RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (June 7, 2014) – It was a great afternoon to be owner Reliance Ranches, trainer Eddie Willis and jockey Jimmy Dean Brooks at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.
They teamed up to take the Grade 1, $943,127 Ruidoso Derby with Rock You and the first running of the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry with Coronado Cartel. The $943,127 purse for the Ruidoso Derby was an all-time record, surpassing the $822,113 pot last year.
Rock You raced to his fifth straight win and most important win by covering the 400 yards in :19.610.
Valeriano Racing Stables’ One Valiant Hero was one-half length back for second and Paul Blanchard’s Grc Justplainazoom was another neck behind for third.
Rock You ran a courageous race. “He didn’t break as sharp as he can,” said rider Jimmy Dean Brooks. He then was caught in tight quarters and fought his way to the front.
“I switched sticks and he just exploded. I was just kinda sitting on him at the end,” said Brooks.
Rock You, a $80,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, started his winning streak last December at Los Alamitos after he finished third in the Grade 1, $1 million Golden State Futurity. He won his Los Alamitos Two Million trial, however did not qualify for the finals.
Willis gave him a breather and he came back in top form for the Remington Park season this spring. After winning an allowance race, he took the $50,000 Bob Moore stakes before coming to Ruidoso. In his Ruidoso Derby trial, he raced to a three-quarter-length win as the 1-2 choice and his time of :19.539 was the fastest time from 10 trials.
“It’s incredible,” said owner Micah McKinney of Reliance Ranches. “He’s just so smart and focused. He doesn’t make any mistakes.”
Runner-up One Valiant Hero may be tiring of looking at Rock You. Also trained by Willis, One Valiant Hero was second to Rock You in the Bob Moore Stakes end then won his Ruidoso Derby trial by one length.
One Valiant Hero won the $85,000 All American Juvenile by one-and-three-quarter lengths last Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs.
In the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry, Coronado Cartel pulled away as the even-money choice to score his first stakes win in more than a year.
Coronado Cartel, a $290,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, scored his previous stakes victory when he took the $720,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity in April, 2013.
“He’s sitting right where we want him,” said McKinney. “He’s got his attitude back.”
Coronado Cartel has now won six of 10 starts with three second-place runs, including a runner-up effort in this spring’s $70,000 Mr Master Bug Stakes at Remington Park.
The powerful son of Corona Cartel overwhelmed his rivals. He raced with the leaders under jockey Jimmy Dean Brooks and then pulled out to the one-half-length win with a :19.427 time for the 400 yards.
JJ Cool L, LLC’s Belle Helene finished second by one-half length over Lord Valiant.
The Blane Wood-trained Belle Helene raced to her best finish since she finished a head-bobbing second to stablemate Ms First Prize Rose in last summer’s Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity.
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