RUIDOSO DOWNS, New Mexico (August 14, 2014) – Thunderball B set the fastest-qualifying time by the narrowest of margins on the first day of trials to the Grade 1, $2.6 All American Futurity while jockey G.R. Carter Jr. won seven of the 14 trials and was aboard four of the five finalists established on Thursday afternoon.
“The stars have to be aligned for that to happen,” hall of famer Carter, the all-time leading everything jockey, said. “It’s great.” Carter was on Thunderball B, Im A Fancy Pyc, Jm Miracle and Tempting Destiny.
Thunderball B raced the 440 yards in :21.336 while Im A Fancy Pyc was clocked in :21.337.
The horses with the five-fastest times from Thursday’s trials join the horses with the five-fastest times on Friday in the 440-yard finals on Labor Day. The winner takes home a check for $1.3 million. The All American Futurity offers the largest purse of any two-year-old race of any breed in North America.
Owned by the partnership of Pat Guthrie, Billy Smith, Paul Blanchard and Fred Grooms; Thunderball B raced in the final trial and came through with a three-quarter-length victory to win his maiden in his third start.
“He has always shown talent,” said winning trainer Mike Joiner. “In his first race, he drew the outside and got lost out there. In his second race, he was down on the rail. Today, he put it all together.”
The Fdd Dynasty-sired Thunderball B was a $40,000 yearling purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. “Mike (Joiner) said that I needed to go over and look at this horse. He really looked like a horse who wanted to run on down the track (at a longer distance). After I bought him, then all the partners wanted in on him,” said co-owner Smith.
Dustin Cox’s Im A Fancy Pyc, a $50,000 supplemental nominee to enter the trials, rolled to a four-and-one-quarter-length devastation of his rivals in the 11th trial. His time of :21.337 was nearly the fastest qualifying time.
After his dominating win, jockey Garter Jr. pulled him up on the turn and opted not to gallop him back to the winner’s circle. Instead he was given a trailer ride home to the stable of 12-time national champion trainer Paul Jones.
Jones went to the barn to meet the horse. “He’s not bad,” said Jones. “He’ll be back for the finals.”
Carter, the most experienced jockey in quarter horse racing history, was taking the wise route with the horse. “I just wanted to be safe and give him a ride (to the barn),” said Carter.
Im A Fancy Pyc was making his Ruidoso Downs debut after winning four of five starts at Remington Park. He won his first four starts and then was a troubled sixth in the Grade 1, $1,021,000 Heritage Place Futurity. His winning streak was highlighted by a hard-fought head win in the $861,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity.
The first trial day started with the official scratching of Rainbow Futurity winner Trendi from the second trial. “We’re just doing what is best for the horse,” said trainer Wes Giles. “She was getting a little belly ache and it wasn’t worth the risk.
“She’s a million-dollar horse and the derbies next year are worth so much money.”
Trendi, a $210,000 Ruidoso Select Sale Yearling purchase, is a full sister to world champion Stolis Winner, winner of the All American and Rainbow futurities on the way to his world title.
2014 Rainbow Futurity Trials Day 1 Fastest Qualifiers Final
Horse/Trial # Trial Day Trainer Jockey Wind Time
Thunderball B/14 D1 Mike Joiner G R Carter Jr. 2t 21.336
Im a Fancy Pyc/11 D1 Paul Jones G R Carter Jr. 2h 21.337
Sam Crow/9 D1 Blane Wood Ricky Ramirez 3h 21.487
Jm Miracle/12 D1 Umberto Belloc G R Carter Jr. 2h 21.497
Tempting Destiny/10 D1 Mike Joiner G R Carter Jr. 10h 21.529