The luck of the draw produced an All American Futurity rematch between winner Jess Good Candy and runner-up One Fabulous Eagle in the 10th of 14 trials to the record Grade 1, $1,040,000 Ruidoso Derby on Sunday.
It is the largest purse in Ruidoso Derby history, surpassing the $943,279 pot in 2014. There were 10 trials in 2014 and 2015 with eight trials in 2013.
First post time for the 400-yard trials is 1:00 p.m.
The horses with the 10-fastest times qualifying for the Ruidoso Derby on June 11. The horses with the next 10-fastest times gain priority to race in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry on June 11.
In addition to the rematch between Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle, the trials feature the winners of the other two 2015 Grade 1 futurities at Ruidoso Downs.
In the third trial, Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity winner Tres Friends makes his 2016 debut. In the ninth trial, Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity winner First Valiant Sign makes his first start of the year.
The 2015 Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity was a battle between the late-running pair of Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle, the 2-1 favorite.
In the 440 yard classic, Jess Good Candy started from the fifth post position and was in tight quarters for the first few strides. He brushed with First Valiant Sign in the four hole, but Jess Good Candy then began to roll. One Fabulous Eagle started from the ninth post position and had had plenty of racing room. The race for the $1.5 million first-place check came down to the final strides between the two horses. They were both accelerating through the finish line with Jess Good Candy getting the decision by a neck.
It will be a similar circumstance in their Ruidoso Derby trial. Jess Good Candy is in the sixth post position and One Fabulous Eagle has the ninth post position again.
PV Quarter Horse Farms LLC’s homebred Jess Good Candy has done everything asked of him. The colt is undefeated from five starts and was honored as the 2015 champion two-year-old and champion two-year-old colt.
A very large colt trained by Clint Crawford, Jess Good Candy secured his championships in the All American Futurity.
Jess Good Candy was rested after the All American Futurity and comes into the trial with the advantage of having a race this year. So the trial is his second start off a layoff. He prepared for the Ruidoso season with a three-quarter-length win in the $70,000 Mr Master Handicap over 350 yards at Remington Park in late April. One Fabulous Eagle is making his first start since the All American Futurity.
Ivan Carnero, who was up for the All American Futurity victory, is aboard Jess Good Candy.
Darling Farms’ One Fabulous Eagle earned his All American Futurity favoritism. The One Famous Eagle son crossed the finish line in fourth position in the Ruidoso Futurity and was moved up to third place following a disqualification. Trainer Kasey Willis then passed the Rainbow Futurity trials with One Fabulous Eagle to concentrate on the All American Futurity trials.
One Fabulous Eagle responded with the fastest time on the first of two days of All American Futurity trials.
Caesar Gomez rides One Fabulous Eagle.
Terry Stennett’s Tres Friends was a championship contender last year with grade 1 wins in the Rainbow Futurity and then the Grade 1, $1,151,777 Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park.
The gelding bore out at the start of the Rainbow Futurity and hit First Valiant Sign, who was also bumped on the other side by Like A Gift. Tres Friends found his stride and went on to take the Rainbow Futurity by a neck. The gelding had shin issues, so trainer Blane Wood elected to pass the All American Futurity trials, let Tres Friends heal and point at the Texas Classic Futurity trials on October 24.
Tres Friends managed only a fourth-place run in his Texas Classic Futurity trial, but that was good enough for the ninth-fastest qualifying mark. He made the most of his opportunity in the Texas Classic Futurity by racing to a three-quarter-length victory and pushing his two-year-old earnings to $920,897. The Tres Seis-sired gelding will be making his first start since the Texas Classic Futurity in the Ruidoso Derby trials.
Ricky Ramirez, the 2015 champion jockey, has ridden Tres Friends in every one of his starts. He has the mount with the inside post position.
Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks, Lee Lewis and Derrol Hubbard; First Valiant Sign qualified for each of the Ruidoso Downs’ Grade 1 futurities last summer and is making his first start since the All American Futurity on Labor Day.
The Mike Joiner-trained gelding won the Ruidoso Futurity by a neck at 31-1 odds and then was second by a neck — after being bounced around at the start — to Tres Friends as the 9-5 favorite in the Rainbow Futurity.
In the All American Futurity, the Valiant Hero-sired gelding was not in contention in the final 100 yards when Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle made their late charges in the 440-yard classic and First Valiant Sign settled for fourth place.
First Valiant Sign, a $100,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale graduate, earned $693,680 last summer at Ruidoso Downs.
First Valiant Sign has the eighth post position with Cody Jensen up for the first time in a race.
There were no supplemental nominees to the Ruidoso Derby trials.
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