Grade 1, $105,400 Leo Stakes and a $40,000 allowance race. The Rolando Almanza-trained gelding closed out his Oklahoma City campaign when he lost a very narrow decision in the Grade 1, $257,740 Remington Park Invitational Championship. Regular rider Omar Reyes has the riding assignment from the sixth post position.

Darian Burt’s homebred Jesscuzican was placed first in Grade 2, $105,480 Bank of America Sunland Park Championship Challenge and then finished second to Jody Pops Zoomer in the Higheasterjet and Mr Jet Moore. The consistent member of the Wes Giles barn has two wins and three seconds from five starts this year. Jorge Martin Bourdieu rides Jesscuzican with the fifth post position.

Reliance Ranches’ Feature Hero may be ready to regain the form that saw his win last summer’s Grade 1, $2.8 million All American Derby, the richest race in Quarter Horse racing history. Since that historic victory, he was fourth in the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos Race Course and second in the $77,000 Mighty Deck Three Stakes at Remington Park. He prepared for the All American Gold Cup with a second in a $17,000 Ruidoso Downs allowance race.

Trainer Eddie Willis will have regular rider Jimmy Dean Brooks on Feature Hero with the second post position.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information,
follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, watch the AQHA Racing Newscast and visit