Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Great weekend on tap in both Intermountain and The Mountain areas.

Great weekend on tap in both Intermountain and The Mountain areas.

Off and Running at Wyoming Downs
By Jennifer K. Hancock

Wyoming gained statehood in 1890 as the 44th state and is known as the Equality State for being the first state to give women the right to vote. In the far southwestern corner of the state – some 356 miles west of the state’s capital in Cheyenne – sits Evanston, Wyoming, which is the home of Wyoming Downs and summer racing.

Wyoming Downs kicked off its 2017 race meet June 24 and offers weekend racing through August 13, drawing horses and horsemen from throughout the Intermountain Region. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. MDT with first post at 1:05 p.m. MDT on a Saturday-Sunday schedule for the eight-race programs.
Racing only in July last year, the track nearly doubled its race days this year, thanks in part to historical racing machines now operating at the track.

The 2017 meet features both American Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing. Wyoming Downs kicked off its stakes schedule on opening day with the Inaugural Handicap, a 6-furlong stakes for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds and older. Yireo Juarez rode Speedin With Eddie, who is owned and trained by Shaun Story, for the first stakes win of the meet. 

Five more Thoroughbred stakes are planned for the summer, including the July 2 Parker Speed Handicap, the July 23 Hank Mills Handicap for fillies and mares, the July 29 Wyoming Downs Thoroughbred Futurity, the July 30 Wyoming Downs Thoroughbred Derby and the August 13 Au Revoir Handicap.

The Bear River Handicap at 870 yards gave Quarter Horses their first stakes opportunity at Wyoming Downs on June 25. With C.J. Benn in the irons, El Rey Buccaneer finished a half-length in front of the field to win the Bear River Handicap from Post 5. The Utah-bred gelded son of Buccaneer Beach is trained by Glade Van Tassell and owned by Jeffrey Smith.

Ten more American Quarter Horse stakes are planned for the meet. Next up for the sprinters is the Governor’s Cup at 300 yards on July 1. The other stakes scheduled for Quarter Horses are the July 8 Wyoming-bred Futurity, the July 9 Wyoming-bred Derby, the July 15 Utah-bred Futurity, the July 16 89 and under, the August 5 Wyoming Downs/Renagade Sports Derby, the August 5 Wyoming Downs 870 Handicap, the August 6 Don Pedro Dash, the August 13 Gary Waite Maiden Stakes and the August 13 Wyoming Downs Futurity.

Taking a look at the jockey and trainer standings for 2016 at Wyoming Downs gives some insight into the current meet.

Last year, jockey Oscar Cervantes won at a 22 percent clip and hit the board 54 percent of the time. Cervantes rode nine winners from 41 races. He also finished second in seven races and third in six races. Cervantes earned $46,693 last July. Jockey Uriel Dominguez rode in 46 races last season, winning eight races, finished second 12 times and third five times. He earned $39,095 last year at Wyoming Downs and won at a 17 percent clip and finished in the money in 54 percent of his starts.
This year, C.J. Benn is off to a hot start. In just five starts, the jockey has won three races including a stakes. Benn is winning at a 60 percent rate.

In 2016, Chancey Spencer led all trainers at Wyoming Downs with a 7-12-4 record from 41 starts. Spencer saddled the earners of $38,531 last summer at the Evanston track. His trainees were winning at a 17 percent clip and were in the money 56 percent of the time. Chad Giles finished second in the trainer standings last July with a record of 3-4-1 from 19 starts. His runners earned $25,440, while winning 16 percent of his starts and finishing in the money 42 percent of the time.
Glade Van Tassell is leading all trainers this meet with three wins from four starts, which is a 75 percent win rate.

Wyoming Downs kicked off the meet with a Youth Racing Experience and Legislative Day. Both events were designed to educate about the many economic opportunities available at the track and created by horse racing.

The track has many events planned for the 2017 summer meet including live music, the Bet on Business Bazaar, Lady’s Day at the Races, Brew Fest, Freedom Rally and a car show. Kids 12 years old or younger are admitted for free, and kids’ activities will be held throughout the meet.
For the latest news and information on Wyoming Downs, visit wydowns.com.

Maxx Leads the Field in the $48,510 Ruidoso Adequan Derby
By Martha Claussen

One of the qualifying events for the 2017 Bank of America Challenge Championships will take place Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs. Ten qualifiers from trials run on June 17 will compete for the opportunity to advance to the $180,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Prairie Meadows on October 14.

Maxx, owned by Irma Vargas of Grand Prairie, Texas, posted the fastest qualifying time, winning his trial in :19.555. The Oklahoma-bred son of PYC Paint Your Wagon is no stranger to stakes success. He won the 2016 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge and qualified for the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity last November at Lone Star Park. Now in the barn of 2016 AQHA champion trainer Judd Kearl, Maxx will break from Post 3 under Jose Alvarez.

Conditioner Tammy Kay Johnson will saddle two finalists for the 400-yard final, and both are solid contenders. Melissa Slayton and Cody Bowling own #10 Born To Be Bad, a Freighttrain B gelding who ran third to Maxx in his trial. He has a good record at Ruidoso and drew the far outside post position under jockey Raul Ramirez Jr. The skilled veteran shifted bases to Ruidoso Downs this summer and scored a huge win two weeks ago, guiding 19-1 longshot Tough To Bee to the dead-heat win in the $800,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1).

#7 Rock About It is Johnson’s other entrant, and posted the third-fastest qualifying time. Jockey Benito Baca rode both 3-year-olds in trials and opted for Rock About It in the final. Sired by Rock Solid Jess, he has won three of his six starts at 400 yards, and he and Maxx are the only two in the field with wins at that distance. To see the silks of Rockin J Running Horses in the winner’s circle would be no surprise, as this gelding goes for his fourth victory of the year.

Trainer Wes Giles is having an excellent meet at Ruidoso; currently second in the standings. He also has two runners in this final: #4 Just A Little Wagon and a longshot that appears to be headed in the right direction, #2 Riverside Revolution. The son of Louisiana Senator has only made six lifetime starts and is still a maiden. He posted a career-high speed index running as a first-time gelding in his trial and could be on the right path. At 30-1, why not include him in exotic wagers?

The Ruidoso Adequan Derby will run as Saturday’s sixth race, with an approximate post time of 3:10 pm (MT).  Good luck to all!

Martha Claussen’s Selections:
#3 Maxx
#10 Born To Be Bad
#7 Rock About It
#2 Riverside Revolution

Wrangler Racing Aces in July
Wrangler Racing Ace Jennifer Hancock will be onsite at Wyoming Downs on Saturday, July 1, and Sunday, July 2, with fan education services and a free tip sheet for fans. She will conduct a free handicapping seminar in the Grandstand both days at noon.

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, Albuquerque Downs, Retama Park, Delta Downs 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.