Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

Star power at Sun Downs.

Star power at Sun Downs.

Hanson Family Has a Strong Contender in Long Lost Buddy
By Martha Claussen

Long Lost Buddy will be in pursuit of his fifth consecutive win this Saturday in the $50,760 Adequan Sun Downs Derby Challenge at Sun Downs. Idaho-based trainer Mark Hanson is downright amazed at that statistic after what could have been a tragic start for the California-bred son of Favorite Cartel.

“We purchased him for $28,000 at the Heritage Place Sale and brought him back to the farm,” explained Hanson. “My brother, Ryan and I were at Lone Star getting ready for the 2015 Bank of America Challenge and got a call from our dad, Jim that ‘Buddy’ had jumped out of his stall and was running loose.”

Amazingly, Long Lost Buddy, owned by the Hanson family’s Pocatello, Idaho, RTM Stables, in partnership with Ben McKinney and Richard Gardner, suffered no damage from his escapade. Hanson attributes that to the gelding’s sheer athleticism.

“He’s a pretty special horse, and a little bit quirky,” added Hanson. “We had to do things slowly with him, but found him to be a very quick learner.  On the track, he puts 110 percent into each work and race and comes back exhausted because he tries so hard!”

Despite his less than auspicious beginning, Hanson is high on Long Lost Buddy, and assesses that his talent rivals that of Ynot Walk, who won eight career starts, including the 2015 Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) for the Hanson family and co-owned George Weldon.

“Buddy is a big, long-striding runner, but has a quick turn of foot,” Hanson said. “We think he will enjoy 440 yards in the future.”

The Hanson family had success in past editions of the Bank of America Challenge. In 2013, JR Dynasty Mountain took top honors in the $202,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G2), and Honoroso captured the $100,000 Red Cell Distance Challenge Championship (G1). They were well-represented in the 2015 Bank of America Challenge at Lone Star Park with Ynot Walk, Betrothen, Pappas In The House and Sign Of Corona. While none emerged victorious in their respective Challenge championships, Jim was honored as the leading trainer and their rider, Eddie Aceves topped the Wrangler jockey points division.

Hanson is hopeful that Long Lost Buddy and several stablemates will win their regional Challenge races and make it to this year’s Bank of America Challenge Championships on October 14 at Prairie Meadows.

“Prairie Meadows is a first-class racetrack,” stated Hanson. “We ran there in 2012 and 2014 and were really pleased with the welcoming atmosphere. Several of our 2-year-olds are paid into the Valley Junction Futurity (also on October 14), so we are looking forward to their meet.”

Road to Adequan Derby Challenge Starts at Sun Downs
By Jonathan Horowitz

The first spot in the starting gate for the 2017 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship will be filled on Saturday in the regional final taking place at Sun Downs. The Kennewick, Washington, racetrack kicks off the 400-yard derby qualifying races that will take place at 10 tracks in six states, as well as in two Canadian provinces and in Mexico, culminating in the $180,000 final at Prairie Meadows in Iowa on October 14.

The field of 10 3-year-olds for the $50,760 Adequan Sun Downs Derby Challenge was determined by two trial races on April 22 with the second trial having the most influence on the field.  Long Lost Buddy and jockey Eddie Aceves won a photo finish by a nose against Genuine Version and jockey Cesar Franco to be the fastest qualifier in :20.403.  The four fastest qualifiers came out of that second trial, including L Bar D Genuine Red and jockey Kassie Guglielmino in third and SR Mighty Leader Jet and jockey J.L. Torres in fourth.  CM Woody Blue and jockey Luis Gonzalez won the first trial in the fifth-fastest qualifying time.

Long Lost Buddy, who is trained by Mark Hanson, has won four races in a row dating back to last year.  The California-bred brown gelding captured the Bitterroot Futurity at Sandy Downs and the Rocky Mountain Classic Futurity at Pocatello Downs in Idaho in 2016.

Genuine Version, one of two horses in the race trained by Danny Montes, won the 2016 Utah-Bred Futurity at Wyoming Downs.  Montes’ other runner, Stellur, who will have Osvaldo Gonzalez aboard, is the most experienced in the field with 11 previous starts.  The Colorado-bred gray gelding is the only horse in the field who raced in 2017 prior to the trials at Sun Downs with two starts, including a victory, in claiming races at Los Alamitos Race Course in California.

In addition to Long Lost Buddy and Genuine Version, the other stakes winner in the race is Oregon-bred L Bar D Genuine Red in the 2016 Far West Futurity at Portland Meadows.

Downside Embezzler represents the same team of trainer Hector Magallanes and jockey Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa that won the 2016 Adequan Sun Downs Derby Challenge with For Sweet Jess.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top-Four Selections:
#7 Long Lost Buddy
#2 Stellur
#3 L Bar D Genuine Red
#4 CM Woody Blue

Wrangler Racing Aces in May
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, Sam Houston Race Park, SunRay Park, Sun Downs, Delta Downs 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.