Darling Farms’ Rainbow Derby winner Hold Air Hostage races in an extremely deep set of 440-yard trials to Grade 1, $1,365,907 All American Derby on Sunday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
The earnings of the three-year-olds racing in the All American Derby trials approaches $11.5-million. A total of six open Grade 1 winners, two of the three 2016 champion two-year-olds (the other was retired) and the top-six finishers in last year’s Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity are entered in the All American Derby trials.
First post time for the 13 trials is 1 p.m. There is always free parking and free general admission at Ruidoso Downs.
The horses with the 10-fastest times from the trials advance to the All American Derby. The sophomores with the next 10-fastest times gain preference to race in the $100,000 First Down Dash. The All American Derby and the First Down Dash will be held on September 3, the day before the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity.
Darling Farms’ Hold Air Hostage, a $50,000 supplemental nominee to enter the trials, is the now horse after winning the Grade 1, $1.15-million Rainbow Derby in his latest start, but he faces a stern challenge from Grade 1, $1-million Texas Classic Futurity winner High Plains Perry in the 11th trial.
The fortunes of the blind draw for the trials placed Hold Air Hostage in the first post position and High Plains Perry next door in the second post position.
Hold Air Hostage won the 440-yard Rainbow Derby at the expense of High Plains Perry, who was second. The Apollitical Jess-sired Hold Air Hostage powered away from his rivals to win by one-and-three-quarter lengths.
The Rainbow Derby was the third consecutive win for Hold Air Hostage. That winning streak started with a one-and-three-quarter-length victory in the Grade 2, $297,200 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park.
Rodrigo Sigala Vallejo, who was aboard for the Rainbow Derby win, retains the mount.
Paragon Farms, LLC’s High Plains Perry successfully competes at the highest level. Back in November, the Mr Jess Perry-sired gelding battled to his game head win in the Texas Classic Futurity.
High Plains Perry competed in one of the most memorable races this summer at Ruidoso Downs, the Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Derby. The Trey Wood-trained gelding finished just a nose behind Tough To Bee and Magical Jess, who finished in a dead heat for the win. Therefore, the top three horses finished just a nose apart from each other.
Ricky Ramirez has been the only jockey on High Plains Perry and will be in the saddle.
Also owned by Paragon Farms, LLC and trained by Wood, Tough To Bee is also in an excellent trial — the seventh heat — when he lines up against All American Futurity third-place finisher Coronas First Diva, owned by Julianna Hawn Holt.
Prior to his dead heat win in the Ruidoso Derby, Tough To Bee was a close third behind stablemate High Plains Perry in the Texas Classic Futurity and then he came back to win the $62,000 Mr Master Bug Stakes at Remington Park.
Ricky Ramirez has the mount with the third post position.
Champion two-year-old filly Coronas First Diva, a daughter of Corona Cartel, started her career with a win in the Grade 3, $440,000 Oklahoma Futurity and a fifth-place run in the Grade 1, $1-million Heritage Place Futurity. She battled on the front end of the All American Futurity before being run down by closers Imperial Eagle and The Marfa Lights.
Trainer Mike Joiner has named G.R. Carter Jr. to ride Coronas First Diva from the fifth post position.
Charles and Christina Robinson’s champion two-year-old Imperial Eagle starts the afternoon when he runs in the first trial.
Imperial Eagle won the 440-yard All American Futurity by a neck in his battle with The Marfa Lights, who races in the ninth trial. Imperial Eagle then won the Grade 1, $200,000 Southwest Juvenile Championship, also at 440 yards.
The Tony Sedillo-trained Imperial Eagle made his 2017 debut in the Ruidoso Derby trials and finished third after a tight start. He came back in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry on June 10 to win by a neck as the even-money choice.
Esgar Ramirez rides Imperial Eagle from the seventh post position.
The racing stays enticing in the second trial with Nueve Racing’s always dangerous Apolltical Chad. The Wes Giles-trained Apolltical Chad won the 2016 Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity and was then fourth in the All American Futurity. The gelding came back this summer to qualify for the Ruidoso Derby and the Rainbow Derby.
G.R. Carter Jr. picks up the mount on Apolltical Chad, a $38,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, with the seventh post position.
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