Jockey Mike Smith’s Triple Crown Victory Celebration and nine trials to the Grade 1, $801,564 Rainbow Derby combine for an historic Sunday at Ruidoso Downs.
Triple Crown posters will be on sale for $10 and they go on sale near the hamburger stand in the grandstand at 11 a.m. Smith will be signing posters at 1 p.m. at the east end of the grandstand. Those posters cost $25. All proceeds benefit Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
A Roswell, New Mexico native, Smith grew up near Dexter and won his first race at Santa Fe Downs in 1982. He won this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes aboard Justify, the 13th Triple Crown winner. Smith is the oldest Triple Crown winning jockey at 52.
Smith and Justify gave trainer Bob Baffert his second Triple Crown win. He also swept the three classic races with American Pharoah in 2015.
Inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2003, Smith has amassed a remarkable career record. He has won nearly 5,500 races and his mounts have earned $314 million.
A two-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding jockey, Smith has 26 wins in Breeders’ Cup races and seven wins in Triple Crown races.
Ruidoso Downs is the only track that will host Smith.
Smith has his Triple Crown win and Ricardo Bernal and Reymundo Resendez’s Jess Move You will try to take another step towards the All American Triple Crown in the Rainbow Derby trials. If he can win the 440-yard Rainbow Derby and then the Grade 1, $1 Million (est.) All American Derby, he will take the first $1-million All American Triple Crown Derby Bonus.
Jess Move You scored the career-defining win of his 10-race career with his win in the Grade 1, $759,197 Ruidoso Derby. It was also his third consecutive victory. He won the $25,000 Las Animas Stakes at SunRay Park to start the streak. He also won his Ruidoso Derby trial with the second-fastest time of :20.154 for the 400 yards.
“We took him to the track and he went like a million bucks,” trainer Rudy Valles said. “He came out of the Ruidoso Derby great. He’s feeling good, eating well and happy.”
A gelding by Apollitical Jess, Jess Move You won the Ruidoso Derby from the inside post position and drew the seventh post position in the sixth race. Agustin Silva will ride.
“I like the seven hole, but I don’t know how race will go,” Valles said. “I hope Mother Nature is good to us.”
Trainer Wes Giles will saddle Juan Medina’s homebred Eagle Jazz and Melvin Neugebauer’s Uptown Dynasty.
Eagle Jazz, the 2017 champion 2-year-old gelding, is trying to step up after running a non-qualifying third in his Ruidoso Derby trial. The One Dashing Eagle-sired gelding earned his championship with wins in the Grade 1, $1 million Ruidoso Futurity and the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity.
Silva rides Eagle Jazz when they start from the second post position in the second race.
Uptown Dynasty finished fourth in the Ruidoso Derby as the 7-5 favorite. He earned that support after a sensational trial win by three-and-three-quarter lengths with the fastest-qualifying time of :20.116 for 400 yards.
G.R. Carter Jr. rides the Mr Jess Perry-sired Uptown Dynasty from the fourth post position in the eighth race.
Fly Baby Fly Partnership’s Fly Baby Fly, a daughter of champions One Famous Eagle and Heartswideopen, tries to regain her top form after a disappointing eighth-place run in her Ruidoso Derby trial.
Last summer, Fly Baby Fly made all of her five juvenile starts at Ruidoso Downs. She was fourth in the Rainbow Futurity and then flew past her rivals to win the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity by one-and-one half lengths.
An earner of $1,585,200, Fly Baby Fly is in the ninth race with the sixth post position and Rodrigo Vallejo up.
The two $40,000 supplemental nominees to the Rainbow Derby trials are Political Attraction and Df Aj Green Leaves, a couple of offspring of Apollitical Jess.
Rodrigo Marquez Jr. and Kathy Robinson’s Political Attraction had a terrible start in the $317,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby and finished seventh as the even-money choice. He was the fastest qualifier to the Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby.
Political Attraction comes off a win in the $69,000 Boyd Morris Memorial Handicap at Remington Park.
Darling Farms’ Df Aj Green Leaves won the Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby and overcame a bump at the start to finish second in the $363,790 Heritage Place Derby (G2).
The filly is in the top form of her career with two wins and that troubled second in the Heritage Place Derby in her latest three efforts.
The horses with the 10-fastest times from the Rainbow Derby trials qualify for the Rainbow Derby on July 21. The horses with the next 10-quickest times gain priority to race in the $100,000 Corona Cartel on the same program.
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