Q-Racing Blog: Fresh Air

Heading to Colorado and Wyoming.

Heading to Colorado and Wyoming.

The contribution through the decades of horses and horsemen from the Intermountain region – fundamentally, Utah and Idaho – along with racing in Colorado at Centennial Turf Club have provided part of the foundation for current American Quarter Horse racing.

Now many of the horses in the Intermountain area race during the summer at Wyoming Downs. Arapahoe Park has replaced Centennial.

This upcoming week, on July 15, major races of the meet are being held at those tracks. The Lucille Rowe Derby and the Cherry Creek Futurity, each for Colorado-breds, are on tap at Arapahoe Park. The Utah-Bred Futurity will be held at Wyoming Downs.

Legendary horsemen and current leading trainers brought their horses from the Intermountain area and into national prominence. Blane Schvaneveldt and his wife, Shirley, headed to Los Alamitos with a string of horses primarily supplied by Ivan Ashment. Schvaneveldt is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all-time) and now the national champion trainer award from AQHA is named after him. Coming into this year, Schvaneveldt is still the all-time leading trainer of winners (3,982 wins) while Paul Jones is next with 3,502 wins. Trainer John Cooper came from the Intermountain area and is fourth on the list at 1,403 wins. Schvaneveldt and Cooper were the first two trainers to pass 1,000 wins at Los Alamitos.

The next generation of Intermountain-born trainers continues the tradition. Wes Giles, whose father, Ed, is still an icon in the Intermountain region, is now a top trainer on the New Mexico circuit. Wes has won several million-dollar races, including last year’s Ruidoso Futurity (G1) with Apolltical Chad.

Utah native Judd Kearl is the defending winner of the Blane Schvaneveldt Champion Trainer Award.

Idaho-native Bret Vickery trained Dennie and Kris Hill’s AB What A Runner to three championship titles.

Centennial, which was located south of Denver in Littleton, provided some of the best Quarter Horse racing. D. Wayne Lukas would ship in for futurities and derbies. The first time I saw Easy Jet was at Centennial. Other horses to compete at the Colorado track were Go Man Go, Jet Deck, Come Six, Tonto Bars Hank, Bar None Doll, Flick Bar, Jet Deck Junior and local favorite Jolly Jet Deck. There are more.

Centennial opened on July 4, 1950, after pari-mutuel racing was approved in Colorado in 1948. The first simulcast wagering from another track in the United States was held at Centennial when 10,000 fans showed up and could bet on the 1981 Kentucky Derby.

Centennial closed in 1983. Arapahoe Park raced for one year in 1984 and then closed until 1992. Arapahoe Park has been racing since then and has always faced stiff competition from greyhound racing.

In the $55,000-est. Lucille Rowe Derby, the top qualifier is Hugo Sierra Barron’s homebred Shes My Foose, and in the $74,425 Cherry Creek Futurity, the fastest qualifier is Mariano Cornejo’s Indomable Cartel.

Shes My Foose won her maiden two starts ago at Arapahoe Park. In her Lucille Rowe Derby trial, the daughter of Foose won a close battle with Rarest Ivory. However, Rarest Ivory was disqualified and placed fourth. Shes My Foose, trained by Jose Manuel Barron, still made the derby finals with the sixth-fastest time.

Indomable Cartel, a son of The Louisiana Cartel, stepped up with a 1 3/4-length trial win in :17.059 for the 330 yards in the first of four trials. The Luz Chavira-trained Indomable Cartel was fourth in his career debut and then disqualified from the win in a maiden race. The Cherry Creek Futurity trial was his third career start.

Leave Arapahoe Park and drive north on I-25, then west on I-80 and you’ll find Wyoming Downs. If you see a “Welcome to Utah” sign, you’ve gone too far. If you had attended Wyoming Downs when the iconic track manager/owner/innovator Joe Joyce owned it – beginning in the late 1960’s – his son Mike may have parked your car. Mike is now a veteran at TVG.

In the Utah-Bred Futurity, The Five Barkers’ homebred Miss Five Bar Maid won the second of five trials by one-half length in :17.681 for 350 yards. The One Dashing Eagle-sired filly won her maiden in her third start and then won her Utah-Bred Futurity trial. This is the immediate female family of 2013 champion 2-year-old colt Five Bar Cartel ($1,068,825).

The cliché states: “A runner can come from anywhere.” Many runners and successful trainers have come from these areas.

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