Keith Nellesen’s undefeated 2017 champion two-year-old colt KVN Corona arrived at Ruidoso Downs from Los Alamitos Race Course and is expected to make his local debut in the trials to the Grade 1, $750,000 (est.) Ruidoso Derby on May 27.
The Ruidoso Derby trials follow the two days of trials to the $1 million (est.) Ruidoso Futurity on May 25-26, the first two days of racing at Ruidoso Downs.
“He moved in very comfortably. The trip didn’t bother him at all,” said Lisa Saumell, who runs the Paul Jones stable in New Mexico. The colt raced for Jones at Los Alamitos.
KVN Corona arrived on Saturday night and will probably take his first steps on the Ruidoso Downs track on Thursday morning.
“I’ve only known him for two days and I already know he’s really friendly,” said Saumell. “His groom from Los Alamitos arrived and that’s good. He’s been with the horse for two years.
“I think he’s one of those horses that you show him something one time and he says, ‘I got it.’ He has plenty of time to acclimate to the altitude.”
KVN Corona earned his championship after winning all six of his starts last year. Those wins are highlighted by wins in the Grade 1, $960,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity and the Grade 2, $382,200 PCQHRA Breeders’ Futurity.
A son of Corona Cartel, KVN Corona is two-for-two in 2018 with a one-half length win in the Grade 3, $235,000 El Primero Del Ano Derby on March 13.
KVN Corona has been the prohibitive favorite in each of his starts.
The gray colt has earned $679,534 and could substantially raise that amount this summer at Ruidoso Downs. He could also be supplemented to the Grade 1, $750,000 (est.) Rainbow Derby and the Grade 1, $1 million All American Derby. There is a new $1 million All American Triple Crown Derby Bonus that goes to the connections of any horse who can win the three derbies.