All American: Strong Hand

Wes Giles has a strong All American hand.

Quarter Racing Journal

Uptown Dynasty will likely be one of the race favorites. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Racing is always a gamble, but Wes Giles holds a strong hand in the $3 million All American Futurity (G1) on Monday. The trainer will saddle two starters, Uptown Dynasty and fastest qualifier Bigg Daddy, in American Quarter Horse racing’s signature event.

“I think I have a couple of good horses in there,” said Giles, who has conditioned the earners of more than $19.8 million. “But I also know there are some other really nice horses in it.”

Uptown Dynasty qualified fourth-fastest to the All American Futurity (G1). Never worse than second – and that only twice in six races – Uptown Dynasty has a career record of 6-4 (1)-2 (1)-0 for earnings of $487,800.

“He’s really nice to train,” Giles said. “He comes back playful. He likes to show off a little bit in the post parade, but so far, when he gets to the gate, the horse has been automatic. He’s been in the zone, and when they get in that zone, the question is how long will they stay there? It’s sure nice when they get in it.”

A bay gelding by Mr Jess Perry, Uptown Dynasty is one of three winners and the first stakes winner from four starters out of the FDD Dynasty mare Ms Southern Dynasty, a stakes-winning earner of $90,028. Uptown Dynasty also is one of seven stakes winners, eight other winners and the earners of more than $1.73 million from 31 starters bred by Sam W. Green of Monett, Missouri. Green’s richest starter to date is Grade 1 winner Priceless Feature ($641,668, by Feature Mr Jess), a half-brother to Uptown Dynasty’s dam, Ms Southern Dynasty. Uptown Dynasty was purchased at the 2016 Heritage Place Yearling Sale for $65,000 by Melvin Neugebauer of Manzanola, Colorado.

Uptown Dynasty finished second in his first start, an April 7 maiden race at Sam Houston Race Park, before joining the Giles barn at Ruidoso. He then stepped forward with a 1 1/4-length win while facing an 8-mph headwind in the May 26 trials to the Ruidoso Futurity (G1).

With Cipria Vidana in the irons, Uptown Dynasty dead-heated with Eagle Jazz for the win in the $1 million Ruidoso final on June 11, where the two were clocked in :17.537 over the 350 yards.

Uptown Dynasty next won his July 8 trial to the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and then, with Larry Payne up, was second to Eagle Jazz in the $1 million Rainbow final on July 23. That’s where the record between the two will stand for now: Eagle Jazz scored by 4 lengths in a non-qualifying :21.957 in the 13th of 14 All American trials on August 19, while Vidana that same day rode Uptown Dynasty to win the third heat by a length and qualify fourth-fastest in :21.802.

“Uptown Dynasty has run good every time, so far,” Giles said. “He’s run six races and he’s run guts out every time. So far, he’s been an iron horse. I don’t think a horse can run in all three (triple crown futurities) and win all three. Of course, he didn’t win both of the first ones, but he came really close. But here he is in the final again. No other horse has run in all three, and that says a lot on how tough this horse.”

In an odd twist, the day before Uptown Dynasty and Eagle Jazz scored their dead-heat wins in the Ruidoso Futurity, the older horses did the same with a dead-heat in the $800,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1). Eagle Jazz and Uptown Dynasty’s win was the second dead heat in the Ruidoso Futurity, where Okey Dokey Fantasy and Saint Shackleton finished on even terms in 2006. Uptown Dynasty gave Neugebauer and Giles their second consecutive wins in the Ruidoso Futurity.

Last year, Giles sent out Apolltical Chad to win the Ruidoso and light the board in the All American for Nueve Racing, of which Neugebauer was part. Giles also became the second trainer to win consecutive Ruidoso derbies, a feat accomplished by Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Famer Carl Draper with Heartswideopen and Jess Significant in 2007-08.

Bigg Daddy. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

And then there’s the fastest qualifier. A sorrel gelding by Big Daddy Cartel, Bigg Daddy is one of nine winners and the second stakes winner from 14 starters out of the First Down Dash mare Alice K White, who was the sport's champion 3-year-old filly in 2009. Alice K White is the dam of the earners of more than $832,000, including the Jesse James Jr mare Astica, who was the champion sophomore filly in 2015. Bigg Daddy's second dam, the Lanes Leinster mare Champagne Lane, won the 1996 Diamond Classic Futurity (RG1) in Wyoming.

Bigg Daddy is one of 28 stakes winners and the earners of more than $12.1 million bred since 2001 by Mac and Dr. Janis Spencer Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico. Sold for $25,000 at last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, Bigg Daddy is owned by Too For Too of Vado, New Mexico. Including Neugebauer, Too For Too comprises nine members, most of whom also were in Nueve Racing. They’ve got a nice horse.

“Bigg Daddy is pretty much a professional, most of the time,” Giles said. “He’s pretty nice to handle and just does his business. He used to look around a little bit, when we first started out with him, but ever since he’s starting running, he’s done really good.”

Bigg Daddy was a finalist in the 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) on April 8 at Sunland Park, and finished third in the 350-yard Mountain Top Futurity (RG3) on June 17 at Ruidoso. After the Mountain Top, Giles put G.R. Carter Jr. in the saddle for the July 15 trials to the Zia Futurity (RG3), and Bigg Daddy has gone undefeated since, with a three-quarter-length score in the Zia trials and a half-length decision in the $370,000 Zia. With a career record of 7-4 (1)-1-1(1) $211,418, the gelding comes into the All American as the fastest qualifier off a 2 1/2-length score in :21.611 on the second day of the August 18-19 trials.

“Bigg Daddy’s had trouble with the racetrack surface – he’ll overpower sometimes, which causes him to lug out because he’s powering with one leg more than the other,” Giles said. “He’s not so much as lugging on the bit as he’s just powering out on the racetrack. It cost him one futurity, the Mountain Top, where he came out of the gate and went clear over against the fence, and that at least cost us a place. So we’ve had a little struggle with him that way, but we’ve seem to have gotten it out the last couple of races. He’s been pretty good lately.”

Now Giles holds a pretty good hand for the All American.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” he said. “There is one mare in there that is a big-time closer: Fly Baby Fly. I’ve never seen that kind of speed before on the end of a race. She’ll win by 2 or 3 lengths, just passing horses like they’re not even running – incredible on the end. She worries me. Well, they all worry me. But I think we’ll do OK.”

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