Q-Racing Blog: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Q-Racing Blog: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Temperatures and racing are picking up around the country.

Dreams Divine 2020 Los Alamitos Oaks

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By Ty Wyant

Get ready. The racing is picking up over the next few months with important stakes races scheduled from Remington Park, Los Alamitos and Louisiana Downs.

On the horizon are influential stakes races set through April. Just seeing these races on a stakes schedule is a relief. Knowing that they will run – COVID-19 willing – is reassuring.

On to the races of upcoming graded stakes:

Oklahoma Futurity (G2)
Remington Park on March 20
300 yards

The $350,000-est. Oklahoma Futurity should be run as long as Quarter Horse racing exists. It is the longest-running Quarter Horse futurity and deserves to forever hold that distinction.

It was first held in 1947 in Tulsa and Bud Warren’s Leota W took the winner’s share of an unknown purse. The purse was also unknown in 1948 and then offered $2,045 in 1949. Last year, the purse was $383,725.

The Oklahoma Futurity winners could make up a hall of fame. They include Garrett’s Miss Pawhuska, Mona Leta, Mr Bar None, Savannah Jr, Top Ladybug, Byou Bird, Azure Teen, Real Easy Jet and See Me Do It.

Los Alamitos Oaks (G3)
Los Alamitos on March 28
400 yards

The $427,500 Los Alamitos Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is officially listed as a Grade 3 race. This is the second running for the Oaks, which replaced the La Primera Del Ano Derby, and could attract a higher grade with the purse increase from the La Primera Derby ($210,000 in 2019) and the quality horses that the race is attracting.

Last year, Reliance Ranch’s Dreams Divine took $169,470 from the $403,500 purse in the Oaks’ first running. The Apollitical Jess daughter from the Mike Robbins barn went off as the 3-5 favorite and responded with a closing rush to gain the one-half-length victory.

Dreams Divine had previously won the AB What A Runner Handicap, was second by a nose in the $1,070,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) and third in the $361,700 Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity (G2).

El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2)
Los Alamitos on March 29
400 yards

The El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) for sophomore colts and geldings has been a fixture since 1973 when it complemented the La Primera. These races were originally run in January, as their names imply.

Ron Hartley’s Moonist is among the leading horses who have taken the El Primero Derby. The John Cooper-trained champion was the 11-10 favorite. He won like a strong favorite should win and went on to a productive racing career.

A Los Alamitos fan favorite, Moonist also won the Los Alamitos Championship (G1), Los Alamitos Winter Championship (G1), Go Man Go Handicap (G1), Spencer Childers California Breeders Championship (RG1), Golden State Derby (G1) and four other stakes at Los Alamitos.

Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2)
Louisiana Downs on March 27
300 yards

The Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) starts the lucrative Louisiana-bred futurity season. It gives a first look at the horses that could be major factors in state-bred futurities.

A horse that won the Mardi Gras Futurity and also handled the top open horses during his 2-year-old season of 2008 was Janelle and Richard Simon’s homebred Jet Black Patriot.

Jet Black Patriot easily disposed of his Mardi Gras Futurity rivals while winning by three-quarters of a length. In 20-20 hindsight, it is amazing that he was an 18-1 longshot. That was the last time he was an outsider in the wagering.

The strapping black colt with a gleaming coat went on to win the $512,300 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1), then took on the world and was a battling second to Stolis Winner in the $1.9 million All American Futurity (G1). He finished his year winning the $545,689 Louisiana QHBA Futurity (RG1) for Louisiana-breds as the 1-10 favorite.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.