Johnny Trotter’s Bodacious Eagle made an incredible run after leaping into the air at the start to win the Grade 3, $50,000 Higheasterjet Handicap on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
Earlier on the program, Maxx won the $48,510 Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge.
Bodacious Eagle, in the 10th post position, made a surprising leap in the air as the gates opened and nearly unseated the athletic jockey Ricky Ramirez.
“He was back in the gate and went forward just as the gate opened,” said Ramirez. “I want to see the replay, but when we landed I know I only had my toe in a stirrup.”
Then the stewards became involved in the action behind Bodacious Eagle. Docs First Fire, in the eighth post position, crossed the finish line in second place, one-half length behind Bodacious Eagle, and was disqualified. Sam Crow, in the seventh post position, crossed the finish line in a dead heat for third with Apollitical Ok. Sam Crow was disqualified.
Therefore, Apollitical Ok was awarded second place and Silk Cartel was moved up to third place.
Bodacious Eagle was timed in :17.364 for the 350 yards.
The day belonged to Bodacious Eagle and Ramirez’s memorable ride.
Bodacious Eagle came to Ruidoso Downs after an unbeaten spring at Remington Park for trainer Trey Wood. The gelding won the Grade 2, $50,000 Eastex Stakes by a dominating one-and-one-half lengths and then won the Grade 1, $100,000 Leo Stakes by a neck over Zoomin Effortlessly at the Oklahoma City track.
“He’s been my favorite since he was born,” said owner Trotter, who purchased Bodacious Eagle as an embryo. “He’s a champion. He qualified for the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American futurities here (at Ruidoso Downs).
“He then went to Los Alamitos and qualified for the Los Alamitos Two Million.”
Bodacious Eagle has won 11 of 23 starts and earned $792,549.
Trainer Wood said that Bodacious Eagle is on top of his game right now as a five-year-old. The well-balanced, strapping son of One Famous Eagle is “just a good horse,” said Wood. “He loves being on the outside (in the starting gate). The next goal is the All American Gold Cup.”
Bodacious Eagle could also race in the Grade 2, $50,000 Mr Jet Moore Handicap on August 5.
The eventual second- and third-place finishers Apollitical Ok and Silk Cartel are each trained by Joel Valeriano Jr.
J. Oscar Dominguez and Joel Martinez’s Apollitical Ok was fourth behind Bodacious Eagle in the Leo Stakes and then third in the $50,000 Bob Moore Stakes. The gelded son of Apollitical Jess, a $15,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, was third in the 2016 $1-million Ruidoso Derby.
The Valeriano Racing Stables LLC’s homebred Silk Cartel came off a one-length win in a conditioned optional-claiming race. The Corona Cartel-sired filly gained her first stakes-placed performance.
In the 400-yard Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge, Irma Vargas’ Maxx was with the leaders within the first 100 yards and then showed why he was the even-money choice. He drew out and withstood a mild bid from runner-up Rock About It to win by three quarters of a length.
Maxx, with Jose Amador Alvarez aboard, was timed in :19.613 over a fast track that had received slight rainfall a few minutes before the start of the race.
Rocking J Running Horses’ Rock About It finished a neck in front of third-place runner Born To B Bad.
Maxx was disqualified from a win in his Sam Houston Derby trial and then a close second in the $198,000 Sam Houston Derby before coming to Ruidoso Downs. The gelding by Pyc Paint Your Wagon made his local 2017 debut in the trials to the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge and responded with a neck win as the 7-10 favorite. His time of :19.555 was the top-qualifying mark.
Trained by Judd Kearl, Maxx had a promising two-year-old season in 2016. He won the $69,000 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge and qualified for the Grade 1, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity, finishing fifth.
The Tammy Kay Johnson-trained Rock About It won his Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge trial by a head. In his prior start, the gelding by Rock Solid Jess was sixth in the Grade 1, $297,000 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park.
Melissa Slayton and Cody Bowling’s Born To B Bad, also trained by Johnson, was third to Maxx in their Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge trial. He won last summer’s John Deere Ruidoso Juvenile Challenge and was second by a neck in the $151,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship.
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