Wrangler Racing Aces Blog
Opening day for two tracks on September 10.
By Jonathan Horowitz and Martha Claussen | September 7, 2016
By Jonathan Horowitz
At the end of episodes of the 1980s television series The A-Team that later inspired a movie with the same title, main character John “Hannibal” Smith used to light up a cigar, flash his distinctive wry smile, and exclaim, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Sibling trainers Kasey and Kevin Willis likely felt the same way at the end of the 2015 season at Will Rogers Downs. “The K-Team” swept the three stakes races held at the Claremore, Oklahoma track’s final day of the meet.
Kasey saddled Bye Byefreighttrain to victory in the $173,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity (RG3) and Cartel Rosie in the $66,000 Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Derby (R). Kevin won the biggest prize of all with First Sweet Midnite in the $310,000 Black Gold 440 Championship Futurity (RG3).
A new episode begins on Saturday as Will Rogers Downs kicks off a 28-day season with racing for Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning at 12 p.m. Central each racing day. The opening day card features trials to the Black Gold 350 Futurity (RG3) with the $303,000 finals scheduled for September 25. Dynamite 123 ridden by Mario Delgado for trainer Clinton Crawford pulled off a 57-1 upset in the Black Gold 350 Futurity in 2015.
Saturday’s 11 trials over 350-yards have attracted 103 2-year-olds. Sweet Annie GL, the runner-up in both the $1,083,420 Heritage Place Futurity on June 4 and the $420,000 Oklahoma Futurity on March 26 at Remington Park, is entered in the 10th trial. Widows Devil, third in the Heritage Place Futurity as a maiden, seeks his first career win in the second trial. Heritage Place Futurity finalists Kiss My Heineken and B Double U face off in the fourth trial.
The opening weekend will also include two 350-yard trials for the Pot O Gold Futurity for Paints and Appaloosas on Sunday. Phq Goodbye Earl, who is entered in the second trial, won the $104,200 PSBA American Paint Classic Futurity on April 30 and the $239,400 Speedhorse Graham Paint and Appaloosa Futurity on June 4 at Remington Park.
Will Rogers Downs will host the final Bank of America Challenge Championship regionals in the Adequan Derby, John Deere Juvenile, and Distance divisions on October 9. The 2016 season will culminate with the Black Gold 440 Championship Futurity and the Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity and Derby on November 12.
New Mexico Racing Circuit Shifts to Zia Park
By Martha Claussen
The excitement of the 2016 All American Futurity (G1) and All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs is still fresh in the minds of Quarter Horse racing fans across the country. The New Mexico circuit makes a quick shift to Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico, on Saturday, September 10, with a full slate of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse action set for their 56-day live season.
The feature for Saturday's card is the $40,500 Socorro County Dash, at a distance of 350 yards for New Mexico-bred Quarter Horses.
The high earner in the field is the multiple graded stake winner Cinco Menudos. Sired by Jesse James Jr, he has won 11 of his 22 starts, amassing career earnings of $342,887. While several of his stakes wins have come at the classic distance of 440 yards, he has a solid record at 350 yards and should be prominent under jockey Jaime Leos.
Trainer Tony Sedillo, still basking in the glory of winning the All American Futurity with Imperial Eagle, will saddle Jess Got Issues. The 6-year-old son of Jesse James Jr will make his first start since last December at Sunland Park. He has a solid record at Zia with three wins from seven starts and only has faced defeat once in five starts at the distance of 350-yards. An added bonus is that jockey Esgar Ramirez will pilot the gray gelding. Ramirez had an amazing weekend at Ruidoso, scoring the All American Derby-Futurity double aboard EC Jet One and Imperial Eagle.
Seeyalateralligator will be looking for his first win since February 15, 2015, but the 4-year-old son of Winners Version has plenty of back class. He ran second in the $392,000 Zia Futurity in 2014 and should improve in his third start this year for trainer Wes Giles.
I'll round out the superfecta with Royally Cute, 4-year-old Sixes Royal gelding who shortens up from his fourth-place finish in the $50,000 Zia Handicap on July 31. Jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr., fresh off his victory in last weekend's $323,488 LQHBA Sale Futurity (RG1) at Fair Grounds aboard RDD Lajollanfastdash, will ride.
Post time for the opening day card is set for 12:15 p.m. (MDT). For more information on the upcoming stakes and other events, visit www.ziaparkcasino.com.
Wrangler Racing Ace Martha Claussen's Top Four Selections:
#6 Cinco Menudos
#4 Jess Got Issues
#8 Royally Cute
Wrangler Racing Aces in September
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, Will Rogers Downs, Indiana Grand and Zia Park.
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.