Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

It's Mardi Gras time in Louisiana.

It's Mardi Gras time in Louisiana.

Stars Will Emerge From Early Futurities at Louisiana Downs
By Martha Claussen

The $271,738 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2), the first official test for 2-year-old Quarter Horses, will be held on Saturday, March 18 at Harrah's Louisiana Downs.

The fastest qualifier from 15 trials run on February 25 was Sir Edward L Perry. The son of Sir Runaway Dash, bred by the late Leverne Perry was purchased as a weanling in the 2015 LQHBA Fall Mixed Sale for a mere $2,000. The winner’s share of the purse is $122,282, so owner Filimon Saucedo would have a six-figure return on his investment!

Bettors cannot dismiss Sir Edward L Perry in the final. However, trainer Jose Sanchez qualified three fillies, including second-fastest qualifier, Shesa Diamond Diva. His son, Eddie Sanchez will ride.

Jockey Francisco Calderon picked up the mount on Blue Eyed Fance, the daughter of leading Louisiana stakes winning sire Jess Louisiana Blue. The third of Sanchez’ finalists is TTT Kas, who will be ridden by Raul Ramirez, Jr., who is no stranger to winning big money races.

One other juvenile worth a long look is Cos I Get It, a son of Tee Cos, who has been producing some very fast runners. He is trained by Eusevio Huitron, and Damian Martinez, the current leading rider at Louisiana Downs, will ride.

Last year’s winner, RDD Lajollanfastdash was no “one hit wonder.” Bred by Richard “Dale” Domingue, the son of Heza Fast Dash out of the Streakin La Jolla mare La Jollan Queen, had a stellar year, qualifying to each of the four major futurities in Louisiana. He won his second futurity of the year at Fair Grounds in August, completing 2016 with a record of six wins from eight starts and earnings of $403,498.

“He was a very intelligent baby and stayed sound,” said Domingue. “You have to begin training so early for the first futurity that there may not be a lot of success afterwards.”

But that certainly was not the case for RDD Lajollanfastdash or Duponte, last year’s winner of the $257,700 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity.  Bred by AQHA champion breeder Bobby D. Cox, the son of American Runaway won the Grade 3 final at Louisiana Downs, shipped to Remington Park, where he won the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity (G1). Cox, who co-owns Duponte with the Paredes family, saw their charge compete in trials for the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs and run second in the Dash For Cash Futurity (G2) at Lone Star Park.

So enjoy the talent in this year’s Mardi Gras Futurity on Saturday as well as the Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity which is set for Wednesday, March 22, which is the final day of the Louisiana Downs Quarter Horse meet. Chances are you will see another highly talented juvenile who will make an impact in the months to come!

Competitive Final Set for the First Futurity of the Year
By Jonathan Horowitz

Based on the times of the trial races, the first Quarter Horse futurity in the United States in 2017 could be quite competitive.  Just 0.132 seconds – the equivalent of less than one length – separated the fastest and tenth-fastest qualifiers for the 300-yard, $271,738 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) for Louisiana-breds at Louisiana Downs.

Sir Edward L Perry and jockey Luis Vivanco posted the quickest 300-yard time of :15.595 seconds in the 10th of 14 trials on February 25.  The bay gelding tied second-fastest qualifier Shesa Diamond Diva for the largest trials margin of victory of two lengths. Sir Edward L Perry’s performance came as somewhat of a shock as a 14-1 longshot.  He is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the finals breaking from the inside.

On the other hand, Shesa Diamond Diva’s eye-catching trials win in :15.607 came as an even-money favorite on the heels of a two-length victory in a 220-yard training race at Louisiana Downs on February 3.  The gray filly ridden by Eddie Sanchez is one of three that trainer Jose Sanchez qualified for the finals along with TTT Kas and Blue Eyed Fance.

JRS Natural Runaway, who also impressed in the February 3 training races with the fastest 220-yard time of 12.173 seconds, made the Mardi Gras finals as the third-fastest qualifier. The gray colt’s trial win came by a more measured three-quarter lengths under jockey Randy Edison.

Jockey Raul Ramirez Jr., who will pilot Jose Sanchez-trained finalist TTT Kas, has won two of the last three Mardi Gras Futurities.  Ramirez and RDD Lajollanfastdash catapulted to a 2 1/2-length victory as a 2-5 favorite in 2016. The jockey also reached the winner’s circle with 11-1 longshot Hemps Jumpn Lajolla in 2014. TTT Kas is a full-sister to Delta Downs’ 2015 Louisiana Breeders’ Laddie Futurity (RG2) finalist TTT Kas Baby Said So.

Jose Sanchez’ third finalist, bay filly Blue Eyed Fance, is a half-sister to 2006 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) winner This Snow Is Cold.

Because the trial times were close and with how young the 2-year-olds just starting their racing careers are, it may be worth picking a potential longshot.  Given the jockey’s history in the race, TTT Kas looks enticing at 12-1 morning-line odds breaking from the outside.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top-Four Selections:

#10 TTT Kas
#9 Shesa Diamond Diva
#7 JRS Natural Runaway
#1 Sir Edward L Perry

Wrangler Racing Aces in March
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, Turf Paradise and Remington Park.

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.