Air Force Won Returns in New Mexico Cup Derby Trials

The multiple stakes winner will race in the last of three heats on Sunday.

New Mexico Horse Breeders' Association

Air Force Won, pictured here winning this year's Rocky Mountain Derby at Arapahoe Park near Denver, is one of 25 state-bred 3-year-olds entered in Sunday's New Mexico Cup Derby trials at Zia Park. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Air Force Won, a gelded son of champion Ketel Won racing for Salvador Nava-Nava, will make his first start in two months in Sunday’s 440-yard New Mexico Cup Derby (G2) trials at Zia Park.

Trained by Guadalupe Chavez, Air Force Won is coming off of an Arapahoe Park summer campaign during which he won four of five starts, including the July 6, 350-yard Rocky Mountain Derby and June 4, 400-yard Adequan Arapahoe Derby Challenge. The gelding drew the rail post and will be ridden by Jaime Leos in the last of three trials.

Air Force Won’s eight opponents in the third trial include Datona Doll, a sorrel daughter of Jesse James Jr trained by Trey Wood for owners Mark and Annette McCloy, who acquired the filly as a yearling for $45,000 at the 2014 New Mexico-Bred Sale at Ruidoso Downs. Datona Doll has banked $80,448 from four outs this season, and his resume includes a third-place finish, a head behind winner Gyr Jammer, in the 400-yard, $370,000 Heritage Place Derby (G2) at Remington Park on June 4.

Datona Doll drew post 3 and will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez.

Graded stakes winners Play Misty Foreme and Jess Cruzin On By will match strides in the second heat. Trained by Shae Cox for owner Robert D. Smith, Play Misty Foreme is a gelded son of Jesse James Jr who is coming off of a neck victory in the 400-yard, $164,000 Zia Derby (RG2) at Ruidoso Downs on July 31.

Esgar Ramirez will ride Play Misty Foreme from post 5.

The 9-5 morning-line favorite in the second trial, Jess Cruzin On By is a Jesse James Jr colt trained by Ernest Fennell for owner Yaneth Cabrera. Jess Cruzin On By has earned $166,880 from seven outs, and his five wins include a three-quarter length victory in last year’s 300-yard New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2) at Sunland Park.

Jess Cruzin On By drew post 6 and will be ridden by Alejandro Medellin.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the October 30, $200,000-est. New Mexico Cup Derby final.

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