Wrangler Racing Aces Blog

A big finish at the Big Easy.

A big finish at the Big Easy.

Fair Grounds Closes Season with LQHBA Sale Futurity 
By Martha Claussen

The 2017 Quarter Horse racing season at Fair Grounds in New Orleans wraps up with an action-packed finish on Saturday, September 9. Twelve races will be run, highlighted by the $297,220 LQHBA Sale Futurity (RG1).

The LQHBA Sale Futurity had its first running in 1984 with an $87,970 purse, but due to the growth of the annual LQHBA Yearling Sale, the purse has risen significantly throughout the years. Trials were contested on August 18 and a competitive group of Louisiana-bred juveniles will run 350 yards in pursuit of the $118,888 winner’s check.

The favorite is Second Down Leaving, a perfect 3-for-3 this year for owners Eulalio Argote and Victor Alvarado. They purchased the son of Coronas Leaving You at the 2016 LQHBA Yearling Sale for $26,000. He won the $50,000 Louisiana Juvenile Stakes on July 8 at Delta Downs and set the fastest qualifying time for the LQHBA Sale Futurity, winning the third trial in :17.393 under jockey Manuel Gutierrez. That time held for the seven remaining heats, and his trainer, Javier Noel Contreras, reports that all systems are go for Saturday.

“He came back from the trial in great shape,” said Contreras, of his colt, who will break from Post 2. “He’s 100 percent sound and I have no problem with our draw; the track has been pretty even this meet.”

Second fastest-qualifier, Ten To Win LLC's Yumyumcomegetyousome, a daughter of Fast Prize Dash, is trained by Bruce Bell. She dug in gamely to win her trial in :17.430 under current leading rider John Hamilton.

“I knew she had talent, but she showed me something greater in her trial win,” said Hamilton. “She left well and kind of opened up, but what I didn’t expect is the way she finished. She saw the horse to her outside, pinned her ears back and dug in. That really impressed me.”

Owner Rogelio Marquez Jr. campaigns the top money-earner in Louisiana, Dashnunder Afullmoon. She is on target to compete in trials for the LQHBA Futurity at Evangeline Downs, but Marquez also owns TF El Whiskey, who ran third in the $700,000 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) and set the sixth-fastest qualifying time for Saturday’s final.

“He won his trial fairly easily, which was good,” said Marquez. “Even though he is a stud colt, he is calm in his stall and stays focused. We think he will run well on Saturday.”

Trainer Kenneth Roberts Sr. has won three editions of the Sale Futurity, most recently in 2015 with the talented filly Telarosa. This year, he qualified Pete Scarmardo’s Fabulously Black and Jess Political, owned by Chad Hart and Bobby D. Cox.

Saturday’s card will also include the $33,024 LQHBA Sale Invitational Stakes for 2-year-olds and four additional undercard stakes. Post time is 12:30 p.m. (CT) with the $297,220 LQHBA Sale Futurity (RG1) scheduled as Race 10.

Second Down, Goal to Go
By Jonathan Horowitz

Second Down Leaving played second fiddle when winning a trial to the Lee Berwick Memorial Louisiana Bred Futurity (RG1) at Delta Downs in his debut, but failing to qualify for the finals. The 2-year-old bay colt showed he was no second-class citizen in the consolation finals in his next start on July 8 by winning in a 350-yard time that was 2/10ths faster than the $705,000 finals, although a shift in wind direction played a factor.

However, Second Down Leaving proved he was second to none in the August 18 trials to Saturday’s 350-yard, $297,220 LQHBA Sale Futurity (RG1) at Fair Grounds. With Manuel Gutierrez aboard for trainer Javier Contreras, Second Down Leaving took first in the fastest 350-yard qualifying time of :17.393 to remain unbeaten in three starts.

That was 3/10ths quicker than second-fastest qualifier Yumyumcomegetyousome, a filly whose name may take longer to say than her races last. Trained by Bruce Bell and ridden by John Hamilton, Yumyumcomegetyousome broke her maiden in the trials four months after showing promise in her debut, a second-place finish in a trial to the Louisiana Breeders’ Lassie Futurity (RG2) at Delta Downs as a 43-1 longshot.

Kenneth Roberts trains the third- and fourth-fastest qualifiers – trial winner and Lassie finalist Jess Political and Lee Berwick finalist Fabulously Black. Donald Watson piloted both of Roberts’ 2017 finalists in the trials and will be aboard Fabulously Black in the finals.

Martin Trejo saddles the fifth- and sixth-fastest qualifiers – trial winners JRS Taylors Runnaway and TF El Whiskey. Jorge Linares rode both horses in the trials and opts in the finals for TF El Whiskey, who was third in both the Lee Berwick Futurity and Louisiana Breeders’ Laddie Futurity (RG2). He was a $42,000 yearling purchase, the most expensive in the field, and is the highest earner at $117,563.

The other trial winner in the field is Stormy T. Trained by Erasmo Hernandez, the filly has won three in a row – a maiden race at 17-1, a claimer at 46-1 and a trial at 6-1 over fellow finalist Shez Dead Serious. Shez Dead Serious surged late to finish third in the Lassie Futurity in May.

Wrangler Racing Ace Jonathan Horowitz’ Top-Four Selections:

#10 TF El Whiskey
#2 Second Down Leaving
#4 Yumyumcomegetyousome
#7 Shez Dead Serious

Wrangler Racing Aces in September

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, Fair Grounds, Prairie Meadows, The Downs at Albuquerque, Canterbury Park and Indiana Grand.

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.