Bill Robbins’ champion and All American Futurity winner Apocalyptical Jess makes his first start at Ruidoso Downs since winning the Grade 1, $3-million All American Futurity on Labor Day when he races in the 10 trials to the Grade 1, $957,483 Ruidoso Derby on Sunday afternoon.
It is the second-largest purse in the history of the Ruidoso Derby, surpassed only by the 2016 running’s purse of $1,068,631.
Apocalyptical Jesswas honored as the 2018 champion two-year-old gelding. Also in the Ruidoso Derby trials are Scott’s Bryant’s 2018 champion two-year-old Flash and Roll along with Paragon Farms’ champion two-year-old colt Flying Cowboy 123.
All three of last year’s two-year-olds who earned a championship title are in the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby trials.
First post time for the 10 Ruidoso Derby trials is 1 p.m.
Racing will be held on Monday, Memorial Day. Highlighting the Monday program is the first running of the $116,840 Ruidoso Maiden Stakes with impressive fastest-qualifier Valiant Tiberias.
The horses with the 10-fastest times from the Ruidoso Derby trials earn a spot in the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby and the horses with the next 10-fastest times are eligible to race in the $100,000 Mr Jess Perry. Both races are on June 8.
If a horse can win the Ruidoso Derby, the $750,000 (est.) Rainbow Derby and the $1-million (est.) All American Derby, then that horse’s connections take the $1-million Triple Crown Derby Bonus. Three horses have swept the three derbies — My Easy Credit (1977), Dash For Speed (1988) and Dm Shicago (2005). There was no bonus available when these horses won the three Grade 1 derbies.
Apocalyptical Jess raced to his first stakes win when he won the All American Futurity by three quarters of a length for trainer Blane Wood. He then went to Lone Star Park and had a slow start in the Grade 1, $1,014,657 Texas Classic Futurity, finishing sixth behind stablemate Flying Cowboy 123.
A gelding sired by Apollitical Jess, Apocalyptical Jessreturned this year under the tutelage of Wood’s son Trey and continued to be a national force. He has a lot of energy, so Trey Wood ran him in the trials to the $319,975 Oklahoma-bred Derby at Remington Park. He responded with a trial win and the fastest qualifying time.
In the Oklahoma-bred Derby on April 20, Apocalyptical Jess dominated by one-and-three-quarter lengths as the 7-10 favorite. The win boosted his career earnings to $1,665,022.
Since the Oklahoma-bred Derby win, Apocalyptical Jess has been at Ruidoso Downs and “has been feeling really good … super, super good,” Trey Wood said.
Apocalyptical Jess starts in the ninth Ruidoso Derby trial. He has the 10th post position and Ricky Ramirez is the rider.
Flash and Roll, a $200,000 Ruidoso Select Sale purchase, comes back to Ruidoso Downs — the site of her only defeat from seven starts — in the sixth Ruidoso Derby trial. A year ago, she was a troubled seventh in the Ruidoso Futurity as the 9-5 favorite.
A daughter of First Moonflash, Flash And Roll traveled to Los Alamitos Race Course last fall and secured her championship with a one-half length win in the Grade 1, $977,000 Golden State Million Futurity and then won the Grade 1, $1,878,000 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in December. That was her most recent start.
Trainer Mike Joiner will have James Flores ride Flash and Roll from the fifth post position in the sixth race.
Flying Cowboy 123, a half-brother to 2011 world champion Cold Cash 123, returns in the Ruidoso Derby trials after securing the 2018 champion two-year-old colt title with his Texas Classic Futurity victory. He closed out his two-year-old season and made his latest start when he won the Texas Classic Futurity by a head back in December.
The son of Apollitical Jess was awarded second place through a disqualification in last summer’s Grade 1, $1-million Rainbow Futurity.
Ramirez has the mount in the seventh trial and starts from the fourth post position.
The fourth trial presents two outstanding futurity winners — Newman Cattle Company’s Blue Corazon along with Tom Maher and Dick Tobin’s Lynnder 16.
The Trey Wood-trained Blue Corazon won last year’s Grade 1, $1-million Ruidoso Futurity by one-half length.
Ramirez is up with the 10th post position.
Lynnder 16 won last year’s $846,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Futurity and finished eighth in the All American Futurity.
The Jason Olmstead-trained Lynnder 16 was third behind Apocalyptical Jess in the Oklahoma-bred Derby.
Regular rider Cristian Esqueda will be aboard with the fourth post position.
The first 500 people who buy a program on Sunday receive a free t-shirt. Also on Sunday, the iconic Red Steagall will provide a special Memorial Day weekend performance and there will be the unveiling of a large American flag on the track.
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