Hes Relentless Looks for Stakes Win

Hes Relentless headlines big Hobbs America stakes.

Press Release

Hes Relentless already has an impressive list of accomplishments. As a 2-year-old in 2013, he was one of only two horses to make the finals of three $1 million Quarter Horse futurities -- the Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park in Oklahoma, the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, and the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park in Texas. (The other was Five Bar Cartel in three seven-figure futurities at Los Alamitos Race Course in California.) In his 3-year-old debut this year, Hes Relentless set the 350-yard track record at Remington Park. However, he has yet to win a futurity or derby final.

That could all change in the 440-yard, $175,000 Hobbs America Derby (G3) at Zia Park on Sunday. The 3-year-old bay Missouri-bred colt owned by R.D. Hubbard, William and Tom Maher, and Johnny Cope and trained by Jason Olmstead was the fastest qualifier to the Hobbs America Derby in :21.268, 1/100th faster than second-fastest Rae of Fire, whom he beat by three-quarters of a length in the second of four trials on September 21.

“This will be his fifth final he’s made,” Olmstead said. “We’re hoping this is our chance to get the monkey off our back.”

Cody Jensen rode Hes Relentless for the first time in the trials. “I wanted to save a little for the finals, and he threw it in neutral,” Jensen said about Hes Relentless’ trial victory. “So I tapped him a few times, and he finished out real nice. He’s a push-button-type horse.”

The Hobbs America Derby finals will be somewhat of a rematch of the $1 million Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso in July where Hes Relentless took third, Rae of Fire finished fourth, and fellow finalist This Lady Is On Fire was 10th. “That looked like the toughest trial on paper of the day,” Olmstead said about winning the trial that featured all three horses.

A newcomer to New Mexico, Docs First Fire made the Hobbs America Derby finals with a victory in his Land of Enchantment debut in the first trial ridden by Jose Montoya. Docs First Fire, who was trained in California by Jaime Gomez, had qualified for some of the top futurities in the Golden last year in the $1.1 million Ed Burke Million Futurity (G1) and the $281,000 Kindergarten Futurity (G2) at Los Alamitos Race Course. Earl Armstrong said he began training Doc First Fire in January after owner Jaime Bujanda purchased him for $35,000.

“I had to build his heart back up because he was burnt out,” Armstrong said. Docs First Fire had run 10 times as a 2-year-old. “We turned him out for about a month or two, and he is getting better with age,” said Armstrong, who had started Docs First Fire just twice this year in the trials and finals of the Retama Park Derby in Texas in July prior to his Hobbs America Derby trial win.

Go and Get, a former claimer in Southern California, followed up his victory in the Manuel Lujan Stakes at Albuquerque with a trial win for jockey Jensen, trainer Umberto Belloc, and owner Alberto Villanueva. Ramon Sanchez will be aboard for the finals. Pretty Little Liar won her 2014 debut in the trials ridden by Roman Chapa for trainer Joaquin Lopez.

EXPERIENCE AND UP-AND-COMERS IN HOBBS AMERICA FUTURITY FINALS

Sunday’s $278,000 Hobbs America Futurity (G2) will feature a mix of some 2-year-olds that have already reached the highest level of Quarter Horse racing in New Mexico and some that are late bloomers. Fastest qualifier JM Famous Master, ridden by Cody Jensen for trainer Umberto Belloc to a :19.451 clocking in the second of seven 400-yard trials on September 20, was third in the $260,000 West Texas Futurity (G2) at Sunland Park in April. He was also a finalist for the $700,000 Ruidoso Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs in June.

“He’s so big and strong that the [heavy] track [in the trials] didn’t faze him at all,” Jensen said. “He just powered through it like nothing. He felt the best of everything I rode [in the trials].”

Eagle On The Fly, also trained by Belloc, took third in the $900,000 Rainbow Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso in July. Her Hobbs America trial was her fourth trial victory in four attempts.

“She’s kind of a small filly,” said Jensen, who was aboard in the trials. “She kind of struggled with the heavier track [during the trials]. But she ran a really good race. She’s so solid.” Ramon Sanchez will be aboard in the finals.

Yet Jensen said that unheralded Dynazip, who was second in his trial to Volten in just his second lifetime start, may have the biggest upside of the four 2-year-olds that he qualified for trainer Belloc.

“This horse might actually end up the best of all of them,” Jensen said. “But he’s the greenest of all of them. He’s so big that it takes him a long time to get moving. He’s not real quick away from the gates, but once he gets moving, he finished the best of all of them.” Jose Enriquez will pilot Dynazip in the finals.

Belloc will also saddle Political Report, who broke her maiden in the trials and will be ridden in the finals by Ricky Ramirez. Another late-bloomer, Takiana Romanova B, qualified second-fastest in 19.455 seconds in stylishly winning her first futurity trial in four attempts.

WORLD-CLASS ANNOUNCER VISITS ZIA PARK

Michael Wrona, who has announced some of the most prestigious horse races in the United States, Australia, and South America, will call at Zia Park this week from Saturday to Tuesday. Wrona will be filling in for Zia Park announcer Jonathan Horowitz, who will be observing Yom Kippur in California.

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Wrona has announced in the United States since 1990 as the track announcer at Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Arlington Park, and countless other tracks. He described the 2000 Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, for a national radio audience. In 2012, Wrona traveled to Argentina to commentate South America’s most prestigious race, the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini at Hipódromo de San Isidro near Buenos Aires, for HRTV.

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.