RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (May 31, 2014) — It’s a super Saturday on June 7 at Ruidoso Downs with the record-setting Grade 1, $934,127 Ruidoso Derby and the first running of the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry live at the track along with the simulcast of California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park.
First post time is 1 p.m. with free parking and free general admission.
The purse for the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby surpasses the previous record of $823,000 set last year.
Reliance Ranches’ Rock You raced to the fastest-qualifying time when he scored his fourth straight win in his trial. He will face the proven Grade 1 winner Turbulent Times, who made a winning Ruidoso Downs’ debut after proving to be one of the premier members of his division in California.
Rock You came through in the eighth of 10 trials to the Ruidoso Derby on May 24 when he scored a three-quarter-length victory in :19.539 for the 400 yards. The Eddie Willis-trained gelding was ready for Ruidoso Downs after winning both his 2014 starts at Remington Park, capped by a neck win in the Grade 2, $50,000 Bob Moore Stakes.
The latest time Rock You was defeated, he finished third to Turbulent Times in the Grade 1, $1 million Golden State Million last fall at Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California.
Jesus Avila and Jesus Cueva’s Turbulent Times wrapped up his two-year-old campaign with that one-half length win in the Golden State Million. He has only sustained one defeat during his six-race career and that was when he had a very troubled trip in the Grade 1, $1 million Ed Burke Million Futurity and finished fourth as the 17-10 favorite.
Turbulent Times made his first start since the Golden State Million in November when he posted a one-length win in his Ruidoso Derby trial. That win in :19.704 was just fast enough to give him a berth in the Ruidoso Derby with the co-ninth-fastest qualifying time.
Rock You has the fourth post position with Jimmy Dean Brooks aboard while Turbulent Times starts from the seventh post position with Eduardo Nicasio up.
In the Mr Jess Perry, for three-year-olds, trainer Blane Wood sends out four horses: JJ Cool L LLC’s Belle Helene, Joel Tipton’s Bp Wagon Train, Terry Stennett’s Corona Firewater and Lord Valiant, owned by R.D. Hubbard and Robert Masterson.
Belle Helene came very close to winning the 2013 Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity. The daughter of Valiant Hero lost a head-bobbing nose decision to stable mate Ms First Prize Rose.
Bp Wagon Trained qualified for last year’s Grade 1, $1 million Heritage Place Futurity and was third in the $73,000 Mr Master Bug Handicap this spring at Remington Park.
Corona Firewater has won his latest two starts while Lord Valiant has two wins from four starts.
In the Belmont Stakes, California Chrome is trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed performed the highly improbable feat in 1978, becoming just the 12th Triple Crown winner. To take the Triple Crown, California Chrome must win the Belmont Stakes at the demanding distance of one-and-one-half miles after taking the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.
California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby and then took on the Triple Crown. The flashy member of the Art Sherman barn won the Kentucky Derby by one-and-three-quarter lengths and then took the Preakness by one-and-one-half lengths. In each race, jockey Victor Espinosa kept California Chrome just off the pace and then took command in the stretch.
Ruidoso Downs will offer advance wagering on Friday for the entire Saturday Belmont program. There will also be a special double between the Metropolitan Handicap on Friday to the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
Food and drink specials, along with a variety of promotions, will be offered throughout the day in the Billy The Kid Casino adjacent to Ruidoso Downs.
For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to www.raceruidoso.com, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.