Quarter Horse Trials, Balloon City Stakes Headline Weekend Action at Albuquerque Downs

Grade 2 winner Apollitical Scout tops a field of 10 distaffers in Sunday's 400-yard Balloon City.

Press release

Jess Fire Chick, pictured here winning the July 29 Zia Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, will risk her undefeated record in this weekend's New Mexico State Fair Futurity trials at Albuquerque Downs. PHOTO: Gay Harris

This weekend’s live racing action at Albuquerque Downs will be dominated by Quarter Horse trials, and Sunday’s 400-yard, $50,000 Balloon City Stakes for Quarter Horse fillies and mares.

Friday’s nine-race program at Albuquerque Downs, which gets underway at 6:05 p.m. (MDT), will be headlined by six 400-yard New Mexico State Fair Futurity (RG3) trials for state-bred 2-year-olds and two 440-yard La Fiesta Derby trials for 3-year-olds.

Sixteen 3-year-olds have been entered in the La Fiesta Derby trials. Strykr Force, a gelded son of No Secrets Here owned and trained by Jesus Carrete of Albuquerque, drew the rail post and will be ridden by Juan Pulido in the second heat. Strykr Force won all three of his starts during the 2017 Albuquerque Downs meet, including the 400-yard, $252,515 La Fiesta Futurity.<p>

The first La Fiesta Derby trial is headed by Apollitical Brooke, a daughter of Apollitical Jess trained by Ruben Leyba Jr. for owners Samantha Leyba and Lilly Leyba. Apollitical Brooke will be making her 3-year-old debut off of a 2-year-old season during which she earned $142,361 from nine races and won the 440-yard, $200,000 Southwestern Juvenile Championship (G1) at Zia Park.

Apollitical Brooke drew post 8 and will be ridden by Irving Delgado-Bustillos.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $150,000-est. La Fiesta Derby final on September 22.

Friday’s six New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity trials have drawn 52 state-bred 2-year-olds, one more than last year’s. Jess Fire Chick, an undefeated daughter of Jess A Chicks owned by Mike Abraham and Paul Blanchard, will make her Albuquerque Downs debut in the third heat.

Trained by Wes Giles, Jess Fire Chick has banked $322,040 from four races, and her four wins include the 350-yard, $346,000 Mountain Top Futurity (RG3), and the 400-yard, $370,000 Zia Futurity (RG1), both at Ruidoso Downs. The filly drew post 7 and will be ridden by Agustin Silva.

Other prominent 2-year-olds entered in the New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity trials include CM Rowdy James, a homebred son of Jesse James Jr owned by Nadine Maben of Clovis, New Mexico. CM Rowdy James will be making his first start since July 1, when he scored a head victory at odds of 15-1 in the 350-yard, $97,000 Four Corners Futurity at Albuquerque Downs.

CM Rowdy James drew the rail post and will be ridden by Jaime Leos in the sixth trial.

The 10 fastest qualifiers from Friday’s trials will meet in the September 22, $300,000-est.  New Mexico State Fair Quarter Horse Futurity final.

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The Downs will open its 10-race program on Saturday (first post time, 1:30 p.m.) with four 400-yard La Fiesta Futurity trials.

Hey Seis and TF Hez Jess On Fire both drew into the fourth heat. Trained by Wes Giles for owners Ezra Lee and Jose R. Espinosa, Hey Seis is a stakes-placed daughter of 2001 AQHA champion 2-year-old colt Tres Seis. The filly has earned $16,844 from five races, and her record includes a third-place finish in the 300-yard, $50,000 Oklahoma Juvenile Stakes at Remington Park in March.

Adrian Ramos will ride Hey Seis from post 6.

TF Hez Jess On Fire will be making his first start since May 11, when the sorrel son of Highest Fire scored a nose victory in a 350-yard Heritage Place Futurity (G1) at Remington Park. The colt drew post 2 and will be ridden by Juan Pulido for owner and trainer Jesus Carrete.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the $250,000-est. La Fiesta Futurity final on September 23.

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Sunday’s 400-yard, $50,000 Balloon City Stakes at Albuquerque Downs has drawn a full field of 10 fillies and mares.

Apollitical Scout, a 4-year-old Apollitical Jess mare trained by Jimmy Padgett for owner Paragon Farms, has won her last two starts, including the 400-yard, $100,000 Junos Request Stakes (G3) at Remington Park on June 2. Apollitical Scout made her local debut with a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in a 400-yard, $26,000 open-condition allowance for fillies and mares on July 13.

Apollitical Scout drew post 7 and will be ridden by Jose A. Alvarez.

The Balloon City Stakes will be the fifth race on The Downs’ 10-race program. Estimated post time is set for 3:10 p.m. The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Pilota On Fire (Jose Enrique Ortiz), 8-1
Coronas Dashin Injun (Joseph Belloc Jr.), 10-1
Pitchin Woo (Juan Pulido), 3-1
Everybuddys Talkin (Agustin Silva), 5-1
Hardtookiss (Adrian Ramos), 12-1
Sinsational Tacha (Raul Herrera), 15-1
Apollitical Scout (Jose A. Alvarez), 9-2
Ms Fast Prize Tracy (Alejandro Medellin), 15-1
Staggering Stride (Rodrigo Vallejo), 4-1
One Famous Ribbon (Alfredo Sigala), 20-1

Also on Sunday, three New Mexico State Fair Breeders’ Derby (R) trials for state-bred 3-year-olds will be contested at the 400-yard distance.

Mike Abraham’s Jess Hot, an undefeated homebred son of Jess A Chicks trained by Larry Chavez, drew post 2 and will be ridden by Agustin Silva in the first trial. Jess Hot has won all three of his races and has earned $159,996, and the gelding will be making his first start since September 23, 2017, when he scored a neck victory in the 400-yard, $289,993 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (R).

Other prominent 3-year-olds entered include Jesse Lane, a homebred Jesse James Jr gelding owned by Mac and Janis Murray’s MJ Farms at Veguita, New Mexico. Jesse Lane will be making his second start of the year after a 2-year-old season during which he won the 440-yard, $200,000 All American Juvenile Stakes and ran second in the 400-yard, $371,000 Zia Futurity (RG1), both at Ruidoso Downs.

Jesse Lane drew post 4 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo for trainer Jimmy Padgett in the second heat.

The 10 fastest qualifiers will meet in the September 23, $150,000-est. New Mexico State Fair Breeders’ Derby final.

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