Q-Racing Blog: No Words

Just when you think you've seen it all.

Quarter Racing Journal

Just when you think you've seen it all.

Amazing. Incredible. Unbelievable. Crazy. Ridiculous. Unreal. Wow.

Those are just some of the words used to describe the weekend of the $800,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) and the $1-million Ruidoso Futurity (G1).

There was a dead heat for the win in the Ruidoso Derby on Saturday and then, only 24-hours later, there was a dead heat for the win in the Ruidoso Futurity. Two dead heats in Grade 1 races on consecutive days.

Paragon Farms, LLC’s Tough To Bee and Ugo De La Torre’s Magical Jess finished in the Ruidoso Derby dead heat. Add to that incredible finish that High Plains Perry was a very short nose behind the two winners. It nearly was a triple dead heat.

Magical Jess and Tough To Bee raced the 400 yards in :19.925. High Plains Perry was timed in :19.927.

Tough To Bee started from the second post position while Magical Jess was next door in the three hole. High Plains Perry was on the outside in the eighth post position. Tough To Bee and Magical Jess raced stride-by-stride while High Plains Perry had plenty of racing room. The three horses were heads apart throughout most of the 400-yard dash. Then it went to the photo finish that took eight long minutes.

Everyone had an opinion. “The two horse.” “The three horse.” “No, the eight-horse got ‘em.”

I watched on the large television by the infield winner’s circle. I didn’t have a clue. Many others offered the same opinion.

Then two red lights went up on the tote, indicating a dead heat for the win. For several minutes, no horse numbers were placed by the shining red dots. The eight minutes of anxious patience ended when the two and three were placed by the red lights and the eight horse was third. Has there ever been a closer third-place finish?

Juan Medina’s Eagle Jazz and Melvin Neugebauer’s Uptown Dynasty then finished on even terms in the Ruidoso Futurity.

Eagle Jazz made an amazing run. He stumbled stepping away from the gate and his soon-to-be-important nose is nearing his knees. Fortunately, he was left a path to race. The strapping colt used all of the 350 yards to get up and get that nose on the wire at the same time as Uptown Dynasty’s nose. Uptown Dynasty had a nearly faultless trip, just drifting out while under right-handed urging.

Paul Smith started training at Ruidoso Downs in 1957. He said that he thought there was a triple dead heat for the win in an overnight race years ago. But, there has been nothing like this.

Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Fame member Cliff Lambert, who arrived at Ruidoso Downs in 1958 and was the jockey aboard the first All American Futurity winner Galobar in 1959, said he had never seen anything like it. Since he started training in the early 1960s, he has saddled more winners (Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred combined) than anybody in New Mexico racing history.

Nobody at Ruidoso Downs during the second weekend of June will ever forget. It was, well … pick your word.

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