Q-Racing Blog: The Night Before Christmas

Did you ever stay up all night, wondering what Santa would bring?

Quarter Racing Journal

Did you ever stay up all night, wondering what Santa would bring?

The trials to the $3 million All American Futurity (G1) are epic. This year, four of the five top-ranked 2-year-olds in the AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com Poll are among the nearly 300 juveniles entered in the two days of trials.

By now, you could know the names of the All American Futurity qualifiers. They are the 10 horses that advanced and now have the opportunity to earn $1.5 million and have their name added to a very elite list.

However, first they thrived during the two days of trials.

Here is what some major players had to say about the week leading up to the All American Futurity trials. Their lives in racing, in many ways, revolve around the All American Futurity every year.

Cody Jensen, jockey
Winner of two All American futurities

It’s very busy leading up to trials. You have a lot of work in the morning, a lot of horses to stand, a lot of last minute tidbits to work on to make sure everything is lined out.

Once about Tuesday rolls around, then you just sit steady for the next couple of days. There’s a lot of work leading up to that week to four days out and then you just kinda sit and stew on ‘em. Stay healthy.

I think there is too much work to let the emotions creep in. You’re there and bustin’ butt and trying to get done everything you need to do, so you have the best chance that you can possibly have in the trials.

Mike Joiner, trainer
Trainer of 11 All American Futurity trial entrants

Well, you know, just a regular week preparing for the trials. We’ve got a few for the trials.

We just try to do the same old thing that we usually do. Try to keep the same routine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The pressure starts after the trials, if you can qualify.

Lisa Saumell, manager of trainer Paul Jones’ New Mexico division
The Jones’ barn, with Saumell managing, has won three All American futurities

There is a lot of work and anticipation. Hopefully, the ones that I think are true blue are true blue and we should know by now.

I know the owners are excited; my phone has not stopped ringing. I don’t care if it rains because we’ve done well with the rain. We’ve won All Americans with the rain. I just want a good safe, steady wind, no goods and bads of the day.

For me, there’s a lot of preparation for it. After the draw, you have to sit down and figure it all out so everything goes automatic.

I just think that by now we are all ready.

Billy Smith, owner
He has an interest in four horses in All American Futurity trials

It’s like my Christmas. It’s the best time of year for me. From the fifteen of August through Labor Day are the weeks I look forward to more than anything I do.

I like to watch good horses run, but it’s more fun if you have a good one. But I don’t need to have it. I love it. It’s the best time of the year for me. It’s almost like a kid getting up and seeing what Santa Claus brought.

Donnie Stewart, jockey agent
Agent for Cody Jensen and Omar Reyes. His riders have qualified more than 100 horses for All American Futurity

It’s the busiest time of the year. After the trials, it’s pretty simple, our hands are tied, we can’t do any more. Leading up to this, it’s real busy. This is my 42nd year; you get used to it.

It’s like Christmas to us. If Santa Claus shows up then you have a good All American and if he doesn’t, you don’t. After 40-some years, you don’t panic.

Looking forward to it very much. It makes our year. It either makes us or breaks us.

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