Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Deep in the heart of Texas.

Q-Racing Journal

Quarter Horse racing's starts will be shining bright in Texas this weekend.

TQHA Sale Futurity Highlights Exciting Weekend at Retama Park
By Martha Claussen

A big weekend is on tap in San Antonio, Texas, as Retama Park showcases two night's of stakes action, highlighted by the richest race of the meet, the $443,050 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2).

Horsemen from all regions will be in town for the annual TQHA Yearling Sale, July 29-30. The sale takes place at the Exposition Hall at the Freeman Center, beginning at 10:30 a.m. There are 270 yearlings set to enter the sale ring; all will be eligible to return to compete in trials for the 2017 TQHA Sale Futurity.  Past successful sale graduates include Oak Tree Special, Azoom, Snowy Alibi and Duponte, who was purchased for just $6,700 in the 2015 TQHA Yearling Sale and has already banked $578,519 this year!


Brian and Dana Stroud's JRC Callas
First, the sport's 2014 world champ,
is a perrfect 6-for-6 at the 550-yard
distance. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Friday night's card features 2014 AQHA world champion JRC Callas First gunning to become a three-time winner of the  $30,000 TQHA "550" Stakes.  The 6-year-old son of Winners Award, owned by Dana and Brian Stroud, is a perfect 6-for-6 at the distance of 550 yards.

"He looks good," said Brian, who has trained the Texas-bred in each of his 29 career starts. "I'm anxious to see if he is back on form after his two losses. The field in the Remington Park Invitational was the toughest I've ever seen, and he just didn't seem to handle the surface at Delta. On Friday, he'll run the distance he loves against softer company."


Stroud is the current leading trainer at Retama Park and will give a leg up to Juan Garcia, Jr.

"Juan has been working hard for our barn all meet and knows JRC," explained Stroud. "We felt he deserved a shot."

Saturday's 11-race card concludes with an excellent field set for the $175,700 Retama Park Derby (G3). Especial Cartel, a son of The Louisiana Cartel, owned by Mauro Villarreal and Jose Estrada is the 5-2 morning line choice. His rivals include Rosa Aguado's GYR Jammer, who brings a three-race win streak into the 400-yard final. Raul Ramirez, Jr. will pilot the gelded son of Apollitical Jess, who won the $370,000 Heritage Place Derby (G2) on June 4 and won his trial with the seventh-fastest time. 

Francisco Garza's Tee Chic is the high earner in the field with a victory in the 2015 Oklahoma Futurity at Remington Park and fourth-place finish in the Heritage Place Futurity (G1). He was the ninth fastest qualifier in trials run on July 16 and reunites with jockey Francisco Calderon, who rode him in his 2-year-old campaign last year at Remington Park.

Another very capable finalist is Joel Tipton's Miss Aguilar.  The Tres Seis filly, trained by Jose Sanchez, the brother of Angel Sanchez, who oversaw her debut as a 2-year-old in trials for the $621,000 Sam Houston Futurity. She has won three of her five career starts and will be ridden by Luis Vivanco, the current leading rider at Retama Park.

This is a huge weekend in Quarter Horse racing with major championships set across the country. There is no doubt that the stars in Texas will be shining brightly!

Contention Runs Deep In Rich TQHA Sale Futurity at Retama Park
By John Hernandez

A contentious field of 10 2-year-olds, five fillies and five colts or geldings, will run 350 yards in the $443,050 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2) at Retama Park on Saturday July 30.

The qualifiers for “the money run” came out of nine trials contested into 12-18 MPH headwinds on Friday July 15. In the first trial heat, eventual top qualifier One Sweet Picky, a daughter of One Sweet Jess-Sticky N Picky by Sticks An Stones, outran Awestruck Favor by a little over a length into a 12 MPH headwind to post the best clocking of the trials at 17.947 seconds.
The sixth fastest qualifier, the gelding Like a Denali (Jodys Money Pop-Romancing Mary by Tres Seis), was the lone qualifier from the seventh trial at 18.087 seconds, run into an 18 MPH headwind.

One Sweet Picky and Like a Denali are two of three entrants for trainer Rodolfo Sanchez, who also saddles the second-fastest qualifier Courageous Flight, a colt by Captain Courage-Fly Bonus by Stoli.

With all that setting the stage, it’s probably not a bad idea “follow the leader” –in this case jockey Chapa, who rode both One Sweet Picky and Like a Denali in the trials– for some clues.

Chapa stays with Like A Denali while Ivan Carnero takes the call on One Sweet Picky, so put Issac’s horse right on top of the contenders list.

Still, “the one to fear most” is probably the Judd Kearl-trained filly Maybeyes (Carters Cartel-Streakin Snow Lady by Mr Jess Perry), the third-fastest qualifier off a time of 18.024 in her trials victory.

If it’s not one of the aforementioned quartet, perhaps fourth-fastest qualifier Jayronimo (Jess Zoomin-Dashing Patriot by Game Patriot) or fifth-fastest qualifier Cartel Flash (First Moonflash-Classic Cartel by Corona Cartel) will have a say in the outcome.

But, when push comes to shove, give the edge to Like a Denali, with Maybeyes a big threat as well.

Wrangler Racing Ace John Hernandez's Top Four Selections:
#7  Like a Denali
#5  Maybeyes
#10 One Sweet Picky
#6   Courageous Flight

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.