All American: Imperial Eagle

The fastest qualifier seeks the All American crown.

Quarter Racing Journal

Imperial Eagle is the fastest qualifier to the All American Futurity. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Charles E. “Chuck” Robinson has spent a lifetime chasing the All American dream.

That’s saying a lot. Robinson is 83. He will be represented by fastest qualifier Imperial Eagle in American Quarter Horse racing’s richest event, the $3 million All American Futurity (G1) this Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

“What a deal, something I’ve been working toward for the last 50 years!” said Robinson, who lives with wife Christina at Southern Pines, North Carolina. “It’s pretty exciting, now that it’s happened!”
Imperial Eagle stormed to the top of the qualifiers in the final of 15 trials on the first day of qualifying. Stopping the clock in :21.499, which also held up to make him the fastest qualifier overall, the gray gelding is trained by Tony Sedillo and ridden by Esgar Ramirez.

Robinson was not able to be there in person. Injured in an accident, he was left paralyzed from the waist down, particularly on his right side, from “a surgical procedure that went bad, I guess you can say. I can get around a little bit with a walker. But I’m not going on any hikes, for sure.

“So I don’t get to see much, unless it’s on TV or video,” he said. “I’m handicapped in my ability to get around. I can’t go out and jump up and down and cheer them on anymore. But I was jumping up and down inside.”

Imperial Eagle ran second on first asking, in an April 15 trial to the West Texas Futurity (G2) at Sunland Park. He finished fifth in the final on April 30, but ultimately was moved to second after post-race disqualifications for positive lab reports of the first-, third- and fourth-place finishers. The West Texas disqualifications also moved to third the sixth-place finisher Gamey Tee Cos, who clocked the fifth-fastest qualifying time on the first day of the All American trials.

Taken to Ruidoso, Imperial Eagle won both of his non-qualifying trials to the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Rainbow futurities.

Robinson acquired Imperial Eagle for $40,000 at the 2015 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Imperial Eagle was bred by Fredda Draper, whose deceased husband, Carl, trained 2004 All American winner DM Shicago and 2007 winner Heartswideopen.

Imperial Eagle is by champion and leading sire One Famous Eagle, who sired the two fastest qualifiers on the first day of trials and the third-fastest on the second day. The gray gelding is one of two winners from four starters out of the Genuine Strawfly mare Jenuine Joy, a five-time stakes winner who earned $382,230 in her career on the track. Jenuine Joy is represented by three 2-year-olds and her other winner is her Apollitical Jess gelding Political Mess, who won the 10th heat on the first day of trials.

“I had a very substantial offer for the horse (recently),” Robinson said. “So I had the opportunity to make several hundred percent profit on the horse, but I chose not to do that. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal right here. I’ve been chasing it for a long time. And hopefully I’ll get in the circle.”

Handicapped or not, Robinson does not plan on watching the All American Futurity on video.

“I plan to be in Ruidoso for the final,” Robinson said. “I’m a little slow getting around, but I’ve made arrangements for an airplane charter to take my wife and myself and a couple other family members to New Mexico. As long as I’ve been in Quarter Horse racing, my absolute goal was to make it to the finals of the All American Futurity. I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to make it. But it looks like I’m going to be there.”

Check AQHA's All American page for complete All American news, including qualifier profiles, photos and videos. AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.