The undefeated champion and All American Futurity winner Jess Good Candy begins the final chapter of historic career when he runs in the 440-yard trials to the Grade 1, $2,414,691 All American Derby on Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
First post time is 1 p.m. for the derby trial filled 13-race program.
The depth in the trials is superlative. The total earnings of the horses entered in the 13 trials is $12,356,313.
The horses with the 10-fastest times from the trials gain eligibility to the 440-yard All American Derby on September 4. The horses with the next 10-fastest times are preferred in the $100,000 First Down Dash on the same day as the All American Derby.
The $2,414,691 purse is the second-largest purse in the race’s 43 runnings. In 2013, the All American Derby purse reached $2,809,784. By comparison, the Kentucky Derby offered a $2,391,600 purse last May.
Owned by PV Quarter Horse Farms LLC and bred by the late Carl Pevehouse, Jess Good Candy is the unanimous number-one-ranked three-year-old and older horse in the weekly AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com national poll. The number-two ranked horse, Rainbow Derby winner Valiant Rogue, is also in the All American Derby trials.
Jess Good Candy’s final race is on the horizon. If he does not qualify for the All American Derby – he will be the overwhelming favorite in his derby trial – then the trial could be his final race. If he qualifies for the All American Derby, then the All American Derby could wrap up his stellar career. The colt is the leading stallion prospect in quarter horse racing and there is great demand for him as a breeding stallion.
The Clint Crawford-trained Jess Good Candy has earned $2,012,303 with his seven wins from seven starts. A victory in the All American Derby, with a $1,014,000 first-place award, would raise his earnings to $3,026,303 and make him the first quarter horse to earn $3 million. He would become the seventh horse to win the All American Futurity and the All American Derby.
Jess Good Candy has done everything asked of him. The strapping powerhouse won last year’s Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity by a neck and was named the champion two-year-old and champion two-year-old colt. He is well on his way to another championship season. He won the Mr Master Bug Handicap at Remington Park to prepare for his Ruidoso Downs summer campaign and then came to Ruidoso Downs and scored a late-running one-and-three-quarter-length romp in the $1,068,631 Ruidoso Derby under Ivan Carnero.
A son of Good Reason Sa from the Mr Jess Perry daughter Jess Send Candy, Jess Good Candy passed on the Rainbow Derby trials to concentrate on the All American Derby trials. He had two serious works since the Ruidoso Derby and impressed in each workout, pulling regular rider Carnero over the Ruidoso Downs’ straightaway under the strongest of holds.
Carnero will be letting Jess Good Candy run when they start from the eighth post position in the second trial.
Wyok Ranch LLC’s Valiant Rogue has been improving throughout his three-year-old season for trainer Judd Kearl. The gelding was immature as a two-year-old and has learned to win this year. He has three wins from four 2016 starts with his only defeat being a second-place finish in his seasonal debut.
The gelded son of Valiant Hero showed his potential in his final 2015 start when he had a troubled start and still rallied for fifth in the Grade 1, $1,151,777 Texas Classic Futurity.
After his close second-place finish in his first 2016 out, Valiant Rogue traveled to Ruidoso Downs. He won a conditioned allowance race, his Rainbow Derby trial by one-half length and then showed he was the number-two older horse in the nation with a one-and-three-quarter-length domination in the Grade 1, $1,224,488 Rainbow Derby.
Tanner Thedford has ridden Valiant Rogue in his latest two starts and retains the mount with the fourth post position in the sixth trial.
Terry Stennett’s Tres Friends, a $60,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, is always dangerous and has earned $921,137. Although winless from two tries this year, he was a championship contender last year with wins in the Grade 1, $1-million Rainbow Futurity and the Grade 1, $1,152,000 Texas Classic Futurity.
Trainer Blane Wood will have regular rider Ricky Ramirez up with the second position in the third race.
First Valiant Sign – owned by Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks, R. Lee Lewis, R.D. Hubbard and Derrol Hubbard – qualified for each of the three Grade 1 futurities last summer at Ruidoso Downs. The Valiant Hero-sired gelding won the $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity, was a close second in the Rainbow Futurity and fourth in the All American Futurity.
This year, the Mike Joiner-trained First Valiant Sign won his Rainbow Derby trial and finished fourth to Valiant Rogue in the finals as the 8-5 choice.
Cody Jensen has the mount in the eighth trial and they start from the eighth post position.
Facing First Valiant Sign in the eighth trial will be Darling Farms’ One Fabulous Eagle, trained by Eddie Willis. He is showing the form that saw him finish second by neck to Jess Send Candy in last year’s All American Futurity. The One Famous Eagle-sired gelding has won his latest two starts, topped by a one-and-one-half-length domination of the $100,000 Corona Cartel.
Cesar Gomez has ridden One Fabulous Eagle is each his seven starts and gets the call with the third post position.
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