Ted Abrams’ homebred Jessies First Down repeated as the world champion and led five horses that raced at Ruidoso Downs last summer named 2017 champions.
There are 12 championship awards for quarter horses racing in the United States. They are the major awards. Ruidoso Downs raced horses took eight of those titles.
The champions were announced Wednesday night in Oklahoma City by the American Quarter Horse Association.
Jessies First Down, also the 2016 world champion, earned his 2017 title with five wins from seven starts. Like 2016, he secured the sport’s top award with an impressive late season surge.
A gelding sired by Fdd Dynasty, Jessies First Down won the Grade 1, $200,000 All American Gold Cup by two-and-one-half lengths in his sole Ruidoso Downs start.
Jessies First Down was also named champion aged horse and champion aged gelding.
The Jimmy Padgett-trained Jessies First Down is the first horse since Tailor Fit (1999 and 2001) to win multiple world championships and the first horse since SLM Big Daddy (1997-1998) to win consecutive world championships.
Padgett also trained champion three-year-old Hold Air Hostage, champion three-year-old colt Duponte and champion two-year-old gelding Eagle Jazz. They all raced at Ruidoso Downs.
Darling Farms’ Hold Air Hostage raced to dominating wins in the Grade 1, $1.15-million Rainbow Derby and the Grade 1, $1.36-million All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs. The Apollitical Jess-sired gelding won the Rainbow Derby by one-and-three-quarter lengths and the All American Derby by two-and-one-half lengths.
Hold Air Hostage was also honored as champion three-year-old gelding.
Owned by Bobby Cox with Homero Parades and Kristen Ashley Parades, Duponte had a consistent summer at Ruidoso Downs racing at the highest level. The son of American Runaway was a troubled third in the All American Derby and fourth in the Rainbow Derby. He won his trials to each of those races.
Juan Medina’s homebred Eagle Jazz was sensational with a dead heat win in the Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity and a three-quarter-length victory in the Grade 1, $1-million Rainbow Futurity. The strapping son of One Dashing Eagle then dominated his All American Futurity trial by four-and-one-half lengths, however his time was not fast enough to reach the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity.
By By JJ LLC’s homebred Running Dragon, a New Mexico-bred, took champion three-year-old filly honors. The Juan Gonzalez-trained daughter of Zulu Dragon was second in the $176,000 Zia Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
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