Q-Racing Blog: Spring Time
Q-Racing Blog: Spring Time
By Ty Wyant
Yes, spring is coming, even though the weather seems to have made this sound like wishful thinking. So, how do we know this?
It isn’t because of buds appearing on trees or sprouts inching out of the ground.
In American Quarter Horse racing, we have a sure-fire indicator. We turn our calendars over to March and on March 1, 2-year-olds can officially race.
There was a time when 2-year-olds were allowed to run on January 1 and most eyes were focused on Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, for the Blue Ribbon Futurity.
One Blue Ribbon Futurity winner set the standard for early maturity.
Back in 1969, the Walter Merrick-bred, -owned and -trained Easy Jet started his official career just five days into the year. He wasn’t even making his first start: Merrick had matched him against his older brother Jet Smooth – who had won the 1967 Kansas Futurity – at Merrick’s 14 Ranch when Easy Jet was a long yearling. Easy Jet won the 350-yard dash and Jet Smooth went on that year to win or place in three stakes races with a win in the World’s Championship Classic.
Merrick then placed Easy Jet in a yearling race at Blue Ribbon Downs and he won handily.
Easy Jet won the 1969 Blue Ribbon Futurity in a track record :16.92 for the 330 yards. He went on to win eight more stakes that year capped by his muddy All American Futurity victory. He started 26 times as a juvenile with 22 wins. He made his final 1969 start on November 30 with a win in the Sunland Fall Futurity. Horses just don’t do that anymore.
“You had to run him about once every 10 days or he’d have got so high that you couldn’t hardly stand to be around him,” Merrick said. “As long as we were going to run him, we figured we might as well make it count for something.”
Easy Jet was named the 1969 world champion, champion stallion and champion 2-year-old colt. He is in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame along with his sire, Jet Deck, and his dam, Lena’s Bar (TB).
Since the March 1 rule went into effect, horses have shown they could stand up against stakes competition and thrive from their first starts until their final start late in the year.
Such a horse is Trump My Record.
Trump My Record started his career on March 2, 2019, with a win in his trial to the $254,070 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3) and then won the finals by a neck. After winning the $459,700 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) and finishing a close second in the $344,050 Dash For Cash Futurity (G2), he closed out his 2-year-old season on November 9 with a win in the $904,631 Texas Classic Futurity (G1). He was named the champion 2-year-old gelding. In the following year, he went on to win as a sophomore and, with a record of 13 wins in 16 starts and $979,068 in earnings, sold a few weeks ago at the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale for $460,000.
Now we are ready for spring with another crop poised to race. Who knows what horse that will be remembered for generations might be unveiled this year?
The Remington Park season has been pushed back a few days to March 7, due to the extremely brutal winter weather. The next day are trials to the Oklahoma Futurity at Remington Park. The following weekend are trials to the Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity at Louisiana Downs.
You see, spring is coming in the racing Quarter Horse world.
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