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Racing News Blog

Ever wondered what exactly a Trifecta is or who's who in the horse racing industry?  Welcome to the Racing News Blog! Our racing stories will help you learn more about the rich history of the horse racing world and maybe even help you out with your betting strategy.


Daddys Blushing Takes Mountain Top, Maxx Tops Adequan Qualifiers

Ty Wyant

            Gary Hartstack’s Daddys Blushing pushed his undefeated record to four wins from as many starts with a win over New Mexico-breds in the $392,586 Mountain Top Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.

            Also on the 10-race program were three trials to the $48,510 Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge.

            Daddys Blushing started alertly from the third position and had a clear path. Jockey Francisco Calderon let the gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel hustle to the lead and they were never seriously threatened on their way to the one-half length win in :19.423 for the 400 yards.

            David Valdez’s Flash Moonfire, the fastest qualifier, was second by one-half length over Bigg Daddy.

            Trainer Jackie Riddle has a promising two-year-old in Daddys Blushing with options this summer at Ruidoso Downs. The $14,000 Ruidoso yearling sale purchase could continue to face New Mexico-bred two-year-olds in the trials to the $400,000 (est.) Zia Futurity on July 15 or he could take on open juveniles in the trials to the Grade 1, $1-million (est.) Rainbow Futurity on July 7.

            Daddys Blushing has already shown he can handle open horses. He won his trial to the Sam Houston Futurity in his first start and returned to battle to a win in the $48,000 Sam Houston Juvenile. He then came to Ruidoso Downs and scored a one-and-one-half length win in his Mountain Top Futurity Challenge Derby trial.

            Maxx came back in the final yards in the third and final Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge trial to get the neck win over second-fastest qualifier Marseille. Maxx was timed in :19.555 for the 400 yards while Marseille raced to a :19.597 mark.

            A total of five horses qualified from the third trial.

            The horses with the 10-fastest times from the three trials advance to the Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge on July 1. The winner of the Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge receives an invitation to the Grade 3, $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship at Prairie Meadows on October 14.

            Irma Vargas’ Maxx, trained by Judd Kearl, made two previous starts this year at Sam Houston Race Park and was disqualified from each race. The Pyc Paint Your Wagon-sired gelding had a successful two-year-old season with three wins and a second-place run from six starts.

            Maxx won the $69,000 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile and qualified for the Grade 1, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park.

            For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.


Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge Unofficial Qualifiers

Horse/Trial #              Trainer                        Jockey                         Wind               Time

Maxx/3                                    Judd Kearl                   Jose A. Alvarez                        2h                    19.555

Marseille/3                   Juan Esquivel               Jose Enrique Ortiz        2h                    19.597

Rock About It/1                       Tammy Johnson                      Benito J. Baca              2h                    19.746

Mbv Mvp/1                 Juan Aleman                Ricky Ramirez             2h                    19.762

Riverside Revolution/1 Wesley Giles                Cipriano U. Vidana      2h                    19.767

Sinsational Tacha/1      Martin Orona               Manuel Gutierrez         2h                    19.769

Born to B Bad/3                       Tammy Johnson                      Benito J. Baca              2h                    19.775

B Double U/1               Clinton Crawford         G.R. Carter Jr.              2h                    19.815

Stella Lou/3                 Mike Joiner                  G.R. Carter Jr.              2h                    19.849

Just A Little Wagon/3   Wesley Giles                Adrian A. Ramos         2h                    19.948



Second Dead Heat In Two Days at Ruidoso Downs

Ty Wyant

            In what is undoubtedly an unprecedented event there were dead heats for the win in Saturday’s Grade 1, $800,000 Ruidoso Derby and then again in Sunday’s Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Two dead heats in two days in Grade 1 races.

            On Saturday, Tough To Bee and Magical Jess finished in a dead heat in the Ruidoso Derby.

            In the Ruidoso Futurity, Eagle Jazz and Uptown Dynasty finished on even terms. They were each timed in :17.537 for the 350 yards.

            It was the second dead heat in the Ruidoso Futurity. Okey Dokey Fantasy and Saint Shackleton finished in a dead heat in 2006.

            It was another length back to third-place finisher This Is A Deal Two behind Eagle Jazz and Uptown Fantasy.

            Juan Medina’s homebred Eagle Jazz showed his grit and determination in the Ruidoso Derby. “He was beaten two lengths when he stumbled at the start,” said trainer Judd Kearl. “He showed a lot of class. I thought he was out of it.”

            He was ridden by Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo.

            A strapping sorrel gelding by One Dashing Eagle, Eagle Jazz set the fastest qualifying time on the second of two days of Ruidoso Derby trials when he won by two lengths in :17.874 for 350 yards.

            Eagle Jazz has won five of six starts with his sole setback a very close second-place run in the $1-million Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity.

            Melvin Neugebauer’s Uptown Dynasty gave his owner and trainer Wes Giles their second-consecutive wins in the Ruidoso Futurity. Last year, Apolltical Chad won the Ruidoso Futurity for Nueve Racing. Neugebauer was part of Nueve Racing.

            A gelding by Mr Jess Perry, Uptown Dynasty was second in a maiden race at Sam Houston Race Park before coming to Ruidoso Downs and joining the Giles barn. He immediately stepped forward with a one-and-one-half-length trial win in :18.142 while facing an eight-mph headwind.

            Giles became the second trainer to win consecutive Ruidoso derbies. Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Fame member Carl Draper won with Heartswideopen (2007) and Jess Significant (2008).

            The connections of Eagle Jazz and Uptown Dynasty have yet to decide if they will run in the Rainbow Futurity trials on July 7-8 or wait until the All American Futurity trials on August 18-19.

            In the $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile, for horses who did not qualify for the Ruidoso Futurity, Mr Perry Strong showed his best races may be ahead of him with a strong three quarter-length victory.

            Licon Farm and Ranch, LLC’s Mr Perry Strong, a son of Mr Jess Perry and Grade 1 stakes winner Strength In Numbers, broke well from the outside post position and was taking command of the race within the first 100 yards. The L. Salvador Martinez-ridden Mr Perry Strong then showed his promise with a decisive win in :17.633 for the 350 yards.

            Preston Cloud’s runner-up Hez Our Prize finished a neck in of Birrell Farms’ Bf Favorite Folly.

            Mr Perry Strong made one start at Sunland Park — a fourth-place finish — before joining the Mike Joiner barn at Ruidoso Downs/.

            “He’s just a pro and does everything right,” said Joiner.

            Joiner said the next start for Mr Perry Strong, a $25,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, will probably be the trials to the Grade 1, $1-million (est.) Rainbow Futurity on July 7-8.

            For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.



Dead Heat In $800K Ruidoso Derby

Ty Wyant

            In an amazing race that will be remembered for years and years, Tough To Bee and Magical Jess finished in a dead heat for the win in the Grade 1, $800,000 Ruidoso Derby and third-place finisher High Plains Perry was just a nose behind the two winners on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.

            Tough To Bee and Magical Jess battled for the 400 yards and High Plains Perry was always in close contact. Tough To Bee and Magical Jess finished on equal terms in :19.925 for the 400 yards.

            High Plains Perry almost got up to get the win in the race that could have been easily taken by any of the top-three finishers.

            It took eight minutes for the stewards to determine the order of finish.

            Thomas Lipar’s Paragon Farms LLC owns Tough To Bee and High Plains Perry. They are two of the four horses that trainer Trey Wood qualified for the Ruidoso Derby.

            Tough To Bee, a gelding by Apollitical Jess, gained the Grade 1 win that he has been chasing for 10 starts. In his previous nine starts, the gelding recorded four wins, a pair of seconds and two thirds. He won the $62,000 Mr Master Bug Stakes and raced to close thirds in the Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity and the Grade 1, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity. The Ruidoso Derby was his third-consecutive win and he is now three-for-three in 2017.

            “He is just always the same,” said Wood. “He deserves this; he’s earned it.”

            Jockey Ricky Ramirez was aboard Tough To Bee in his trial and Raul Ramirez Jr. rode him in the Ruidoso Derby. Ramirez qualified each of the four Wood-trained horses and chose to ride High Plains Perry.

            Ugo De La Torre’s Magical Jess has a similar story. The gelding by One Sweet Jess has raced at the highest level, yet has never gained a major victory. He was a close second in the Desert Classic Futurity, third in the $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile and fifth in the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity.

            Magical Jess put it all together in the Ruidoso Derby. “He broke a little slow, but closed the gap,” said jockey Jaime Parga Leos, who galloped Magical Jess several times between the trials and the derby.

            High Plains Perry did everything, except win the Ruidoso Derby. The strapping gelding by Mr Jess Perry was in contention and may be the closest third-place finisher in the history Grade 1 quarter horse racing.

            A $100,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, High Plains Perry found trouble in races last summer at Ruidoso Downs and then success during his fall campaign. That culminated with a head win in the Texas Classic Futurity.

            Also on the program was the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry, for horses that did not qualify for the Ruidoso Derby. Champion Imperial Eagle came back from a trial defeat to fight for a game win in :19.845 for the 400 yards.

            Esgar Ramirez was aboard Imperial Eagle for the neck win over B D Illusion. It was another one-half length back to third-place finisher C Twister Seis.

            Reigning All American Futurity winner Imperial Eagle, owned by Charles Robinson and Christina Robinson, got a good start from the first post position while B D Illusion started well from the second post position. They raced side by side for the entire 400 yards.

            “B D Illusion had him 50 yards from the wire,” said Imperial Eagle’s trainer Tony Sedillo. “But, Imperial Eagle likes 440 yards and was able to get up for the win.”

            Imperial Eagle was upset as the 1-2 favorite in his Ruidoso Derby trial. He finished third behind Ruidoso Derby qualifiers Corona Carmelita and One Hot Habit.

            “I thought he was ready for that race (the trial), but he ran a little flat,” said Sedillo. “He probably needed that race.”

            Imperial Eagle made his first 2017 start in his Ruidoso Derby trial after being honored as the 2016 champion two-year-old and champion two-year-old gelding.

            A $48,000 Ruidoso Select Super Select Sale purchase, Imperial Eagle earned his championship honors with a neck win over The Marfa Lights in the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. He then went on to win the Grade 1, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship and the $200,000 Sunland Park Winter Juvenile.

            Bennie and Teresa Jeter’s B D Illusion raced to a game second-place finish behind $1,763,507 earner Imperial Eagle.

            B D Illusion, overlooked at 12-1 odds, showed he could have an excellent 2017 campaign. He won his Ruidoso Derby trial by a neck.

            A gelded son of Bodacious Dash, B D Illusion is trained by defending national champion trainer Judd Kearl.

            For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.