Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Evangeline Downs Concludes with Three Stakes on Saturday Night
By Martha Claussen and Jennifer Hancock | December 14, 2016
Almanza Hoping to “Maxx” Out Final Futurity of 2016
By Martha Claussen
Quarter Horse trainers have countless stories about runners who surprised them with big wins when they were least expected. Horseman Rolando Almanza would definitely place Maxx into that category.
The son of PYC Paint Your Wagon out of the Bully Bullion mare Bullions N Garters is owned by Irma Z. Vargas and will be one of the favorites in Saturday’s $317,500 Evangeline Downs Futurity. The 400-yard final is one of three stakes on the closing night of the Evangeline Downs 2016 Quarter Horse meet.
Bred in Oklahoma by Jim Gubas, Maxx made his debut at Sam Houston Race Park, qualifying to and winning the 350-yard John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3) on May 16.
“We thought he was good enough to go to the All American (Futurity at Ruidoso Downs),” said Almanza. “So we just trained him up to the trials in August. It didn’t work out, so the owners paid him into the Texas Classic Futurity.”
Maxx qualified for the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park, finishing fifth to High Plains Perry. Almanza and Mrs. Vargas discussed the possibility of running at Evangeline Downs and Maxx made the trip to Opelousas, Louisiana.
Jockey Manuel Gutierrez won six of the trials held on November 25, but only qualified one to the final. That was Maxx, whose winning time of :19.551 was the fastest clocking of the evening.
“I was just hoping to qualify,” admitted Almanza. “He was paid late into this futurity and ran very well. Eye N Capo will be tough, but I believe we have a very good chance in the final.”
So, Maxx, who has won $78,299 in his six career starts, will attempt to claim his first major futurity win in Louisiana after competing at four different racetracks since May.
Almanza has trained several Quarter Horse graded stakes winners, most notably Daytona B and Moonin the Eagle. He’s hoping for a victory Saturday night with Maxx, not just for himself, but for the Vargas family of Grand Prairie, Texas.
“This is their first really fast racehorse,” said Almanza. “They are great owners and it is a blessing for me to have them in my racing stable.”
Handicapping the Evangeline Downs Futurity
By Jennifer Hancock
Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock takes a look at the 15th running of the $317,500 Evangeline Downs Futurity, which will be the 11th race on Saturday at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana. The race was first contested from 1966 to 1970 and was renewed in 2006. Twelve trials were held November 25 to determine the 10 fastest qualifiers. The 400-yard race has an estimated local post time of 9:50 p.m. CST.
Oklahoma-bred # 6 Eye N Capo is the highest money earner in the field and brings a perfect three-for-three record into the Evangeline Downs Futurity. The Capo De Capi gelding has won every race he’s started by a length or more including the Grade 2 Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park on October 8. Trainer Adrian Huitron won the Evangeline Downs Futurity last year with Queen Washita.
John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3) winner #3 Maxx set the fastest qualifying time for the Evangeline Downs Futurity while winning his trial by 1-1/4 lengths. The PYC Paint Your Wagon gelding qualified to the Texas Classic Futurity with a huge effort in his trial, but finished fifth in the final.
If rain makes the track muddy on Saturday, bet on #1 Platinum FDD, who is the fourth-fastest qualifier. The First Down Dash gelding has won four of his seven starts, but his best races have come on off tracks. He won his Firecracker Futurity trial by a length on a muddy track and came back to win the final by three-fourths of a length on a good track.
Stakes-placed #10 One Sweet Picky has only finished off the board once in her five lifetime races – her first start. She won her next out, winning a trial by daylight and setting the fastest qualifying time to the TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2). She ran third in the final. In the trials for the Dash For Cash Futurity, she was bumped hard at the start but still managed to finish second. The filly led gate to wire in her Evangeline Downs Futurity trial and set the fourth-fastest qualifying time.
Jennifer Hancock’s Evangeline Downs Futurity Picks:
# 6 Eye N Capo, #3 Maxx , #1 Platinum FDD, #10 One Sweet Picky
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, Turf Paradise and Sunland 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.