Bon Accord won the trial with the fastest-qualifying time while it was mission accomplished for Wicked Courage who finished second and kept his derby-sweep hopes alive in the record 10 qualifying heats to the Grade 1, $2.8 million All American Derby on Saturday at Ruidoso Downs.
The All American Derby on September 1 will distribute the largest purse in quarter horse racing history and is the richest derby in North America. The Kentucky Derby has a $2 million purse.
Bon Accord got a sharp break from the inside post position in the ninth trial while 3-10 favorite Wicked Courage, winner of the Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies, stumbled at the start from the sixth post position.
The Rodrigo Aceves-ridden Bon Accord went on to the one-and-one-quarter-length win in :20.977 for the 440 yards while Wicked Courage was clocked in:21.164 for the second-fastest qualifying time.
“Honestly, coming into this race, I just wanted to finish close to Wicked Courage and qualify. He’s a great horse and if we could be close to him we would be in the hunt (to qualify),” said Bon Accord’s trainer Juan Aleman.
While Wicked Courage’s second-place finish ended a nine-race winning streak, he is still a prime contender to sweep the three derbies. He won the Grade 1, $823,000 Ruidoso Derby by a neck and the $1,055,000 Rainbow Derby by one length.
“He stumbled and you can’t win them all,” said Wicked Courage’s jockey Cody Jensen. “All good things must come to an end. Don’t worry about it.”
Owned by J. Garvin Kelly, Nancy Yearsley and Vinewood Farms, Bon Accord has finally found his stakes form. “We liked this horse since he was two,” said trainer Aleman. “He’s had talent and we’ve been working with him and made some equipment changes. He worked great here.”
The Shazoom gelding has four wins from six starts and will be making his stakes debut in the All American Derby.
A gelding by Captain Courage, Andrew Smith’s Wicked Courage is a proven stakes veteran. He has been sensational and came into the All American Derby trials as the sport’s top-ranked older horse, garnering 99 of a possible 100 points, in the weekly AQHAracing.com/Horseplayer.com weekly poll.
Trained by Luis Villafranco, Wicked Courage won two futurities last fall in Oklahoma and then took a minor stakes at Remington Park before coming to Ruidoso Downs for the three grade 1 derbies.
Wicked Courage would be the fourth horse to take three derbies if he can win the All American Derby. The three horses to win the prestigious Ruidoso Downs’ derbies are My Easy Credit (1977), Dash For Speed (1988) and DM Shicago (2005). When My Easy Credit and Dash For Speed scored their wins, the first derby of the summer season was called the Kansas Derby.
Sunset Well Service, Inc.’s Wonderboy finished third in the trial behind Bon Accord and Wicked Dash with the fourth-fastest time of :21.204. He was ridden by Roberto Valero for trainer Michael Chavez.
Jon and Donna McPherson’s Point Break Dash won the eighth trial by one-half length with the third-fastest qualifying time of :21.170 with Jensen up.
“He had been acting up in the gate, so we took the blinkers off,” said trainer Paul Jones.
A son of First Down Dash purchased for $100,000 at the Ruidoso Super Select Sale, Point Break Dash came off a fourth-place run in the Rainbow Derby.
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2013 All American Derby Unofficial Qualifiers
Horse/Trial # Trainer Jockey Wind Time
Bon Accord/9 Juan Aleman Rodrigo Aceves 6t 20.977
Wicked Courage/9 Luis Villafranco Cody Jensen 6t 21.164
Point Break Dash/8 Paul Jones Cody Jensen 8c 21.170
Wonderboy/9 Michael Chavez Roberto Valero 6t 21.204
The Magic Dash/4 Sleepy Gilbreath Roy Baldillez 7h 21.216
Tayte Me Down/8 Mike Robbins Jose Alvarez 8c 21.236
Louisana Corona/7 Luis Villafranco G.R. Carter Jr. 8c 21.253
Vancouver Moon/8 Juan Gonzalez Jaime Leos 8c 21.258
Elisas Secret/8 Blane Wood Ricky Ramirez 8c 21.275
Feature Hero/7 Eddie Willis Jimmy Brooks 8c 21.276