Groupie James Looks to Break Maiden in John Deere Ruidoso Trials

The graded stakes placed gelding is one of 41 2-year-olds entered in Friday's trials at Ruidoso Downs.

Q-Racing Journal

A total of 41 2-year-olds has been entered in Friday's 350-yard John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge trials.

Carlos Trujillo Jr.'s Groupie James, a Grade 2-placed son of Ivory James trained by Salvador Soto, is one of 41 2-year-olds entered in five 350-yard John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge (G3) trials at Ruidoso Downs on Friday.

Groupie James will be making his first start since April 30, when he ran third, three-quarters of a length behind winner Eyema Blue Wagon, in the 300-yard West Texas Futurity (G2) at Sunland Park. Esgar Ramirez will ride the Arizona-bred gelding from post 6 in the second trial.

Groupie James' eight opponents in the second heat include Feature Moonflash, a First Moonflash gelding who will be making his debut at Ruidoso off of three starts during the Remington Park spring meet. Trained by Eddie Willis for owner James Sills, Feature Moonflash has earned $26,928, and he was a finalist in the 330-yard, $440,000 Oklahoma Futurity (G3) on March 26.

Feature Moonflash drew post 7 and will be ridden by Cesar Gomez.

Donnie E. Johnson's Eaglelistic, a stakes-placed son of the Feature Mr Jess stallion Flyingwitheagles trained by Cody Reynolds, drew post 4 and will be ridden by Salvador Martinez in the fourth trial. The Oklahoma-bred gelding is coming off of a third-place finish, 3 1/4 lengths behind winner A Fancy La Jolla, in the June 19, 350-yard Four Corners Futurity at SunRay Park.

The 10 fastest qualifiers from Friday's trials will meet in the $75,000-est. John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge final on July 30. The winner of that berth will earn a berth in the October 29 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos.

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