Ochoa Ready for Texas Classic Derby

All-time leading money earner hopes to extend his lead after Texas Classic Derby.

November 7, 2012

Champion and all-time leading money earner Ochoa has the first opportunity to defend his No. 1 ranking in the AQHA Racing-Horserplayernow.com national poll when he starts in the $377,219 Texas Classic Derby (G1) on Saturday night at Lone Star Park.

Ochoa (Tres Seis-Stolis Fortune by Stoli) became the all-time leading money earner when he dominated the $2,234,539 All American Derby (G1). He has since taken his Texas Classic Derby trial in thrilling fashion and his earning stand at $2,604,653 with $2,526,493 of those earnings coming at the Texas Classic Derby distance of 440 yards.

Owned by Johnny T.L. Jones Jr.’s J Bar 7 Ranch, Monty and Katsy Cluck and Doug Benson, Ochoa was the overwhelming winner of the 2011 $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1) and the 2012 All American Derby (G1), each at 440 yards. The Johnny T.L. Jones Jr.-bred gelding won the All American Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths as the 8-5 favorite and then pulled away to take the All American Derby by 1 1/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite.

The C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath-trained gelding was the 2-5 favorite in his Texas Classic Derby trial and scared his many backers at the trial’s start. He broke poorly and was actually behind Runaway Wagon (PYC Paint Your Wagon-Dashin Vike by Dashin Bye) for half of the race. He then unleashed his astonishing closing rush and got up to win the trial by a heart-pounding nose. His time of :21.394 was the second-fastest qualifying time.

Topping the qualifiers was Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Linda Tee Fire (Walk Thru Fire-Jess Linda Tee by Mr Jess Perry) with a :21.383 time after winning the first of five trials by a neck over Leonard Lyne’s homebred fourth-fastest qualifier Texasindependencegal (Mr Ottyes-Lovely Legs by Strawflyin Buds), who was timed in :21.430.

Linda Tee Fire, trained by Mike Joiner, is after his first stakes placing after showing he can earn his way into Grade 1 stakes. A year ago, he qualified for the Texas Classic Futurity and was sixth in the All American Derby behind Ochoa, beaten by less than 3 lengths.

Tommy Hays and Bobby Barnett’s Runaway Wagon, who nearly held on to beat Ochoa in their trial, won the $144,065 Firecracker Derby by three quarters of a length at Delta Downs. Now trained by Bobby Martinez, Runaway Wagon was fourth in his Dash For Cash Derby trial before his very game effort in his Texas Classic Derby trial.