Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Fifteen races on tap Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Fifteen races on tap Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Getting Creative When Previewing the First Trials of 2017
By Martha Claussen

Trials for the first official futurity of 2017 will take place Saturday at Louisiana Downs. There will be 14 heats with the 10 fastest qualifiers advancing to the $271,738 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) on March 18.  None of the 128 entrants have ever competed before, although some had the experience of a schooling race.

So, how can a handicapper make sense of these trials, and more importantly, have a profitable day?

Providing they get a good break and no issues from their less experienced rivals, schooling race winners are logical choices. These include JRS Natural Runaway (race 2); Sheza Diamond Diva (race 6) and Dashing Red Lexus (race 7).

Pedigree for first-time starters can be helpful. Top Louisiana stallions include Heza Fast Dash, Jess Louisiana Blue, Coronas Leaving You, Game Patriot and Jet Black Patriot.

Of course, trainer and jockey connections are very useful. Kenneth Roberts Sr. continues to be one of the leading horsemen in the Pelican State, and will saddle four juveniles on Saturday. Orlando Orozco took top honors in the 2016 Evangeline Downs meet and is the leading conditioner this meet in Shreveport.

David Alvarez was the top-ranked AQHA jockey by wins in 2016. He has 10 mounts on Saturday’s card. Damian Martinez won over 100 races last year, and has been very successful since joining the Louisiana circuit last spring. He and Everardo Rodriguez are currently tied as the jockey leaders at Louisiana Downs. Veterans John Hamilton and Raul Ramirez Jr. are also very capable. Rodriguez piloted 2016 Mardi Gras Futurity winner RDD Lajollanfastdash to victory in his trial win and, of course, the final.

If that information is just too daunting, consider hunch plays, as there appear to be plenty of interesting ones up for consideration. For football lovers, there is Nick Saban in the eighth race and Bear Bryant in race 10. Crimson Tide alumni will be thrilled with both highly regarded coaches.  Beyoncé followers might want to root for Mrs Queen Bee in the sixth.  For those who prefer brisk winter weather, there is Brrrrr in race 2. Lastly, I prefer not to categorize this one, but Skirt Chaser will debut in race 9; he is trained by Roberts and is 4-1 on the morning line.

Wishing the best of luck to each of the connections on this very busy day of racing!

Rematch in Mr Jess Perry Stakes
By Jonathan Horowitz

Saturday’s Mr Jess Perry Stakes at Louisiana Downs features a rematch of last year’s top-two finishers in the 350-yard, $25,000 stake for Louisiana-breds. Scoopies Leaving You held on as the 4-5 favorite from a closing Running Game Patriot in the Mr Jess Perry in 2016.

Scoopies Leaving You is a consistent 6-year-old brown horse with 15 wins, including eight in stakes races in Louisiana, and 28 top-three finishes in 35 lifetime starts for $287,290 in career earnings.  However, the Kevin Broussard-trainee ridden by Donald Watson has only won once in 10 starts since the 2016 Mr Jess Perry; he has been in the top-three in nine of those 10 races.

Running Game Patriot, who will have Donald Guynes aboard for trainer Brian Stroud, continues to try to find the winner’s circle for the first time in a stakes race. The 5-year-old bay gelding also seeks his first victory since October 2015.

Jes a Fast Dasher, the highest-earning horse in the field of nine with $429,759 in lifetime earnings, did not race in 2016 but returned with a flourish in his 2017 debut at Louisiana Downs on January 24. He closed from fifth to second, beaten a nose in a shorter 330-yard allowance race under regular rider Lucas Constantin. The 5-year-old gelding from trainer Kenneth Roberts’ barn won the $50,000 The Treme Derby at Fair Grounds and $217,000 Delta Downs Louisiana Bred Derby in 2015 and was second in the $1 million Louisiana QHBA Futurity (RG1) at Evangeline Downs in 2014.

Cute Mic Jagger defeated Jes a Fast Dasher in the allowance race on January 24 and has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Ridden by Raul Ramirez for trainer Miguel Rodriguez, the 4-year-old chestnut gelding went from winning a $10,000 claiming race to finishing second in the $275,000 Louisiana QHBA Derby at Evangeline Downs in 2016.

In addition to Cute Mic Jagger, the only other horse in the field coming off a win is Louisiana Legends, who captured a 300-yard allowance at Louisiana Downs on January 30. That was his first victory since a trial to the Delta Downs Louisiana Bred Derby in June 2015. Jes a Fast Dasher won the finals of that race.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top-Four Selections:
#2 Jes a Fast Dasher
#7 Scoopies Leaving You
#8 Cute Mic Jagger
#3 Running Game Patriot

Wrangler Racing Aces in February
Visit the Q-Racing page on Facebook or follow the Aces @AQHARacing 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, Louisiana Downs, Rillito Park, Sunland Park and Turf Paradise.

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.