Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Good tidings from Colorado and Indiana this week.
By Jonathan Horowitz and Martha Claussen | June 23, 2016
Wrangler Racing Aces
|Ramiro Garcia aboard Air Force Won.
PHOTO: Coady Photography
Colorado Jockey Off to Running Start
By Jonathan Horowitz
First-year jockey Ramiro Garcia had two mounts at Arapahoe Park on June 15, 2014. In an allowance race at the beginning of the card, Garcia’s mount Just On Fire began bucking after leaving the starting gates and never finished the race. But later in the card—following legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi’s dictum, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up”—Garcia won his first-ever stakes race aboard 28-1 outsider Toshi Yoshi in the $74,935 Cherry Creek Futurity. It was a big break for the young jockey from Greeley, Colorado, and Garcia hasn’t turn back since.
“I remember when we first started at [trainer] Manuel Orozco’s house, we started galloping that horse,” Garcia said. “He was a little slow learner. In the trial, we got third. In his next works, he started doing better, and his mind was getting set on running. … I couldn’t believe it. It was very exciting.”
Garcia, who said he is the first in his family to be involved in horse racing, became Arapahoe Park’s leading Quarter Horse jockey in his debut year with 13 wins and $178,733 in earnings from 65 starts in 2014.
“At the beginning, I was just excited winning races,” he said. “Thanks to Manuel Orozco with Toshi Yoshi, we just started from there.”
The 28-year-old is currently tied with fellow young prospect Alfredo Triana Jr. at the top of the Arapahoe Park Quarter Horse jockey standings this year with eight victories. Garcia piloted California shipper Air Force Won to a victory in the $36,810 Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge on June 4 by two lengths.
“That was the greatest feeling,” Garcia said. “Sometimes you can see me smiling in the [win] picture because it feels so good that you’re getting away from everybody.”
With the win, Air Force Won earned a berth to the 2016 Bank of America Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos Race Course on October 29. Air Force Won and Garcia are entered in Friday’s trials to the Rocky Mountain Derby at Arapahoe Park. And Garcia will be aboard the horse that started it all for him, Toshi Yoshi, in Sunday’s Leo Beau Dash Stakes at the track in his home state.
PHOTO: Linscott Photography
Competitive Field of Fillies and Mares Assembled for the Indiana Grand Classic
by Martha Claussen
The Indiana Grand live racing season is in full stride and their Quarter Horse races always boast full fields and plenty of excitement. Saturday night's feature is the sixth running of the $40,000 Indiana Grand Classic for fillies and mares, competing at 400 yards.
Top choice for me is the high money-earner in the field, Alejando Medina's Mavara Vegas. The 4-year-old daughter of FDD Dynasty was a star last year, winning both the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby and the QHRA of Indiana Derby. Her record was three wins from four starts last season. She is winless in 2016, but has faced tough stakes company at Hialeah and Remington Park, running a credible fourth in the Junos Request to This Candys Awesome. I believe the return to Indy Grand will bode well for this talented mare, who has earned $137,649 to date.
Another horse to watch is #1 Scandalia. a First Prize Perry mare bred by Bobby D. Cox, who is the leading AQHA breeder for 2016. She is trained by Joe Davis and will ridden by the meet's current top-ranked Indy Grand jockey, Rolando Pina. Scandalia exits an allowance win, and looks well-prepared for her 2016 stakes debut.
Several of these runners had a less than productive outcome in the Born Runner Classic, won by Indiana star Beach Cartel on Saturday, May 28. #6 Beach Birde, #7 Beach Runner and #8 DNA Dales Quick Cat were part of a multiple-horse squeeze out of the starting gate with Beach Birde impeded a second time once she got clear. With a clean trip, any of the three are capable of hitting the board. Beach Birde, a daughter of Escondido Beach, is now in the barn of top Indiana Grand horseman, Randy Smith. She has the best record at the distance of 400 yards.
If you are in the Indianapolis area on Saturday, take the short drive to Shelbyville as there will be plenty of entertainment offered. Indiana Grand is hosting the third annual World Jockey Challenge with 10 countries represented in this year’s event, including Brazil, Panama, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ireland and the United States. In addition to the World Jockey Challenge, International Fest will feature numerous samplings from some of the countries represented at the outdoor food venues. Brazilian Carnival Dancers will provide entertainment between races and four foreign-made cars will be on display, including two Mazeratis, an Alfa Romeo and a Ferrari. The evening will also include Family Fun Night activities such as face painting, a caricature artist, a bounce house and strolling entertainment.
Both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races at Indiana Grand are now streamed on Q-Video.
Wrangler Racing Ace Martha Claussen's Top Four Selections:
#2 Mavara Vegas
#6 Beach Birde
#7 Beach Runner
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Wrangler Racing Aces in June
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.
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