All American Derby a Record

All American Derby to set a record, Ochoa goes for all-time earnings record.

August 27, 2012

It’s all about champion Ochoa and money in this Sunday’s All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

First, if Ochoa (Tres Seis-Stolis Fortune by Stoli) takes the $938,506 first-place check then he becomes the all-time-leading money-earning American Quarter Horse.

Second, that $938,506 is the biggest chunk of the largest purse ever offered a 3-year-old or older American Quarter Horse in a single race. The entire purse is $2,234,539 and that demolishes the previous record for the All American Derby and the former record for a 3-year-old or older quarter horse race — $1,548,685 set in the 2010 All American Derby.

The winner of last year’s All American Futurity (G1), Ochoa has earned $1,645,736 and the All American Derby winner’s share would skyrocket his earnings to $2,584,242. The current earnings record is $2,235,161, held by former world champion and 2008 All American Futurity winner Stolis Winner.

And, just to consider, Ochoa was repurchased at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale at $25,000. Another $5,000 might have got him bought.

Co-owned by breeder Johnny T.L. Jones Jr.’s J Bar 7 Ranch at Quanah, Texas, with Monte and Katsy Cluck and Douglas Benson, Ochoa put himself in position to get the earnings record with wins in last year’s All American Futurity and this year’s Rainbow Derby (G1).

Ochoa’s win in the $2,400,000 All American Futurity put $1,200,000 in his bank account and earned him the champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding titles. The Sleepy Gilbreath-trained gelding picked up another $379,586 from the July 21 Rainbow Derby purse of $903,744.

The All American Futurity and Rainbow Derby wins were both at 440 yards and both were a result of a late charge to the wire. But they differed. In the All American Futurity, Ochoa simply sprinted away from the field to win by 1 1/2 lengths. In the Rainbow Derby, he charged between horses to get up and win by a head.

After the Rainbow Derby, Ochoa’s next start was in the August 17 All American Derby trials. The first three trials were run on a fast track and in the sunshine, but then it poured and Ochoa was in the eighth trial. Even with the rain and the off track, Ochoa shined. He won by 1 3/4 lengths in :21.431, the sixth-fastest time with each of the five faster times coming in the first three — and dry — trials.

Now Ochoa must earn the Derby win. He lines up against field of proven stakes horses.

Bill Price’s homebred fastest-qualifier BPS Jumpin Frisco (Jumpn-Frisco Fling by Dash For Cash) won the first trial in :21.277. Jumpin Frisco put together a respectable stakes run at Remington Park this spring, with a close second in the March 18 Mr Jet Moore Stakes and then third-place finishes in the April 14 Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Derby (R) and the May 26 Heritage Place Derby (G2).

James Sills and Abel Flores’ A Toss Up (Sweet First Down-Shake Cartel by Corona Cartel) is another Oklahoma invader. The gelding impressed when he won the Remington Derby and then stepped up and beat older Oklahoma-breds in the April 28 Sooner State Stakes (RG1). He continued his success against older horses at Ruidoso Downs when he was a close second behind JD Baccarat in the July 1 Higheasterjet Handicap (G3). A $50,000 supplemental nominee to enter the All American Derby trials, A Toss Up finished in a dead heat with Hez Our Secret (First Down Dash-Secret Separation by Separatist) and they share the third-fastest time of :21.383.

Johnny Trotter’s Hez Our Secret became ill after qualifying for last year’s Rainbow Futurity (G1) but then was able to return last winter and race to a fourth-place finish in the in the $2,236,000 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). The Blane Wood-trained colt scored his first win from three starts this summer at Ruidoso Downs when he finished on even terms with A Toss Up in their trial.

The All American Derby winner receives an invitation to the $750,000 Champion Of Champions (G1) in December at Los Alamitos. Already in the Champion Of Champions and currently stabled at Los Alamitos is reigning world champion Cold Cash 123, who was trained by Gilbreath before heading west a few weeks ago.

Looking ahead at possibilities, Cold Cash 123 is the top-ranked horse in the national poll and Ochoa is No. 2. If they both are in the Champion of Champions, it is possible that the two stablemates, who lived just a few stalls apart at Ruidoso Downs this summer could meet over 440 yards, their favorite distance, with the world title on the line.