Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Youth and experience on display this weekend.
By Martha Claussen and Jennifer Hancock | July 7, 2016
Wrangler Racing Aces
RDD Lajollanfastdash Overcomes Illness and Aims for Second Futurity Score of the Year
By Martha Claussen
Miguel A. Aguilar's RDD Lajollanfastdash began the year in style, winning the $273,054 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) at Louisiana Downs.
Richard Dale Domingue of Youngsville, Louisiana, bred his Streakin La Jolla mare La Jollan Queen to Heza Fast Dash, citing the sire as a "proven producer".
RDD Lajollanfastdash, was the fourth foal of La Jollan Queen, who slab fractured early in her career before becoming a broodmare. Her son faced his own battle as a weanling.
"He got the strangles, then the mare got it and they both ended up at LSU in isolation for three weeks," said Domingue. "We were very fortunate that they both recovered. He was always a very intelligent and attentive young horse."
Trainer Willie Simien Jr. and Aguilar purchased several yearlings at the 2015 LQHBA Yearling Sale, and signed a $10,000 ticket for RDD Lajollanfastdash. Simien liked his pedigree, noting his "long, straight legs", but didn't think at the time that he would be the best of his 2016 racing prospects.
"We bought some nice horses at the sale, and to be honest, I didn't think RDD Lajollanfastdash would be one of my best runners," said Simien. "You have to make adjustments with each horse; some get it quicker than others. But, I love figuring it out. Honestly, he's just a natural runner."
However, that impression changed after his first breeze, and became even more evident following his schooling race on January 29, when he drew off by 3 1/4 lengths.
Raul Ramirez Jr. piloted the bay gelding that day, dismounted and gave Simien the report.
"His exact words were 'Willie, don't take me off this one," recalled the 27-year-old trainer.
RDD Lajollanfastdash has progressed flawlessly in 2016, winning his trial for Saturday's $690,295 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) on June 18.
Ramirez, who is coming off the best year of his riding career, is in complete agreement.
"He does not act like a 2-year-old," explains Ramirez. "His maturity and his professionalism is much more like a 4-year-old racehorse."
Simien opted to rest RDD Lajollanfastdash and not run him in the Laddie Futurity, setting his sights on the Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) at Delta Downs and the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity at Evangeline Downs in November.
"We swam him prior to trials for the Lee Berwick," explained Simien. "Our goal is to keep him sound and make sure he would be healthy all year."
He recorded the second-fastest time of :17.742 in the 15 trials contested on June 18. Despite remaining undefeated in his three career starts, Simien was not overjoyed with his Lee Berwick trial performance.
"I expected more, but he was coming off a layoff," he said.
The fastest qualifier to the Lee Berwick is Harlow Racing Stable LLC's Louisiana Jewels. The Jess Louisiana Blue is also undefeated and was a convincing winner in the $298,012 Lassie Futurity at Delta on May 20. She is installed as the 2-1 favorite for trainer Michael Taylor, and will break from post position nine under Joe Badilla, Jr.
"Most definitely, she's the one to beat, "admits Simien. "She's a very nice filly who looks like she can run all day."
The Lee Berwick Futurity will close out the 2016 Delta Downs Quarter Horse meet. I will be there Saturday night on behalf of the Wrangler Racing Aces to preview each one of the races with track announcer Don Stevens.
Handicapping the $55,000 Rocky Mountain Derby
by Jennifer Hancock
The Quarter Horse stakes season is in full swing. You don’t have to look far to find exciting trial races and thrilling stakes as races are being contested across the country. The Wrangler Racing Aces are traveling across the country and will be providing on-track handicapping information at Indiana Grand, Delta Downs and Arapahoe Park.
Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock takes a deeper look at the Rocky Mountain Derby, which will be the ninth and final race on Arapahoe’s Saturday card. With a $55,000 purse, the 350-yard race has a local post time of 4:20 p.m.
Since arriving in Colorado from Los Alamitos, #2 Air Force Won has been dominant and on a winning streak. Trained by Chris Gandarilla and owned by Vences Quarter Horse Air Force Won set the fastest qualifying time to the Rocky Mountain Derby while winning his trial by 1 1/2 lengths. He was overlooked by bettors when he won the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge Stakes at Arapahoe Park by 2 lengths, but after two daylight wins, he’ll most likely be the favorite on Saturday.
Rocky Mountain Futurity winner #5 Three Olives N Smoke ran fourth as the favorite in the Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge Stakes and has the chance to avenge the loss in the Rocky Mountain Derby. Trained by John Hammes, who is consistently at the top of the Arapahoe leading trainer list, Three Olives N Smoke is the third-fastest qualifier. He overcame a bad break, where he broke in and bumped a rival, in the trial and finished second by a head.
#9 Thatza Fact Jack is also a John Hammes trainee. The fourth-fastest qualifier won his trial by daylight. The well-raced Teller Cartel gelding will be making his 17th lifetime race. In five Arapahoe starts, he’s won three races and never finished off the board with a second and a third.
#3 Silver Citizen is the second-fastest qualifier and brings a two-race win streak into the Rocky Mountain final. After breaking in the air in the trial, he was still able to win by a head. He’ll break beside Air Force Won and should be in the mix at the wire.
On Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10, Jennifer Hancock will be onsite at Arapahoe Park in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the Rocky Mountain Derby, their weekend stakes include the $20,000 Merial Arapahoe Distaff Challenge on Saturday and the $117,780 Rocky Mountain Futurity on Sunday. Fans are invited to join her and track announcer Jonathan Horowitz on Sunday, July 10 for a free "Wagering Do's and Donuts" handicapping seminar at 11:15 a.m. Hancock will be available to meet and greet fans both afternoons with her tip sheet and handicapping materials.
Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock's Top Four Selections:
#2 Air Force Won
#5 Three Olives N Smoke
#9 Thatza Fact Jack
#3 Silver Citizen
Wrangler Racing Aces in July
The Wrangler Racing Aces will be on the move on Saturday, July 9 with fan education appearances scheduled at Arapahoe Park, Delta Downs and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino. 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, Canterbury Park, Ruidoso Downs, Indiana Grand, Delta Downs and Wyoming Downs.
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.