Ochoa Dominates All American Futurity

Favorite comes through to win the richest All American ever at Ruidoso Downs.

September 5, 2011


Ochoa wins the All American Futurity. * Andrea Caudill photo

In one of the most impressive performances in recent history, Ochoa drew clear to a decisive 1 ½-length victory in the $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1) on Labor Day before a crowd of 22,650 at Ruidoso Downs.

The fastest qualifier and 8-5 favorite took command about halfway through the race and was never threatened before hitting the wire in :21.058 for 440 yards. Ochoa entered the race with earnings of $44,200 from a win in the Ruidoso Futurity (G1) trials, a third-place run in the $500,000 final and his All American trial win. The gelding earned a record $1.2-million first-place check from the record purse in the All American.

Ochoa gave trainer C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath, a member of the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame, his third All American Futurity win after taking the race in 1983 with On A High and in 1990 with Refrigerator.

“It looked like everything went great,” said the trainer. “He didn't really break that sharp, but he never does. Three or four jumps, and he was rolling. I was so happy I didn't know what to think.”

Jacky Martin, who qualified Ochoa but was seriously injured in a spill on Friday at Ruidoso and remains paralyzed at an El Paso hospital, was also on the mind of Gilbreath. The trainer credited Martin for helping prepare the gelding for his campaign by galloping him in the mornings.

“I'm just glad we got it done for him because he doesn't deserve what's going on with him right now,” he said about Martin, who has won a record seven All American Futurities. “He's a great rider, a great horseman.”

About what’s next for Ochoa, Gilbreath said, “I'm not sure. We'll probably back up, scratch our heads. He's been pretty good to us this year. We're going to try to not use him up.”

Roy Baldillez, who picked up the mount in place of Martin, earned his first All American Futurity victory after hitting the board three times in the past. His brother Alex won the 1987 All American Futurity on Elans Special and finished seventh in this All American aboard Denver Pass.

“It was a perfect trip,” said Baldillez. “He stood in the gates perfect. He broke on top. He was gone.”

Bred in Texas by John Jones Jr. Interests Ltd., Ochoa was a $25,000 repurchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale and runs for a partnership comprised of John and Brenda Jones’ J Bar 7, Monte and Katsy Cluck and Doug and Shavon Benson.

“I don't realize probably how lucky I am,” said Jones. “I'm just happy to be here. I wanted the best horse to win, and maybe today he was.”

Ochoa is the first All American Futurity winner for 2001 champion 2-year-old colt Tres Seis, who finished second in that year’s All American. Tres Seis, who stands at JEH Stallion Station Texas, is the sire of 33 stakes winners and the earners of more than $11 million.

The sorrel gelding is the first starter out of the Stoli mare Stolis Fortune, who was winless in four starts on the track and is a half sister to Grade 2 winner Fortune First, by First Down Dash.

Turner Farms’ Jess Send Me, a Texas-bred daughter of Feature Mr Jess, rallied to finish second and earned $350,000. Tee Cos, a Louisiana-bred colt by Corona Cartel, finished third for owners Lyle Guillory and John Soileau.

Lotta Love For Robyn, Lethal Volt, Jess Cuervo, Denver Pass, Mr Ease 123, Bills Last and Big Daddy Cartel completed the order of finish. Big Daddy Cartel crossed the wire eighth but was disqualified and placed last for interference.

In the $75,000 All American Juvenile (R), Reliance Ranches and Debra Gotovac’s Back In The Pack, the 7-5 favorite, raced to a neck victory to score her third-straight win.

The All American Juvenile is for horses that did not qualify for the Grade 1, $2.4-million All American Futurity, and Back In The Pack barely missed the cut as the 11th-fastest qualifier.

Mr Ease 123 was the 10th-fastest qualifier at :21.395, and Back In The Pack raced to a :21.397 mark in her trial.

Back In the Pack improved on that time in the All American Juvenile when she broke smartly from the gate and went on to win with a :21.206 mark under jockey Cody Wainscott.

Priceless Feature finished second by a half-length over DM Cruzin.

The Corona For Me daughter Back In The Pack has put together a superb summer campaign under the tutelage of trainer Bard Bolen. She was a close second in the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Derby to Silver For Me while finishing ahead of third-place finisher Ochoa.

Back In The Pack, a $9,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, returned to win her trials to the Rainbow Futurity and the All American Futurity. She earned $18,750 in the All American Juvenile and has now banked $119,284.

Runner-up Priceless Feature, owned by Ed Melzer, was second in his All American Futurity trial and has two wins at Remington Park from eight starts.

Third-place finisher DM Cruzin, owned by Reed Land and Cattle Co. with Bill Moler, won his maiden by three-quarters of a length in his All American Futurity trial.