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Stablemates Head West Texas Maturity

Former champion jockey trains the two fastest qualifiers.

March 2, 2012

First Down Master and Zulu Dragon, a pair of First Down Dash sons owned by 21 Partnership and trained by Joe Badilla Jr., sit atop the qualifiers’ list for the $99,825 West Texas Maturity (G2) on Saturday afternoon at Sunland Park.

First Down Master, a 4-year-old stallion by First Down Dash out of Dash Master Miss by Dash For Destiny, overcame a stumble at the start in his trial to rally and win by a length in :19.313 over the 400 yards. The trial win followed a fourth-place finish in his Sunland Winter Derby (G2) trial and a close third-place finish in a Sunland Park conditioned allowance race.

The winner of three of 16 starts, First Down Master turned in a sharp effort in his first start at Ruidoso Downs last summer when he won his maiden by two lengths. He was then second behind world champion Cold Cash 123 in their Rainbow Derby (G1) trial and finished sixth in the 440-yard Rainbow Derby final.

Zulu Dragon, a 5-year-old stallion by First Down Dash out of Hidden Dragon by Dean Miracle, turns in some of his best efforts at Sunland Park. The winner of three of six starts at the track took his Maturity trial by a neck for his first win since taking the June 12 La Plata Stakes (G2) at SunRay Park. He won his trial by a neck in :19.335, the second-fastest qualifying time.

Source Of Speed, a 4-year-old gelding by Separatist out of Wagons Maiden by Calligrapher, is making a rapid rise to the stakes ranks for trainer Carl Draper. Owned by J&L Stables, Linda Meisinger and Pamela McQuery, Source Of Speed broke his maiden two starts ago at Sunland Park and followed with a second to Zulu Dragon in their trial with the third-fastest time of :19.368.

Royal Dream Ranch’s The Steel Wave is on a roll with three wins, a second-place finish and two third-place runs in his latest six starts. The 4-year-old gelding by Ocean Runaway out of Fashionisanattitude by Streakin La Jolla was second in the Sunland Winter Derby two starts ago and the was a close third behind Zulu Dragon and Source Of Speed in their Maturity trial. He was clocked in the fourth-fastest time of :19.376.