Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Good fortune continues for Rick Robinson and Challenge time at Sam Houston.
By Martha Claussen and Denis Blake | April 13, 2016
Here's to You, Robinsons
By Martha Claussen
Trainer R. L."Rick" Robinson is a quiet guy and much prefers to tend to his horses and stay away from the spotlight. But it's hard to ignore his prowess with 2-year-old Quarter Horses. Last year, it was Tee Chic winning the Oklahoma Futurity (G2) and posting the fastest qualifying time to the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity (G1).
On April 8 at Remington Park, he saddled Teller Baja, the fastest qualifier to the $958,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity (RG2). The homebred Teller Cartel filly owned by Juan A. Medina of Zapata, Texas, won her 330-yard trial in :16.597.
Robinson grew up in California and loved working with horses more than going to school. He dropped out of high school and began working for several horsemen including AQHA Hall of Fame conditioner Blane Schvaneveldt at Los Alamitos, and Reed Hadley. When he and his wife, Kathy started their family, they moved to Texas with their two sons, Tony and Justin.
AQHA records indicate that Robinson made his training debut in 1991. Stakes victories came with Diamond For Jess and Superior Race Horse Heza Marquette Maker, but the biggest win came last year with Tee Chic. On April 23, Teller Baja, undefeated in her two starts, could capture another prestigious futurity.
"Team" Robinson is comprised of wife, Kathy, their rider, Agustin Silva, Eric Sierra and Jerimiah Sistler.
"We have been lucky to have good 2-year-olds," said Kathy. "But there is no way we could be successful without our help. ‘Augie’ was out here this morning walking the filly. Our son, Tony, helps out when he can as well."
Justin, 28, was a good student and earned a scholarship to Texas A&M. He spent eight years in College Station, earning his DVM degree in 2013. Now in private practice, he specializes in racehorses, with Texas clients including Judd Kearl, Brian Stroud and Leon Bard.
"My dad is a hard-working, hands-on horseman," said Justin. "He doesn't want a huge barn; just prefers to train for a select group of owners and keep the horses happy."
Currently ranked fifth in the AQHA trainer standings with six wins from 25 starts, Robinson has 25 horses at Remington Park.
You can be certain that Justin will be watching from Texas when Teller Baja goes into the starting gate on April 23.
"Dad's been doing this his whole life," said Justin. "I always admired how hard he and my mom worked. It inspired me to go to college, and I was the first member of my family to do so."
A close-knit family with some exceptional Quarter Horses in their barn. That's winning on pretty much every level!
Handicapping the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship
By Denis Blake
There are a lot of reasons to like JRC Callas First in the Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G2). For starters, he’s the 2014 world champion and is still going strong in 2016. And if that’s not enough, he’s won six of nine career starts at 440 yards, and the only horse to beat him in his last six outings is the red-hot Zoomin Effortlessly (currently ranked No. 2 in the AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com National Poll). And you know his owners, Dana and Brian Stroud, with the latter also the trainer, are ultra-confident as they just ponied up the late enrollment fee of $20,000 to make the 6-year-old gelding eligible for the Bank of America Racing Challenge program. That all adds up to a very tough favorite, and one that is likely to be bet down hard from his 7-2 morning line. If you are looking for a reason he might get beat, JRC Callas First will have a new rider in Jerry Lee Yoakum. But even so, Yoakum is a veteran rider and this horse won with a jockey change last time out, so it will be a tall order for the rest of the field.
One horse to give a long look for the exacta and maybe even the upset is Exquisite Stride. He probably needed his last start in the trials, as it was his first outing since December, and he has shown plenty of talent in the past by qualifying to the All American Futurity (G1) and winning last year’s Evangeline Downs Derby.
On the far outside, Stimulus also has a shot as he came within a neck of defeating JRC Callas First last year at Zia Park. He’s hit the board in 14 of 16 starts, so don’t leave him off your trifecta ticket.
Jessies First Down has a fine record at Sam Houston and comes in with excellent form at Hialeah Park in Florida, so he should also be in the mix.
Wrangler Racing Ace Denis Blake's Top Four Selections:
#1 JRC Callas First
#5 Exquisite Stride
#7 Jessies First Down
Wrangler Racing Aces in April
Visit the Q-Racing Aces page on Facebook or follow them @HorseRacingAces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Sunland Park and upcoming live meets at Indiana Grand and Delta Downs.
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