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.
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