Uptown Dynasty Leads the Way in Ruidoso Derby Trials

The Grade 1 winner is the fastest qualifier to the June 9 final.

Q-Racing Journal

Uptown Dynasty dominated his competition in the first of 10 Ruidoso Derby trials. PHOTO: Gay Harris

Making his season debut at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, Uptown Dynasty dominated the first of 10 Ruidoso Derby (G1) trials and posted the fastest qualifying time to the June 9, $759,000 final.

Uptown Dynasty covered 400 yards in :20.116 while racing against a reported 13-mph head wind, and his margin of victory was a clear 3 3/4 lengths from 2017 All American Futurity (G1) finalist Hes Limitless. G.R. Carter Jr. rode the bay son of champion Mr Jess Perry for owner Melvin Neugebauer of Manzanola, Colorado, and trainer Wes Giles.

Uptown Dynasty was bred in Oklahoma by Sam W. Green. Neugebauer acquired the gelding for $65,000 at the 2016 Heritage Place Yearling Sale.

Sunday's trials marked the first time G.R. Carter had ridden Uptown Dynasty in a race.

"I watched replays of all of his races last year, so I felt like I knew him," Carter said. "I could tell he was giving it all to me. He ran a flawless race. He ran as good as he looks."

Uptown Dynasty was making his first start since September 4, when he ran sixth, 2 3/4 lengths behind winner Fly Baby Fly, in the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1). The gelding has earned $612,600 from eight starts, and his five wins include a dead-heat victory with Eagle Jazz in last year's Grade 1, 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity.

Trainer Rodolfo Vallles qualified four horses to the Ruidoso Derby, topped by second-fastest qualifier Jess Move You. Ridden by Agustin Silva for owners Ricardo A. Bernal and Reymundo F. Resendez, the Apollitical Jess gelding won the seventh heat by a neck in :20.154 while racing against a reported 17-mph head wind.

Jess Move You was bred in Oklahoma by Debbie Strebig, and he was coming off of a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length victory in the 400-yard, $25,000 Animas Stakes at SunRay Park on April 22.

"My godfather, Jesus Carrete, had him and sent him to me," said Valles of Jess Move You. "He said he was a runner. He's sound and looks like the real deal."

Other prominent Ruidoso Derby qualifiers include 2017 champion 2-year-old colt KVN Corona, a gray son of Corona Cartel campaigned by Keith Nellesen of Spanish Fork, Utah, and trained by Paul Jones. The fourth-fastest qualifier, the colt kept his record perfect with a three-quarter length victory in the fifth heat. KVN Corona covered 400 yards in :20.206 under jockey Jesus Rios Ayala.

KVN Corona was bred in Utah by McColee Land and Livestock, and he is named for New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a friend of the Nellesen family. He has won all nine of his outs, including three graded stakes at Los Alamitos, and he has banked $694.34.

KVN Corona was supplemented to the Ruidoso Derby trials for $30,000.

"They don't get any easier than him," said Lisa Saumell, who runs Paul Jones' New Mexico operation, of KVN Corona. He walks out on the track (in the morning), stands for 10 minutes looking at the mountains, he enjoys his gallop, and then stops again on the way back and looks at the mountains for another 10 minutes."

The winner of the Ruidoso Derby final will earn $318,780. Click here for a complete list of qualifiers. Click here for a complete list of 3-year-olds with first preference to race in the June 9, $100,000 Mr Jess Perry Stakes.

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