The 70th season at Ruidoso Downs gets rolling at a rapid pace on Friday afternoon with the first of two days of trials to the record Grade 1, $1 million Ruidoso Futurity.
It is the largest Ruidoso Futurity purse in history, breaking the record of $750,000 set in 2013.
The entrants for the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby trials will be determined on Sunday with the trials contested on the following Sunday, May 29. The derby on June 11 is projected to pay out a record purse of $1.2 million, exceeding the record of $943,279 set in 2014.
The Ruidoso Futurity and the Ruidoso Derby are the first two seven-figure races of an unprecedented six races at Ruidoso Downs with a purse of $1 million or more, headed by the $3 million All American Futurity on Labor Day.
The first 500 fans who purchase a program on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive a Go Man Go commemorative poster by artist Linda Manion. She will be in attendance to sign the limited edition posters. Three-time world champion and leading sire Go Man Go died in 1983 at the age of 30 and his cremated remains and headstone were moved to Ruidoso Downs earlier this year. His gravesite is located by the infield winner’s circle, which is now the Go Man Go winner’s circle. Fans are encouraged to visit the site and photos are welcome. Also, a new Chevy Camaro will be given away in the Billy The Kid Casino on Sunday night.
First post time on Friday and Saturday is 12:30 p.m. There are 15 trials each day.
There is always free parking and free general admission at Ruidoso Downs. Racing runs Friday through Monday and wraps up on Labor Day. The usual first post time is 1 p.m. It is moved up on some trial days to accommodate the increased number of races.
The two-year-olds with the five-fastest times from Friday’s trials join the horses with the five-fastest times from Saturday’s trials in the 24th running of the Ruidoso Futurity on June 12. The horses with the next five-fastest times are eligible for the $100,000 Ruidoso Juvenile, also on June 12. All the trials, the futurity and the juvenile are contested at 350 yards.
While many of the trial participants have not raced, here are some notable trial entrants.
On Friday, consider Just Call Me Carter (fifth race); Jesst A Dream, Three Six and Valorus (sixth race); and Magical Jess (eighth race).
Joel Tipton’s Just Call Me Carter is the most accomplished trial entrant. The Mike Joiner-trained gelding is two-for-two and won the $540,000 Sam Houston Futurity in his latest start. He showed his grit when he fought to a neck win in the Sam Houston Futurity.
Cody Jensen has the mount with the 10th post position.
The sixth trial proves interesting. R.D. Hubbard and Grady Stowe’s Jesst A Dream raced to the fastest time of :16.011 for 300 yards on the third of three days on Ruidoso Downs’ training races. Paul Blanchard’s Three Six posted the fastest time of :15.883 on the first day of training races. Melissa Soto’s has made two starts and comes off a fourth-place run in the Grade 2, $217,904 West Texas Futurity.
Jesst A Dream is in the third post position with Jensen up. Three Six races from the fifth post position with L. Salvador Martinez aboard. Valorus starts from the seventh post position with Oscar Cordova riding.
At Turf Paradise, Magical Jess won his Desert Classic Futurity trial in his debut and returned to finish second by a neck in the $69,237 Desert Classic Futurity as the even-money favorite. The gelding has Esgar Ramirez up with the eighth post position.
On Saturday horses to look for include, Jess Prize Me (fourth race), Magnificent Jess (fifth race) and Take The Cup (sixth race).
LMG Racing, Inc.’s Jess Prize Me is a maiden from three starts, however was a close second-place runner in the West Texas Futurity. The Chris Zamora-trained filly battled before being beaten by a neck. Jesse Lee Levario rides with the second post position.
Magnificent Jess won the Desert Classic Futurity to push her record to two-for-two. The One Sweet Jess filly has Esgar Ramirez up with the fifth post position.
Also owned by LMG Racing, Inc., Take The Cup battled to a head win in the $50,000 West Texas Juvenile. The Zamora-trained colt is unbeaten from two starts. Levario rides with the third post position.
There were no supplemental nominees to the Ruidoso Futurity trials.
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