Champion Imperial Eagle to Make Season Debut in Ruidoso Derby Trials

The gray gelding will race in the fourth of 12 trials on Sunday.

Quarter Racing Journal

Charles Robinson's Imperial Eagle, pictured here the day after he won last year's $3-million All American Futurity, will make his sophomore season debut in Sunday's Ruidoso Derby trials.

Charles Robinson's Imperial Eagle, an earner of $1,721,507 and last year's champion 2-year-old, is one of 107 3-year-olds entered in Sunday's 400-yard Ruidoso Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

Post time for the first of a dozen trials is 1 p.m. (MDT). The last trial is scheduled to go off at 5:24.

Imperial Eagle is a gray son of One Famous Eagle trained by Tony Sedillo. The gelding is coming off of a juvenile campaign during which he won six of nine starts and two stakes, including the 440-yard, $3-million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs.

"He's doing well," said Sedillo of Imperial Eagle. "He just went home and was put in a pen and played with the pigeons. We got him up in April, and so far so good. He's grown and put on a little weight.

"He gives 100 percent every time," the trainer added. "As long as he stays sound, he should be good."

Esgar Ramirez will ride Imperial Eagle from post 6 in the fourth trial.

All American Futurity The Marfa Lights is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the 12th heat. Trained by Toby Keeton for owners Beth and Michael Harper, the sorrel son of One Famous Eagle and champion Your First Moon hasn't raced since October 22, when he finished second in a 400-yard Texas Classic Futurity (G1) trial at Lone Star Park.

The Marfa Lights is a full brother to champion Moonin The Eagle and a half to champion Moonist. The colt drew post 2 and will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez.

Trainer Wes Giles will send out six Ruidoso Derby hopefuls, headed by Nueve Racing's Apolltical Chad, a gelded son of Apollitical Jess. Apolltical Chad won two of his four starts during last year's Ruidoso meet, including the 350-yard, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity (G1). He also ran fourth, one length behind Imperial Eagle, in the All American.

Adrian Ramos will ride Apolltical Chad from post 7 in the fifth trial.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $800,000 Ruidoso Derby final on June 10.

One of the Ruidoso Derby hopefuls, Always Ifs, was supplemented to the trials for $30,000. The bay son of Corona Cartel is trained by Mike Joiner for owners Johnny Cope, R.D. Hubbard, Rafter W Stables, and Butch Southway. In his most recent out, the April 1, 400-yard West Texas Derby (G3) at Sunland Park, the colt crossed the wire third but was moved up to second after the race was appealed to the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Always Ifs will be ridden by Cody Jensen from post 8 in the sixth heat.

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