All American Rematch Headlines Ruidoso Derby Trials

Winner Jess Good Candy and runner-up One Fabulous Eagle will match up in the 10th of 14 trials on Sunday.

Edited press release

Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle, pictured here finishing first and second, respectively, in last year's $3-million All American Futurity, are among the 135 sophomores entered in Sunday's 400-yard Ruidoso Derby trials. PHOTO: Gay Harris

The luck of the draw produced an All American Futurity rematch between winner Jess Good Candy and runner-up One Fabulous Eagle in the 10th of 14 400-yard Ruidoso Derby (G1) trials on Sunday.

This year’s Ruidoso Derby, which will be run on June 11, will carry a stakes-record $1,040,000, surpassing the previous mark of $943,279 set two years ago. There were 10 trials in 2014 and ’15, and eight in 2013.

First post time for this year’s Ruidoso Derby trials is set for 1 p.m. (MDT). The 3-year-olds with the 10 fastest times will meet in the final, with the next 10 fastest qualifiers having first priority for the June 11, $100,000 Mr Jess Perry Stakes.

In addition to the rematch between Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle, the Ruidoso Derby trials feature the winners of the other two 2015 Grade 1 futurities at Ruidoso Downs. In the third heat, Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner Tres Friends will make his 2016 debut, while Ruidoso Futurity (G1) winner First Valiant Sign will make his first start of the season in the ninth trial.

In last year’s $3-million All American Futurity, Jess Good Candy started from post 5 and was in tight quarters for the first few strides. He brushed with First Valiant Sign in the four hole, but Jess Good Candy then began to roll.

One Fabulous Eagle started from post 9 and had plenty of racing room. The race for the $1.5-million first-place check came down to the final strides between the two horses. They were both accelerating through the finish line with Jess Good Candy getting the decision by a neck.

It will be a similar circumstance in their Ruidoso Derby trial. Jess Good Candy drew post 6 and One Fabulous Eagle again drew post 9.

Racing for PV Quarter Horse Farms LLC from the barn of trainer Clint Crawford, Jess Good Candy has done everything asked of him. The homebred colt has won all five of his starts and was honored as last year’s champion 2-year-old.

Jess Good Candy was rested after the All American Futurity and comes into the trial with the advantage of having had a race this year. The colt prepped for the Ruidoso summer season with a three-quarter-length win against Oklahoma-breds in the 350-yard, $75,000 Mr Master Bug Stakes at Remington Park in late April. Meanwhile, One Fabulous Eagle will be making his first start since the All American Futurity.

Ivan Carnero, who was up for the All American Futurity victory, will ride Jess Good Candy on Sunday. One Fabulous Eagle will be ridden by Cesar Gomez for owner Darling Farms and trainer Kasey Willis in his Ruidoso Derby trial.

Terry Stennett’s Tres Friends was a championship contender last year with wins in the Rainbow Futurity and $1,151,777 Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park. The gelding bore out at the start of the Rainbow and hit First Valiant Sign, who was also bumped on the other side by Like A Gift. Tres Friends eventually found his stride and went on to take the Rainbow Futurity by a neck.

Tres Friends had shin issues, so trainer Blane Wood elected to pass the All American Futurity trials and point the gelding to the Texas Classic trials. Tres Friends ran fourth in his Texas Classic trial but set the ninth-fastest qualifying time. He made the most of his opportunity in the rich final with a three-quarter length victory that pushed his 2-year-old earnings to $920,897. The Tres Seis gelding will be making his first start since the Texas Classic Futurity in the Ruidoso Derby trials, and he will be ridden by 2015 champion jockey Ricky Ramirez, who has ridden him in all of his races.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks, Lee Lewis and Derrol Hubbard, First Valiant Sign qualified for all of the Ruidoso Downs Grade 1 futurities last summer and is making his first start since the All American Futurity on Labor Day. The gelding, who is trained by Mike Joiner, won the Ruidoso Futurity by a neck at 31-1 odds, and then was second by a neck — after being bounced around at the start — to Tres Friends as the 9-5 favorite in the Rainbow Futurity.

In the All American Futurity, First Valiant Sign was not in contention in the final 100 yards when Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle made their late charges in the 440-yard classic. First Valiant Sign settled for fourth place.

A $100,000 buy at the 2015 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, First Valiant Sign banked $693,680 at Ruidoso Downs last summer. Cody Jensen will ride First Valiant Sign from post 8.

There were no supplemental nominees to the Ruidoso Derby trials.

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