Imperial Eagle Soars in All American Futurity

Gray flies home in the $3 million All American Futurity.

Quarter Racing Journal

Imperial Eagle (outside) defeats The Marfa Lights in the All American Futurity. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Fastest qualifier Imperial Eagle captured American Quarter Horse racing’s most-desired jewel, the $3 million All American Futurity (G1) on September 5, for his owner Charles E. “Chuck” Robinson, 83, of Southern Pines, North Carolina.

The gelded son of One Famous Eagle broke from Post 7 under Esgar Ramirez, who the day before won the $2.3 million All American Derby (G1) aboard EC Jet One and in 2010 won the All American Futurity with Mr Piloto. From there, he contested the lead during the 440-yards on the Ruidoso Downs track before pulling away in the final strides to win by a neck.

"I had a clean trip," Ramirez said. "My horse broke really good. Everybody was hollering and he tried to beat the gate, but he still got a real good break. The 6 horse (Coronas First Diva) was in front of me a neck at most, and I asked my horse to keep going. The longer he goes, the better he gets."

They were greeted at the winner’s circle by trainer Tony Sedillo, who wins the race for the first time.

"I started crying; that last 100 yards, he was gone," said Sedillo. "There was no way that he wasn't going to beat them. You could see that horse the last 100 or 150 yards -- every time that he runs, once he switches leads, he just gets it on."

The Marfa Lights was second, with Coronas First Diva third and Ruidoso Futurity (G1) winner Apolltical Chad fourth.

"I had a pretty good trip, except for the start," said Larry Payne, who rode The Marfa Lights. "My colt is a real nervous type colt, and when the horse next to him (went up, Koolnfamous) he spun his head around a little bit and kind of got a little off sync. We got him pointed back down the racetrack, I broke a length behind the 4 and the 6 (Coronas First Diva) and, in this quality of race, you can’t spot them anything. My horse ran real good on the end, he made up a lot of ground, we just couldn’t get the job done. He’s a great horse. They just got the best of us today. That’s horse racing."

Magical Jess was fourth, followed by Koolnfamous, Volcoms Lady, One Famous Beau and One Hot Habit.

Imperial Eagle stormed to the top of the qualifiers in the final of 15 trials on the first day of qualifying with a :21.499, which also held up to make him the fastest qualifier. Imperial Eagle ran second on first asking, in an April 15 trial to the West Texas Futurity (G2) at Sunland Park. He finished fifth in the final on April 30, but ultimately was moved to second after post-race disqualifications for positive lab reports of the first-, third- and fourth-place finishers. Taken to Ruidoso, Imperial Eagle won both of his non-qualifying trials to the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Rainbow futurities. In the All American Futurity final, he came home even faster than in the trials, stopping the clock in :21.478.

"My parents, Christine and Leddie Sedillo, said 'You're gonna win it,'" said Tony Sedillo. "They were involved in the horse industry my whole life. They helped me and followed me everywhere I went. They were my biggest supporters since I started in this business. Every time I would get beat, they'd say, 'Don't worry about it, you'll be back.'"

Robinson turned down a substantial offer to buy the horse in the time between the trials and finals, and was there with wife, Christina, and family to celebrate bringing home the coveted trophy, presented by New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, and the race’s $1.5 million first-place check. Imperial Eagle now boasts a record of four wins from six starts and earnings of $1,548,387. 

Robinson acquired Imperial Eagle for $40,000 at the 2015 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. Imperial Eagle was bred by Fredda Draper, whose deceased husband, Carl, trained 2004 All American winner DM Shicago and 2007 winner Heartswideopen.

Imperial Eagle is by champion and leading sire One Famous Eagle, who sired four All American Futurity finalists and in 2012 sired winner and eventual world champion One Dashing Eagle.

The gray gelding is one of two winners from four starters out of the Genuine Strawfly mare Jenuine Joy, a five-time stakes winner who earned $382,230 in her career on the track.

"This is the greatest moment, that's all I can say," Robinson said, overcome with emotion.

 JM Mister Destiny wins the All American Juvenile.
PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Earlier on the card, JM Mister Destiny won the $500,000 All American Juvenile Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths. The Mr Jess Perry gelding was trained by Paul Jones and races for J and M Racing and Farm, which won the 2014 All American Futurity with JM Miracle.

Ridden by Manuel Gutierrez, JM Mister Destiny covered the distance in :21.560 to earn $210,000. The race pushes his career total to three wins in four starts, and his earnings to $215,200.

"The horse ran excellent, from the beginning till the end," Gutierrez said. "The horse broke great and there was no pressure at all. The horse is excellent and feels great all the time."

The gelding was bred by John Andreini and is out of champion Dinastia Toll BRZ, making him a half-brother to champion FDD Dynasty.

"I’m lucky," said Paul Jones' assistant trainer, Lisa Saumell. "This is a very nice horse. He just needed some more mileage to get more confidence. We always thought he had talent – a little spooky, but he’s growing out of that and maturing. Beautiful bred horse, big gorgeous body on him. We’re going to give him a little rest and then start all over again."

Twig was second, followed by Teller Baja, Tough To Bee, C Twister Seis, Dashing Runner, Famouseagletime, Elicity, Jess Paint Ur Wagon and One More Thats It.

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