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Houdini, Rock You Head Strong Trials To $1.9 Million All American Derby at Ruidoso

Amanda Greer

            RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (August 9, 2014) – Two of the top-four ranked older horses in the weekly AQHA national poll – Rainbow Derby winner Houdini and Ruidoso Derby winner Rock You – head the very deep 12 trials to the Grade 1, $1,920,887 All American Derby on Saturday (August 16) at Ruidoso Downs.

            Houdini is the number-one ranked older horse while Rock You holds the number-four position.

            Also, each of three horses who earned championship titles as two-year-olds last year are entered in the All American Derby trials.

            The 12 trials surpasses the 10 trials each of the past two years.

            The 440-yard All American Derby offers the largest purse of any quarter horse derby and the All American Derby winner earns an invitation to the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion Of Champions in December at Los Alamitos.

            The horses with the 10-fastest times in the trials qualify for the All American Derby on August 31. The remaining horses in the trials become eligible for the first running of the $100,000 First Down Dash. In the First Down Dash, the field is determined the horse’s time in their trial. Faster times are given a higher priority.

            Ellen Kennedy Living Trust’s homebred Houdini has been pointed by trainer Luis Villafranco to the Rainbow and All American derbies. So far, his plan has worked brilliantly.

            After preparing for his Ruidoso Downs campaign at Remington Park with a second in the $50,000 Jack Brooks Stakes, the son of Valiant Hero moved to Ruidoso Downs and thrived.

            In his 2014 Ruidoso Downs’ debut he fought to a head win over champion Kates Dynasty in their Rainbow Derby trial with the third-fastest qualifying time. The gelding stepped forward off that challenging trial win to take the Grade 1, $1,048,682 Rainbow Derby by one-half length over fastest qualifier Her O Don Won. He was timed in a superb :20.990 time for the 440 yards.

            Houdini starts from the eighth post position in the eighth trial. Regular rider Cody Jensen is aboard.

            Reliance Ranches’ Rock You wrapped up a five-race winning streak when he won the Grade 1, $943,279 Ruidoso Derby by one-half length. He also won the Grade 2, $50,000 Bob Moore Stakes during his winning streak.

            A gelded son of Foose from the Eddie Willis barn, Rock You followed his Ruidoso Derby win with a second to Her O Don Won in their Rainbow Derby trial. He then finished seventh in the Rainbow Derby as the favorite.

            Jimmy Dean Brooks will be up on Rock You with the sixth post position in the sixth race.

            The three 2013 champions in the trials are Handsome Jack Flash, Kates Dynasty and Five Bar Cartel.

            Norma Alvarez, Brenda Alvarez and Debra Laney’s Handsome Jack Flash earned the champion two-year-old and two-year-old gelding titles with wins in the Grade 1, $2.6 million All American Futurity and the Restricted Grade 1, $409,434 Zia Futurity. He earned $1,484,971 last year.

            In his only start this year for trainer Sleepy Gilbreath, the First Moonflash gelding dominated his Rainbow Derby trial by one length. However, his time of :21.602 for 440 yards was not fast enough to reach the finals.

            Handsome Jack Flash drew the fifth post position in the third trial and has G.R. Carter Jr. aboard.

            Owned by Billy Smith, Jerry Windham and Pat Guthrie, Kates Dynasty is looking to flash the form that made her the 2013 champion two-year-old filly. She earned that title on the strength of her domination of the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity.

            This summer at Ruidoso Downs, the Fdd Dynasty filly has encountered trouble in her three starts. Her best effort for trainer Mike Joiner was finishing second by a head behind Houdini in their Rainbow Derby trial with the fifth-fastest qualifying time of :21.388.

            Carter Jr. rides Kates Dynasty from the fifth post position in the ninth trial.

            San Gregorio Racing Stable Inc.’s Five Bar Cartel makes his 2014 and Ruidoso Downs debut after being named the 2013 champion two-year-old colt with a consistent campaign at Los Alamitos.

            A son of Corona Cartel, Five Bar Cartel won the Grade 1, $1,071,000 Ed Burke Million and then qualified for the Grade 1, $1,002,700 Golden State Million and the Grade 1, $1,916,525 Los Alamitos Two Million.

            Trained by New Mexico by J.J. Gonzales II, Five Bar Cartel has the seventh post position in the fourth trial with Saul Ramirez Jr. up.

            Richard Scott’s homebred Her O Don Won is in sharp form for trainer Russell Harris. The gelding by Valiant Hero set the fastest-qualifying time of :21.323 for 440 yards to the Rainbow Derby and then finished second to Houdini in the Rainbow Derby. Last fall, he was a close second in the Grade 1, $408,915 Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park.

            Harris will have Larry Payne in the irons when they start from the inside post position in the first trial.

            Hes Relentless, who qualified for three major Grade 1 futurities at three tracks last year, comes off a third-place finish in the Rainbow Derby for trainer Jason Olmstead. The One Famous Eagle son won his two 2014 starts leading up to the Rainbow Derby, including setting a 350-yard track record at Remington Park in his seasonal debut.

            Hes Relentless drew the seventh post position in the 11th trial with regular rider Cody Rodger Smith up.

            Michael Pohl's Wagon Tales is the sole $50,000 supplemental nominee to enter the trials. The Judd Kearl-trained colt is making his first appearance since finishing a close third, beaten by a neck, in last Labor Day’s running of the Grade 1, $2.6 All American Futurity. His two-year-old campaign also included a win in the $100,000 Remington Park Juvenile and a competitive third in the Grade 1, $910,260 Heritage Place Futurity.

            Wagon Tales faces Handsome Jack Flash in the third trial. He will be ridden by Ricky Ramirez in his comeback with the eighth post position.

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