Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Sunrise at Sunland, Sunset at Hialeah.

Wrangler Racing Aces

Sunrise at Sunland and Sunset at Hialeah


Donna McArthur with Corona Cash in 1998.
PHOTO: AQHA File Photo 

Trainer Donna McArthur Reflects on the Crisis at Sunland Park
By Martha Claussen

Thankfully, live racing at Sunland Park will resume on Friday, February 26, after a lengthy closure due to an EHV-1 outbreak. Officials shut down all racing on January 22 when a quarantine was imposed on the stable area and surrounding training centers.

Trainer Donna McArthur has four Quarter Horses entered on the Friday card and took a minute to reflect on the unease of the last month in New Mexico.

She has 25 horses stabled at Sunland Park and another 25 juveniles at Frontera Training Center, located a mile away from Sunland. McArthur is grateful that none of her horses were affected, crediting a very stringent protocol in preventing illness in her barn.


"I have always been diligent about cleanliness," she states. "We take temperatures daily, and with any illness, treating it immediately protects the horse and prevents spreading. Plus, we take caution with vaccinations every two years as well as worming."

McArthur began training in 1979, and has won many of the top races in Quarter Horse racing, most notably, the 1997 All American Futurity (G1) with Corona Cash. She was the recipient of the Mildred N. Vessels Special Achievement Award that year, which honors an outstanding woman within the American Quarter Horse racing industry for their achievement. 

Safe to say that in 37 years of training, McArthur has experienced the many highs and lows in the racing world. However, she admits that this month has been profoundly challenging.

"It's been an eye opener, for sure," she said. "We lost 180 races, and are still in discussions about making up the dates and possibly extending the meet until May 7. It's been hard on the horsemen, but I feel for the riders and pony people, as well."

Today is Donna McArthur's birthday! Sending good wishes her way and to everyone at Sunland Park for a successful continuation of their 2016 racing season.

EC Jet One at 5 months, then at 3 years while winning the
$375,297 Hialeah Derby. 
PHOTOS: (Left) Courtesy of Azoom Ranch
Facebook Page/(Right) Coady Photography

Big Stakes Close out Hialeah Meet
By John Hernandez

The seventh season of live Quarter Horse racing at Hialeah Park wraps up on Monday, February 29. Sunday's card will feature six stakes races and Wrangler Racing Ace John Hernandez offers his analysis of two of the major championships.

EC Jet One Tops Competitive Field in 2016 South Florida Derby

Enrique Carrion’s EC Jet One, a rather stylish winner of the $375,297 Hialeah Derby on January 17, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $204,265 South Florida Quarter Horse Derby at Hialeah Park. The homebred son of The Louisiana Cartel out of Pretty Girl Perry by Mr Jess Perry won his trial for the SFQH Derby on February 7, clocking a time of :21.414 for the classic American Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards.

That placed him only 5th on the list of qualifiers, but it should be noted that the four horses who recorded faster times – Favored Fire, Genovese, Satcha Wagoneer, and Carters Sixty Six – all came out of the first trial, run with a 17 MPH tailwind at the runners’ backs.

Jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, the top money earner at Hialeah Park after nine weeks of action, will break EC Jet One from the outside post position in a full field of 10 horses as the potent pair looks to cross the finish line first for the fourth straight time this season.

The morning line favorite figures to get his main competition from the aforementioned quartet and, perhaps, even from Sprinster, who finished a hard-trying second to ‘Jet’ in the trial. With “the money man” in the saddle, let’s make EC Jet One the top contender and put Favored Fire (drawn just to his inside) right behind him. 

Top four selections:  10-9-8-2. 

Ten Seasoned Pros Tangle In Sam Abbey Memorial Invitational Championship
The 10 horses entered in Sunday’s Sam Abbey Memorial Invitational Championship at Hialeah Park know their way to the winner’s circle no matter the track. Topped by the 10 wins recorded by 6-year-old Habits Secret, the runners have amassed 55 career victories and totaled combined earnings of more than $2 million!

The main contenders appear to be 2015 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) winner Daytona B, Hialeah Maturity hero Moonin The Eagle, Sawgrass Stakes winner Habits Secret, Signature Stakes victor Ill Stop The World, and City of Hialeah Stakes winner Fly Thru The Fire.

Still, there are many questions surrounding the contenders. Will Daytona B rebound from a sub-par Sawgrass? Will “big race rider” Esgar Ramirez make a difference for “the champ?” How will Moonin The Eagle run first time for new trainer Yoani Abreu? Will Habits Secret repeat his last? Can Fly Thru The Fire stretch out to 440 yards and win again for the top connections at the meet? Is the inside post position too big an obstacle for Ill Stop the World?

We’ll know the answers to those questions shortly after 5:05 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. Let’s give a slight edge to Fly Thru The Fire, since he’s bedded down in the barn of the meet’s leading trainer. Moonin The Eagle is undefeated since his connections added the flipping halter. 

Top four selections: 8-10-7-4


Wrangler Racing Aces in February

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, Hialeah Park, Louisiana Downs and Rillito 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.