Firing Tools is Fastest Ruidoso Derby Qualifier

Trainer Trey Wood qualifies four 3-year-olds to the June 10, $800,000 final.

Q-Racing Journal

Fastest qualifier Firing Tools was all alone at the wire in the 11th of 12 Ruidoso Derby trials. PHOTO: Gay Harris

The field has been set for the June 10, $800,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs, and Michael and Beth Harper’s Firing Tools is the fastest qualifier to the 400-yard stakes.

Prepped by Toby Keeton and ridden by Esgar Ramirez, Firing Tools on Sunday won the 11th of 12 trials by four lengths in :19.392. The Walk Thru Fire gelding was making his first start since November 12, when he finished eighth in the 400-yard, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park.

Firing Tools was bred in California by Silver Racing Farm LLC. A $67,000 purchase by the Harpers at the 2015 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, he has won three of six outs and has earned $37,964.

"He's just been training super," said Keeton. "We'll see if he can move up off this race."

Nueve Racing's Apolltical Chad, a Grade 1 winner and earner of $623,626 from six races, made his season debut with a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length victory as the 6-5 favorite in the fifth heat. Adrian Ramos rode the sorrel son of Apollitical Jess for trainer Wes Giles.

Apolltical Chad covered 400 yards in :19.594 for his third career victory. A $38,000 buy at the 2015 Ruidoso Seleect Yearling Sale, the gelding was bred in Oklahoma by Weetona Stanley and W.E. Smith.

Apolltical Chad won last year's Ruidoso Futurity (G1) and ran fourth in the All American Futurity (G1).

"He went off of his grain about 10 days ago, and we discovered that his thyroid levels were low," said Giles. "He’s on the upside now. I'm glad it happened then and not closer to (this race).”

Trainer Trey Wood prepped four of the 10 Ruidoso Derby finalists, including third-fastest qualifier Corona Carmelita. A $90,000 purchase at the 2015 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, the brown daughter of Corona Cartel races for Paragon Farms LLC and won the fourth trial by a neck in :19.636 while making just her second lifetime start. Ricky Ramirez rode the filly.

Corona Carmelita was bred in Texas by Julianna Hawn Holt and was unraced at 2. The filly sustained an injury in her front legs in last year's training races.

"She had shin issues, and there was not surgery," said Wood.

Two prominent 3-year-olds, both of whom were making their season debuts, failed to make the Ruidoso Derby final. Champion Imperial Eagle, the winner of last year's All American Futurity, ran third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Corona Carmelita, in the fourth heat. All American runner-up The Marfa Lights, a son of One Famous Eagle trained by Keeton for the Harpers, broke through his starting gate in the 12th trial but was cleared to race by the starting-gate veterinarian. The colt finished sixth, two lengths behind winner Iba Favorite.

Click here for a complete list of Ruidoso Derby qualifiers. Click here for a complete list of qualifiers to the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry Stakes, which also will be run on June 10.

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