Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Jetting to victory at Ruidoso Downs.

Jetting to victory at Ruidoso Downs.

Jockey Ricky Ramirez is looking forward to a successful August at Ruidoso Downs
By Martha Claussen

AQHA world champion Jessies First Down will certainly be the horse to beat in Saturday’s $50,000 Mr Jet Moore Handicap (G2) at Ruidoso Downs. Bred and owned by Ted Abrams, the 6-year-old gelded son of FDD Dynasty has been installed as the 2-1 morning line-favorite in the 400-yard feature.

He will face nine rivals, including one sitting on a major milestone, should he pull off the win.

Valeriano Racing Stables LLC’s Sam Crow will enter the starting gate with earnings of $980,677, and would eclipse the million-dollar-earnings mark with a victory in the race. Jockey Ricky Ramirez, who has ridden the Oklahoma-bred son of Valiant Hero in the majority of his 20 starts, will be back aboard Saturday afternoon.

“He’s a very good horse,” stated Ramirez. “His only issue is trouble leaving the gate, sometimes. (Trainer) Trey (Wood) has tried several different equipment changes, but even as a 5-year-old, we are still trying to figure him out!”

Ramirez piloted Sam Crow to victory in Remington Park’s Mr Jet Moore Stakes (RG3) last April. It was fellow rider (but no relation) Esgar Ramirez in the irons in the High Easter Jet Handicap on July 1. Sam Crow and Docs First Fire were both disqualified for interference.  Ricky escaped the melee in a front-running score on another Woods standout, Bodacious Eagle.

“I saw the replay and the break caused Sam Crow to get pushed,” said Ramirez. “If he gets out clean on Saturday, he has a chance.”

Born in Odessa, Texas, Ramirez was honored as AQHA champion jockey in 2015. He is enjoying another solid year, highlighted by a special milestone; his 1,000th career win at Remington Park on May 19. 

Hard-working and humble, Ramirez remains grateful for the faith that both Blane and Trey Wood have in him.

"They have really good owners who care about their horses," stated Ramirez. "Trey and I get along very well. Sometimes we butt heads, but nine out of 10 times, we are on the same page."
In two weeks, Ramirez will be riding a group of well-bred 2-year-olds in trials for the All American Futurity (G1).

“Blane said some of them are green, but he’s hoping they will peak come All American time,” said Ramirez.

If a few of the Wood trainees need a little more time to mature, look for them to make their way to Lone Star Park for the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1). Wood and Ramirez have teamed up with four champions in the Grade 1 event, beginning in 2010 with Bodacious Dash. They have won the last three editions of the closing-night feature at Lone Star Park, with High Plains Perry taking top honors last November.

“Trey has that one figured out!” acknowledged Ramirez.

Talented Field Set for the Mr Jet Moore Handicap
By Jennifer K. Hancock

Entering the final month of racing this summer at Ruidoso Downs, the New Mexico track offers a 10-race program on Saturday, August 5, with a mix of Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse races. The feature on Saturday’s card is the Grade 2 Mr Jet Moore Handicap. The stakes is named after Bob Moore’s homebred stallion, who was the 1972 world champion and the winner of the inaugural Champion of Champions (G1). The Mr Jet Moore is packed with talented runners, including a reigning world champion, a millionaire and a slew of stakes winners as well as stakes-placed runners.

For such an accomplished field of experienced runners, I find it interesting that four will be wearing flipping halters in the starting gates: Sam Crow, Docs First Fire, First Valiant Sign and Jessies First Down. While flipping halters are useful equipment to help avoid accidents in the gate, as a handicapper, I see the (FH) designation in the program as a red flag alerting me to horses that are or have become uncomfortable in the gate. When you need everything to be perfect at the start of Quarter Horse sprint, a flipping halter adds the potential for a delayed opening of the gate if a horse happens to set back at the start. Even with the possible distraction of a flipping halter, I couldn’t ignore the talents of my top selections.

No. 10 Jessies First Down is the reigning world champion and is a head shy of having a perfect record in 2017. After going 8-3-0 in 11 starts last year, the FDD Dynasty gelding reeled off two wins to begin his 2017 campaign and finished second by a head in the Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1). Listed as the morning line favorite at 2-1, he’ll break from Post 10 so he won’t have any traffic to his outside, which he should be able to parlay into a victory.

No. 6 Docs First Fire has finished first or second in his last five outs. The 6-year-old Walk Thru Fire gelding ran second in the Higheasterjet Handicap at Ruidoso last month, but got DQ’ed to ninth. He has qualified to some tough stakes in the past and should show some grit in the Mr Jet Moore, as he didn’t waste any energy qualifying in a trial.

No. 4 Sam Crow hasn’t finished off the board in his four starts this year, but he was DQ’ed to 10th after crossing the wire third in the Higheasterjet Handicap last month at Ruidoso. The consistent gelded son of Valiant Hero has hit the board in 17 of 20 lifetime starts and should be in the money again on Saturday.

Millionaire No. 9, First Valiant Sign, is making his first start of 2017 after finishing fifth behind Jessies First Down in the Championship at Sunland Park. Champion jockey G.R. Carter Jr., who rode First Valiant Sign to victory in the Texas Classic Derby (G1) last year, will get the most out of the 4-year-old Valiant Hero gelding.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer K. Hancock’s Selections for the Mr Jet Moore:
No. 10 Jessies First Down
No. 6 Docs First Fire
No. 4 Sam Crow
No. 9 First Valiant Sign

Wrangler Racing Aces in August
Visit the @AQHARacing page on Facebook or follow the Aces 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, Ruidoso Downs, The Downs at Albuquerque, Canterbury Park and Indiana Grand.

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.