Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Summer racing sizzles at Retama and Delta.

Summer racing sizzles at Retama and Delta.

Retama Heats Up for Major Racing Events in Big July
By Martha Claussen

It’s officially summer and the heat in on, both temperature wise and on the racetrack at Retama Park.  Their 20-day all Quarter Horse meet got underway on June 9 and so far, things have been going well.

“Our field sizes have been pretty good and we have seen some very competitive racing,” said James Leatherman, the track’s racing secretary.

He had some great news about several top level horses that will run in the weeks to come.

“We have the papers on Nymeria and it looks like she will run in trials for the TQHA Sale Futurity,” he said.

Bred by AQHA champion breeder Bobby D. Cox, Nymeria won the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity (G1) on June 3 at Remington Park. The daughter of Bigtime Favorite is trained by Josue Ponce for owner Alfredo Garza and is closing in on the half-million mark in career earnings. She is currently the No. 2-ranked 2-year-old on the weekly AQHA Racing National Poll.

Trials for the $400,000-estimated TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2) will be contested on July 14. The final, on Saturday, July 29, is part of a stakes-filled weekend, and will likely see 2014 world champion JRC Callas First back in action in the TQHA 550 Stakes.

“(Trainer) Brian Stroud is pointing JRC Callas First to the (550-yard) Tower of the Americas Stakes on June 3, which will be a prep for the TQHA 550 Stakes,” he said.

The 7-year-old Texas-bred broke his maiden at Retama Park on June 8, 2013, and has a very good record there, including titles in both the 2014 and 2015 TQHA 550 Stakes.

“We are looking forward to having JRC Callas First run here again,” said Leatherman. “Having a world champion run at your track is always exciting!”

Texas vs. Oklahoma Showdown in the Miss Polly Classic at Delta Downs
By Denis Blake

Even though the $50,000 Miss Polly Classic (G3) will be run Saturday at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana, it looks like a showdown between Texas and Oklahoma as seven of the eight runners hail from those states (the other is a Missouri-bred).

The 400-yard event is headlined by morning line favorite #7 Politically Corrupt, a Texas-bred who ships in after a solid victory in the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic Handicap (G2). The gelding has been remarkably consistent throughout his career with a record of 17-8-3-3, and he’s run well at Delta in the past with a win and a third in two starts. The Sam Houston Classic was his first start of 2017, so he should be fresh and ready to go with a six-week break between races. He’s likely to be a short price, but he appears to be tough to beat.

One of the best chances for the state of Oklahoma to prevail comes from #5 Brave Heart Won. Like the top selection, this gelding always seems to run his race and has hit the board in 10 of 13 career starts. He last out wasn’t great — a fourth-place run in the Develop A Plan Stakes (G3) at Delta — but that was his first start of the year and 350 yards was probably a bit too short for him. He is a proven Grade 1-caliber horse with third-place efforts in the Texas Classic and All American Derbies last year, so he looms a big threat to Politically Corrupt.

#8 Cobalt Creek, a Missouri-bred gelding by Walk Thru Fire, is an intriguing longshot at 10-1 on the morning line. Unlike the top choices, he has been a bit inconsistent but he clearly has the talent to win a race like this. He faced Grade 1 foes in two of his three starts last year, and he might have signaled that he’s coming up on a big race with a late-running second last time out in the Develop A Plan Stakes at Delta.

#4 Double Down only has two wins and doesn’t match up in terms of earnings, but he looks to be on the improve and comes from the barn of reigning champion trainer Judd Kearl. He just notched his first career stakes win in a 400-yard contest at Remington Park, so it would be no surprise to see him be a factor in this race.

Denis Blake’s Selections: 7-5-8-4

Wrangler Racing Aces in July
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, Arapahoe Park, SunRay Park, Delta Downs, Retama Park and Ruidoso Downs.

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.