All American: Team Player

Jerry Windham has a team in the All American Derby.

Q-Racing Journal

Kates Dynasty enters the All American Derby as the second-fastest qualifier. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

Jerry Windham is enjoying his time in Ruidoso. This week especially, when on Sunday two of his homebreds will go to post in the All American Derby (G1). Kates Dynasty and J Bar will be saddled by Mike Joiner, the trainer who the following day will send out two other starters in the All American Futurity (G1).

A former president of the American Quarter Horse Association and a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame, Windham raises racing American Quarter Horses on his ranch at Snook, Texas, just west of College Station, and beef cattle on his ranch at Hamilton. He has bred the earners of more than $17.9 million, led by his own Stolis Winner, who won the 2008 All American Futurity, ended that season as the world champion and retired three years later with a then-record $2,235,161.

A sorrel daughter of FDD Dynasty, Kates Dynasty is owned by the partnership of Windham, Billy G. Smith and Patrick D. Guthrie. Kates Dynasty scored a 1 1/2-length win in the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) and was the 2013 champion 2-year-old filly last year. Her win the All American Derby trials was her first in four races this season and she goes into the final with a record of 10-5-1-1 and $510,454.
“Kates Dynasty’s a good filly,” says Joiner, who conditioned her champion sire. “She’s real good to handle. She’s kinda like her daddy, somewhat. She lays down and sleeps a lot, and he did, too. They both saved their energy till they needed it, so they’ve got a little bit of the same traits.”

Then there’s J Bar.

“Oh, he’s really quiet in the stall, but he can be a handful when you get him out,” the trainer says. “He’s really, really playful when you gallop him. He can be a handful.”

So what now?

That’s up to Windham, who says it’s up to Kates Dynasty.

“It all depends on what happens in the Derby: How she runs, how she pulls up and all that, naturally,” Windham says. “But right now, the most likely deal is the Texas Classic Derby (G1) and then we’d go from there. As far as her 4-year-old year, I don’t know yet. Once again, it’s a matter of how she’s doing. We might breed her, pull embryos from her, run her. All of that is open – with a mare, you have a lot of options. We’ll just have to play it by ear.”

J Bar is a bay gelding by Jess Zoomin, the Windham-bred stallion who earned $461,126 and set a Remington Park track record at 350 yards. As a 2-year-old, J Bar won his trial to the All American Futurity, and also qualified to the John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge (G3) and the Dash For Cash Futurity (G1), but was scratched from both finals. He returned this season to be the fastest qualifier to the June 28 Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge, but again was scratched, and came into the All American Derby trials off a troubled start and fifth-place finish in the July 9 Rainbow Derby (G1). J Bar goes into the All American final as fourth-fastest qualifier with a career record of 8-5-1-1 and $95,734.

“Last year, J Bar ran awfully good in the All American Futurity trials, but he just got caught up in the elements,” Windham says. “So we took him to Lone Star for the Dash For Cash, but he did a little damage in the trials. It wasn’t much of a chip but it was in a bad place. We could have run him back with it, but you’re always taking a chance of doing more damage that way, so I just took him home and took the chip out, got him fixed and turned him out, and started back on him this year.”

“We did the same thing with him this season that we did with him last year as a 2-year-old: We put him in the Challenge trials and he actually had the fastest qualifying time to the the (Adequan Ruidoso Derby) Challenge. Then he qualified for the Rainbow Derby and looked pretty good. We thought he had a shot. And then he didn’t step away. It was one of those deals where he just took a little step back just at the time they kicked it. He lunged a little bit, and you just can’t make a mistake in those kind of races. So that was that.”

J Bar came back in the All American trials.

“He ran a good race there,” Windham says. “He was in the 1 hole and that worried me a little bit. But he got it done, and he was the only horse that came close to qualifying out of the 1 hole. So we’re right where we want to be. We’ve got a shot.

“J Bar has shown he’s capable of doing a whole lot if he can just put it all together at the same time. That’s the thing: In the Rainbow final, I thought he had a real good shot if he’d just leave there, and he didn’t. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and when something like that happens it doesn’t work at all. But that’s the same story with all of them. Like Kates Dynasty: If she breaks like she did last year in the Texas Classic at Lone Star, she’ll have a good shot.

“G.R. (Carter Jr.) qualified both of our horses, but chose Big Dashing Perry for the final,” Windham concludes. “G.R. chose the horse he thinks give him the best shot. But we’re not out of it. We have Rodrigo Vallejo on J Bar and we picked up Larry Payne for Kates Dynasty. They’re good seasoned riders, and if anybody can get the job done, they can. We’re real pleased with our riders. Let’s put them in the gate, get them away from there, get them gone and see what happens.”

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