Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Juvenile showdown at Zia Park.
By Martha Claussen and Jennifer Hancock | December 1, 2016
Jockey Esgar Ramirez Returns on All American Futurity Champion
By Martha Claussen
A full field of 2-year-olds will run in Sunday’s $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) at Zia Park. As Jennifer Hancock mentions in her handicapping analysis, it is far from a one-horse race, but 2016 All American Futurity champion, Imperial Eagle, looms large.
Jockey Esgar Ramirez is eager to reunite with the gray son of One Famous Eagle, who is owned by Charles E. Robinson. Trained by Tony Sedillo, Imperial Eagle brings a race record of four wins from seven starts into Sunday's 440-yard stakes.
"He was green the first time I rode him," recalled Ramirez of the July 9th trial for the Rainbow Futurity. "In the trial for the All American, he was much more focused."
Following his victory in the richest race for American Quarter Horse juveniles, Imperial Eagle ran eighth in his trial for the Hobbs American Futurity on September 24 at Zia.
"He was tired and not 100 percent that day," said Ramirez. "Tony and his groom have done a great job and we drew well for Sunday. I believe in this horse."
It is the dream of every Quarter Horse rider to win the All American Futurity, and Ramirez has won the prestigious championship twice: first with Mr Piloto in 2010 and three months ago with Imperial Eagle.
This has been a phenomenal year for the 32-year-old rider, who was born in El Paso and now resides in Anthony, New Mexico. He towers above fellow riders Cody Jensen, Ricky Ramirez, Agustin Silva, Omar Reyes and David Alvarez in earnings for the year. Heading into December, Ramirez has won 72 wins and his mounts have earned $4.1 million. Second on the earnings list is 2015 champion jockey, Ricky Ramirez with 77 victories and $2.6 million.
Esgar Ramirez was the sixth-leading AQHA rider in 2015 and is hopeful that he will earn the coveted title of AQHA Champion Jockey.
"I want to be king," he explained. "I have won the All American twice, but being recognized as the top jockey is really important to me."
However, win or lose this Sunday at Zia Park, Ramirez has one special Christmas gift planned for his wife, three children and parents.
"We're going to Disneyland!" said Ramirez.
Finding a Futurity Star in New Mexico
By Jennifer Hancock
Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock takes a look at the 11th running of the $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1), which will be the 10th race on Sunday at Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico. The 440-yard race has an estimated local post time of 4:27 p.m. MST.
Texas-bred #9 Chainman has reeled off three wins including a daylight victory in the Hobbs America Futurity (G2) at Zia Park on October 9. From five starts in 2016, the Separatist colt has four wins and $152,463 in earnings.
From seven starts in his freshman season, All American Futurity (G1) winner #5 Imperial Eagle has notched four wins and two seconds, but an awkward break in his Hobbs America Futurity trial on September 24 resulted in an eighth-place finish. Esgar Ramirez, who guided the One Famous Eagle gelding to victory on Labor Day and won the inaugural running of the Southwest Juvenile in 2006, will be back in the irons on Sunday. Only four of the 11 starters have raced at the 440-yard distance, and this graded stakes winning gray gelding is the only one to win at the distance – and he’s done it twice.
#8 Magnifico Dragon missed the board in his first out, which was at 300 yards, but the Zulu Dragon gelding has hit it in every other of his six lifetime starts, which have been at the 400-yard distance. He brings a two-race win streak into the Southwest Juvenile Championship. Jockey Mauro Salcedo, who has won 19 percent of his starts at Zia Park, has been in the irons for all of the gelding’s starts, including the 1 3/4 romp in the $313,348 New Mexico Cup Futurity (RG2) on October 30.
#2 Valorus, who was the runner-up behind Chainman in the Hobbs America Futurity (G2), won his first out, a trial for the West Texas Futurity at Sunland Park, by a half length and has amassed a 2-2-1 record in six starts. Rider Oscar Cordova won the 2015 edition of the stakes aboard Miss Feet First.
Jennifer Hancock’s Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) Picks:
# 9 Chainman
# 5 Imperial Eagle
# 8 Magnifico Dragon
Wrangler Racing Aces in December
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, Evangeline Downs, Sunland Park and Zia Park.
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.