Ruidoso Futurity winner First Valiant Sign established himself as the probable favorite for the $1.5 million first-place prize in the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity with the fastest qualifying time from 17 trials on Saturday afternoon.
There were also 17 trials on Friday afternoon with the five-fastest horses from each day advancing to the 440-yard All American Futurity on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs. The All American Futurity offers the largest purse of any two-year-old race in the world.
The horses with the next five-fastest times lead the horses eligible for the $200,000 All American Juvenile.
On each day of trials, four of the five qualifiers passed through the ring at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. This year’s sale will be held on Labor Day weekend.
Owned by the partnership of Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks, R. Lee Lewis and Derrol Hubbard, First Valiant Sign was brilliant in the 12th trial. The powerful gelding showed he is a true 440-yard runner by easily disposing of his competition in the last half of the trial. He was timed in :21.582 while winning by one length as the1-2 favorite.
G.R. Carter Jr. was aboard for the win and he was also aboard third-fastest qualifier Jess Good Candy. He also qualified Sky Bo Dash and Giving It All. He qualified four of the 10 All American Futurity finalist over the two days.
“I’ll get on all of them before the futurity,” said Carter Jr. “But, it would be really tough not to ride First Valiant Sign.”
First Valiant Sign is just a neck away from racing for the $4 million All American Triple Crown Bonus that would be awarded to his connections if he would have won the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American futurities.
The Valiant Hero-sired gelding only shows two wins from his five starts, however that is deceiving. After winning the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity, he was second in his Rainbow Futurity trial and qualified for the finals.
In the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity, First Valiant Sign was bumped around between horses at the start and forced to make up ground. He showed his brilliant speed to rally only to come up a neck short and settle for second. It is that neck that is between First Valiant Sign and his opportunity to race for the $4 million bonus.
“I’m still so excited,” co-owner Derrol Hubbard. “We knew we had a special horse and he is just a sweetheart. Most people don’t get one horse like this in their lives.”
Trainer Mike Joiner conditions First Valiant Sign and also trains fourth-fastest qualifier McClintock B. He was second in the fourth trial behind third-fastest qualifier Jess Good Candy.
Jess Good Candy was timed in :21.642 while McClintock B stopped the clock in :21.646.
McClintock B is owned by McClintock B Partnership. It is comprised on Pat Guthrie, Billy Smith, Trevor Smith, Andy Grooms and Paul Blanchard.
A $175,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, McClintock B forced his owners to wait through 13 trials to see if he qualified for the All American Futurity. “I think I lost 25 pounds,” said co-owner Billy Smith after the trials.
The Estate of Carl Pevehouse’s Jess Good Candy, trained by Clinton Crawford, remained unbeaten from three starts with the nose win as the 11-10 favorite.
“Now that’s a good horse,” said Carter Jr. “He’s a big, strapping good-looking colt.”
James Markum and Steve Burns’ Hatefulist, a $24,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, raced to the second-fastest qualifying time of :21.596 while winning the 11th trial by one-half length as the 2-5 favorite. The Paul Jones-trained colt has won each of his four lifetime starts and will be making his stakes debut in the All American Futurity.
Crooked Path, the second-fastest qualifier from Friday’s trials, is owned and bred by Burns.
Hatefulist and Crooked Path are longtime acquaintances.
“They have the same owners and always work together, said Jones’ assistant Lisa Saumell. “We call Hatefulist “The Gerbil.” I love this little horse.”
Jones added,” He’s just an amazing little horse and gutsy.”
2015 All American Futurity Qualifiers
Friday, 8/21/14 Day 1
Horse/Trial # Trainer Jockey Wind Time
One Fabulous Eagle/13 D1 Kasey Willis Cesar Gomez 0 21.452
Crooked Path/15 D1 Paul Jones L. Sal Martinez 0 21.541
Tf Im That Guy/17 D1 Juan Gonzalez Joe Badilla Jr. 0 21.563
Sky Bo Dash/10 D1 Dwayne Gilbreath G.R. Carter Jr. 6h 21.579
Giving it All/17 D1 Brian Muse G.R. Carter Jr 0 21.662
Saturday, 8/2/14 Day 2
First Valiant Sign/12 D2 Mike Joiner G.R. Carter Jr. 5t 21.582
Hatefulist/11 D2 Paul Jones L. Sal Martinez 2t 21.596
Jess Good Candy/4 D2 Clinton CrawfordG.R. Carter Jr. 3t 21.642
McClintock B/4 D2 Mike Joiner Joe Badilla Jr. 3t 21.646
Lethal Volcom/11 D2 V. Rodriguez-Flores Manuel Gutierrez2t 21.654
2015 All American Futurity Juvenile Qualifiers
Friday, 8/21/14 Day 1
Challon/12 D1 Kasey Willis Cesar Gomez 3h 21.668
Perrys Stamina/12 D1 Dwayne Gilbreath Cody Jensen 3h 21.702
Jess B Heroic/14 D1 Mike Joiner G.R. Carter Jr. 0 21.704
Card Games/14 D1 Cody McCart Larry Payne 0 21.715
Bv Midnight Express/13 D1 Eddie Lee Willis Russel Hadley 0 21.722
Saturday, 8/22/14 Day 2
Game Changes/16 D2 V. Rodriguez-Flores Raul Herrera 0 21.666
Fine Oak Corona/10 D2 Paul Jones L. Sal Martinez 8t 21.669
Streakinjess for Lmg/2 D2 Chris Zamora Jaime Parga Leos0 21.683
Famous Little Reba/11 D2 Blane Wood Ricky Ramirez 2t 21.684
El Corcel/4 D2 Juan Gonzalez Adrian Ramos 3t 21.729