Ruidoso Derby Trials

Ruidoso Derby Trials

Champion Jess Savin Candy will make his season debut in Sunday's trials at Ruidoso Downs.

Jess Savin Candy. PHOTO: Jake Rogers/Ruidoso Downs

text size

The first two days of the 2022 Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Quarter Horse live racing season will feature 2-year-olds in trials for the $1-million Ruidoso Futurity (G1).

On Sunday, May 29, the spotlight will be on the 3-year-olds with ten 400-yard Ruidoso Derby (G1) trials. The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $850,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) on June 11.

Several of the top juveniles from 2021 look to replicate their champion form on opening weekend.

Kj Desparado enters his 3-year-old campaign with a record of  six wins from 10 starts and earnings of $2,104,961  for owners John W. Lee, Kathy Lee and Ruben Mares. Trained by Wes Giles, the gelding by champion Apollitical Jess captured both the $3 Million All American Futurity (G1) last September at Ruidoso Downs and the $1.1 Million Texas Classic Futurity(G1) on November 27 at Lone Star Park.

Bred in Arizona by Bred by L&L Land & Cattle, Kj Desparado will run in Sunday’s eighth trial under his regular rider Adrian Ramos.

The final trial will mark the return of Dutch Masters III’s Jess Savin Candy, honored as 2021 AQHA champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding. Bred by Jim and Donna O’Neal, the gelded son of Jess Good Candy was in contention for Quarter Horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown for 2-year-old Quarter Horses when he captured the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Rainbow Futurities last summer.

Trained by John Stinebaugh, the bay gelding ran fourth in the All American Futurity(G1) and took the remainder of the year off. The Oklahoma-bred won four races in 2021 and banked $1,046,200.He will break from post five with 2021 AQHA Champion Jockey Francisco Calderon in the saddle.

Other prominent sophomores entered in Sunday’s trials include Lethal Avenger, who will put his four-race win streak on the line in the fourth heat. The Volcom gelding exits a victory in the $172,000 West Texas Derby at Sunland Park on February 4. Owned by J & SM, Inc. and Don and M. Lane Reynolds and trained by Fred Danley, Lethal Avenger drew post 9 with Noe Garcia, Jr. aboard.

Paragon Farms LLC’s  homebred Fdd Scout will break from the rail in the ninth trial for trainer Trey Wood and rider Tanner Thedford.  The gelding by FDD Dynasty won the $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile Invitational last June prior to reaching the final of both the Grade 1, Rainbow and All American Futurities. The sorrel gelding won four of his six races in 2021, earning $588,494.

First post time for Sunday’s Ruidoso Derby trials is set for 1 p.m. (MDT).

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.