angle-left Q-Racing Blog: State-Breds

Q-Racing Blog: State-Breds

State-breds in New Mexico and California take center stage on this weekend of racing.

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A few weeks ago, we all enjoyed a great night of racing at Delta Downs with the Louisiana Showcase Night. It was headlined by Runaway Second Down’s big win in the $700,293 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1).

The final weekend of July is a celebration for the local horses at Ruidoso Downs and Los Alamitos. Each of these high-profile tracks also will stage special programs heavy with stakes races dedicated to state-breds.

Ruidoso Downs’ Zia Festival is for New Mexico-breds and is conducted over July 27-28 with the $432,139 Zia Futurity (RG1) and the $190,937 Zia Derby (RG2) on Sunday, July 28, offering the highest purses.

The California Breeders Champions Night at Los Alamitos is July 27 for Cal-breds with the largest purses going to the $365,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) and the $195,000 Governor’s Cup Derby (RG3).

Mark and Annette McCloy’s Mister Riptide led the Zia Futurity trials when he won by a dominating 2 1/4 lengths. His time of :19.483 was the top mark from the 11 400-yard trials. You’ll remember the McCloys as the breeder/owners of last year’s Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner. MM Fourinthemorning. They bought the MJ Farms-bred Mister Riptide at the Ruidoso New Mexico-bred Yearling Sale for $22,000. 

Mister Riptide has only made three starts while showing promise in each of his outs. The impressive-looking gelding by Woodbridge won his maiden in his debut when he won his trial to the $404,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG2) and his time of :17.668 for 350 yards was the third-fastest time.

The Trey Wood-trained Mister Riptide then raced to a fifth-place finish in the Mountain Top Futurity after a tardy start.

“He is a show horse off his looks,” Wood said. “He is picture perfect.”

In the Zia Derby, Robert Driggers and Ben Lee Ivey’s Zee James came through with a big effort in her trial to post the quickest mark of :19.540 for 400 yards while winning by three quarters of a length.

The daughter of Jesse James Jr raced to her first 2019 win in her trial and it came in her third 2019 start. Trainer Wes Giles said that he has been able to calm the filly and that has been key to her success.

Zee James’ career got off to a hot start. She set the fastest-qualifying time to the $396,354 New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) while making her debut. She came back to take the Spring Futurity by a neck.

Zee James is the final foal out of the mare On A Bunny, a half-sister to champion Six To Five who also produced Grade 1-placed Gun Battle ($669,449). Zee James’ third dam, Esters Little Klu, will join the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2020. 

Governor’s Cup Futurity fastest-qualifier Pitbull, owned by Cesar Nunez, shows promise with his 2-for-2 record.

One of an astounding eight Favorite Cartel offspring in the Governor’s Cup Futurity and the full brother to fellow qualifier Lebowski, Pitbull took a maiden race on June 1 and then resurfaced in the Governor’s Cup Futurity trials. The gelding sped to a 1 ¼-length win with a :17.671 mark for 350 yards. That was the fastest time from seven trials.

Both Pitbull and Lebowski are out of the Grade 1-placed mare Separate Tac, and were bred by Dr. Steve Burns. 

In the Governor’s Cup Derby trials, Steve McIntyre and Marin Jones’ Cole Man 47 raced to his first 2019 win from four starts. In his second out after a four-month break, he won his trial by 1 length while covering the 400 yards in :19.819 to lead the qualifiers.

“He ran a really good race,” trainer Paul Jones said of the trial victory. “He is a pretty gray horse and easy to get along with. He settled down after we gelded him.”

In 2018, Cole Man 47 scored a pair of stakes wins. The Stel Corona gelding won the $51,000 John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge and then won the $365,000 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity (G2).

Cole Man 47 will need to deal with Rosenthal Ranch LLC’s Powerful Favorite in the Governor’s Cup Derby. The Favorite Cartel son has wins this year in the $198,700 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) and the $211,000 El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3). 

The Chris O’Dell-trained gelding is the second-fastest qualifier to the Governor’s Cup Derby, with a :19.819 time. And speaking of family – Powerful Favorite’s full brother Runforyourlife is the second-fastest qualifier for the Governor’s Cup Futurity. Both horses are out of Grade 1 winner Remember Me Rose. 

The Zia Festival and the California Breeders Champions Night offer enticing incentives for state-breds. They also provide a compelling show for the fans with their stakes-dominated fields. It’s a win-win deal.

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