Air Force Won Scores in Arapahoe Derby Challenge

Odds-on favorite Three Olives N Smoke runs fourth after rough start.


Ramiro Garcia rode Air Force Won to the gelding's first stakes victory in Saturday's Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Ramiro Garcia rode Air Force Won to an upset victory in Saturday's $36,810 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge Stakes at Arapahoe Park.

Trained by Alejandro Chavez for owners Vences Quarter Horse and sent to post at odds of 7-1, Air Force Won defeated 11-1 longshot Royal Quick Eagle by two lengths in :19.679 for 400 yards. Three Olives N Smoke, the 2-5 favorite in the field of 10 3-year-olds, finished fourth after a bad stumble at the break, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Air Force Won was bred in New Mexico by the Hughes Donaldson Horse Company. The sorrel gelding's sire, the Stoli stallion Ketel Won, was the sport's champion aged stallion in 2007 and '08.

Air Force Won sold for $9,700 at the 2014 Heritage Place Yearling Sale in Oklahoma City. The gelding was making his first start at Arapahoe Park and first start since January 23, when he finished third in a 400-yard Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) trial.

"I actually thought it would be harder for him to run here because of the altitude," said Chavez. "Now the way he's running, I think he should go back and give us the same run like today, if not even better, because we're going down closer to sea level."

An earner of $28,064, Air Force Won has won two of his nine races. The gelding landed a starting berth in the October 29, $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos Racecourse.

May Be Fanastic SA finished third, a neck in front of Three Olives N Smoke. Turner Loose Foose, Persistent Pyc, Swingin Flight, Pickled On Corona, Streak N Cartel, and Kips Big Boy completed the order of finish.

"When the gates came open, he fell on all fours to the ground," said Joe Badilla Jr., who rode Three Olives N Smoke. "He actually lost his footing before he left the gate, and he got up and still ran fourth. It was a solid performance, but it won't show that on paper."

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