Q-Racing Blog: Halftime 2016

Let's see where we are halfway through the year.

Quarter Racing Journal

Let's see where we are halfway through the year.

The racing year is halfway over and a lot has happened.

Here are a few things that come to mind that occurred this year, in no specific order.

It was a shock, like one of those calls you get in the middle of the night that you never want to receive. The champion gelding was euthanized on June 21 after a severe bout with colic. He was the rock star that died way too young and on the top of his game. In his final race, he set the fastest-qualifying time to the Vessels Maturity (G1) with an overwhelming trial victory and would have been a strong favorite in the finals. The two-time champion won 24 of 34 starts, all at Los Alamitos, and earned $878,468. He is the only horse to win four derbies at Los Alamitos. My heart remains sad for owner Ron Hartley, trainer John Cooper and jockey Cesar DeAlba.

Bobby Cox’s June
Bobby Cox is one of those owner/breeders who sets a standard for everybody else. Horses he bred had an amazing month of June. He could be the year’s champion breeder just on the accomplishments of Cox-bred horses in June. On June 4, Duponte threw a length on his rivals and won the $1,083,000 Heritage Place Futurity (G1). The American Runaway son had won the $267,000 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3) in March. On June 11, Marfilous set the fastest-qualifying time from six trials to the $271,000 Firecracker Futurity (G2). On June 19, Chazaq showed he has a huge upside while winning the $1,070,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1). Duponte and Chazaq are the top-two ranked horses in the AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com National 2-Year-Old Poll.

Zoomin Effortlessly
All Telesforo Perrett’s Zoomin Effortlessly does is win races. He is currently riding an eight-race winning streak and the latest seven of those victories are in stakes races. During this streak he has won stakes at 350 yards to 440 yards. The R.L. Robinson-trained gelding has three stakes wins this year and is the top-ranked older horse in the weekly poll. This year, he has won the Grade 1 $100,000 Leo Stakes and $250,000 Remington Park Championship at Remington Park. Where does he go now? That will be something to watch for the rest of the year.

Jess Good Candy winning the Ruidoso Derby.
PHOTO: Ty Wyant

Jess Good Candy
We know where Jess Good Candy is going. That’s to the trials to the $2.5 million-est. All American Derby (G1). He is the reigning champion 2-year-old and undefeated from seven starts. His Grade 1 wins have come last year’s All American Futurity and the large, powerful colt has come back in superb form for trainer Clint Crawford. During the $1,068,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1), I stood in the grandstand winner’s circle to take a photo of him. That’s about 110 yards before the finish line. He went by me about one-half length in front (see photo) and won by 1 3/4 lengths. That was at 400 yards and the All American Derby distance is his perfect distance of 440 yards. While many of the other top sophomores are competing now, Jess Good Candy is training and resting in Crawford’s barn with a fan keeping him cool. He has the same schedule as last year when he went from a non-qualifying win in his Ruidoso Futurity trial to the All American Futurity trials.

Getting Tougher In New Mexico
The New Mexico Racing Commission, with the support of horsemen’s groups and all the state’s tracks, continues to clamp down on cheaters. Their latest action allows the NMRC to suspend a horse from racing for 60 days for a positive test. Imagine if you get a positive test and the horse gets 60 days and that horse is eligible for the All American Futurity or All American Derby. As NMRC chairman Ray Willis told me, “It will help get some of the horses off the track that have been abused and given an illegal substance. It will help protect jockeys and the betting public.”

Janet VanBebber
Last and certainly not least is the naming of Janet VanBebber as the AQHA’s chief racing officer in June. I couldn’t be happier for Janet and the racing American Quarter Horse. She not only has a tremendous resume and work ethic, she is one of the most honorable people in Quarter Horse racing. Plus, she knows her way around a racetrack and how racetracks work. She made her first public appearance the second day she was on the job. She attended the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame induction banquet and was hailed by a full-house crowd that has been around Quarter Horse racing for a long time.

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