Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
A young Texas trio and a Wood quartet.
By Martha Claussen and Denis Blake | June 7, 2016
Wrangler Racing Aces
Young Connections of Duponte Prevail in the Heritage Place Futurity
By Martha Claussen
Last July at the Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA) Yearling Sale, Kristen Ashley Paredes and her father, Edmar, had their eye on a yearling named Duponte. The colt, bred in Texas by Bobby Cox, is by American Runaway out of the Ivory James mare Havanah Goodtime.
"Last July was the second time we went to the TQHA Yearling Sale," said 23-year-old Paredes of Lockhart, Texas. "My dad has been in the racing business for 20 years. He really liked Duponte's pedigree and we looked him over carefully at the sale and really wanted him."
Duponte was one of the last horses to enter the sale ring and Paredes signed the ticket for just $6,700. He was sent to Joe Garza, who started the colt, and then to 21-year-old Josue Ponce in January. The up-and-coming Texas horseman won his first six-figure race on April 11, 2015, with El Chinito Boy in the $101,800 Sam Houston Maiden Classic.
Duponte, Ponce and jockey Francisco Ramirez, Jr., 23, headed to Louisiana Downs for his debut March 1 in trials for the $268,000 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3). Three weeks later, as the tenth-fastest qualifier, the sorrel colt broke his maiden, winning the final at odds of 17-1.
From there, they shipped to Remington Park to prepare for the Heritage Place Futurity (G1). Duponte ran in the first trial on May 14, finishing second as the favorite. His time held up through the first night of trials, and he advanced to the final as the ninth-fastest qualifier.
On Saturday, June 4, Duponte won his second futurity of the year, blazing to victory in the $1,083,420 Heritage Place Futurity (G1) from the far outside post. He covered 350-yards in :17.306, one length ahead of Sweet Annie GL. Duponte was 6-1 on the morning line, but left the gates at odds of 9-2 in the wagering and paid $11.60 to win.
Paredes, Ponce and Ramirez, 24, have now won two futurities already this year with Duponte. The proud owner explained that they liked their chances heading into the final of the Heritage Place.
"We were really confident," she stated. "Josue told us that he just kept getting better and better."
But nothing could prepare her and the entire team for the thrill of winning their first million dollar futurity.
"I don't know how to even begin to describe the feeling," stated Paredes.
Rob Werstler, TQHA racing director, was also elated with the victory of sale graduate Duponte. He shared some history on other nationally prominent Quarter Horses that were purchased at the TQHA Yearling Sale.
"Azoom won the Texas Classic Futurity (G1) when it was worth $1 million," said Werstler. "Oak Tree Special is also a sale grad, he won five Grade 1s and was named AQHA world champion as a 3-year-old."
With the victory in the Heritage Place Futurity, Duponte stands at the top of the 2016 AQHA money earners.
What's next for Duponte and his youthful brigade?
"The All American Futurity," said Paredes. "We will supplement him and plan to take him out to Ruidoso early to get him acclimated. Josue knows that is important."
But prior to trials in August, Parades and her dad will be front and center for the 2016 TQHA Yearling Sale, which will take place July 29-30 in the air-conditioned comfort of the Exposition Hall at the Freeman in San Antonio, Texas.
"We haven't studied the catalog yet," said Paredes. "But we are going back for sure and will probably buy several yearlings."
And thanks to the top money earner of 2016, the father-daughter duo have a few more dollars in their budget this year!
Blane Wood Quartet Heads to Sunday's $1 million Ruidoso Futurity
by Denis Blake
The Grade 1, $1 million Ruidoso Futurity presents quite a handicapping challenge, as nine of the 10 finalists are coming in off a victory in the trials run over a period of two days at Ruidoso Downs. Half of the field has only had a single start, while four of the others have two starts and just one horse has three. The upside on a race like this is that in contrast to many other races, there really are no horses you can confidently disregard, which means there should be some value here.
Morning line favorite A Revenant has a lot going for him – he’s a son of top sire Mr Jess Perry, had the second-fastest time on the first day of trials, has strong connections in trainer Mike Joiner and rider Cody Jensen, and he even attracted attention as a yearling when he sold for $152,000 at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. With that said, he is not a standout here and will have to deal with a quartet of runners from the powerful Blane Wood barn.
One of those four is my selection, #10 Jess Paint Ur Wagon. The filly has an edge over many in this field with two starts and as many wins, and the outside post position could help her avoid any trouble. Her sire, PYC Paint Your Wagon, has proven to be an excellent sire of 2-year-olds, and she is from the family of world champion Whosleavingwho. She also gets veteran rider Larry Payne in the irons, and at 10-1 on the morning line offers nice value.
Another Blane Wood runner with a big chance is #4 Ms Maggie Mae, a filly by One Famous Eagle who won her trial by 2 ¼ lengths. Ricky Ramirez rode all four of Wood’s qualifiers, and he ends up on this one in the final, so that’s a factor to consider.
While #3 A Revenant probably won’t offer great value, he is still a very strong contender here and should not be overlooked. Trainer Paul Jones will send out #9 One Hot Habit, who dominated her trial in her career debut.
Wrangler Racing Ace Denis Blake's Top Four Selections:
#10 Jess Paint Ur Wagon
#4 Ms Maggie Mae
#3 A Revenant
#9 One Hot Habit
Wrangler Racing Aces in June
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