Double A Ranch, Inc.’s Paint My Pilot needed every inch of the 400 yards in the Grade 2, $50,000 Mr Jet Moore Handicap to secure the victory during Pink Day at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.
Pink Day raised money and awareness of Breast Cancer and women connected to horseracing could sign up for free mammograms.
Johnny Trotter’s Bodacious Eagle, the 8-5 favorite, blasted away from the inside post position in the Mr Jet Moore and the powerful son of One Famous Eagle appeared to have the victory secured passing the halfway point. The Yordanis Amaro-ridden Paint My Pilot accelerated on the outside the track and reached the finish line just in time to catch Bodacious Eagle and win by head.
Paint My Pilot raced the 400 yards in :19.400 while Bodacious Eagle was timed in :19.412.
Michael and Beth Harper’s Firing Tools was one-and-one-half lengths back for third.
The Mr Jet Moore is a major prep race for the Grade 1, $200,000 All American Gold Cup on September 2. Most of the top Mr Jet Moore participants should return for the 440-yard Gold Cup.
“He needed this race,” said an emotional trainer Jorge Gonzalez. “We’ll see how he pulls up, but this race should set him up for the Gold Cup. The 440 yards is no problem.”
A four-year-old son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, Paint My Pilot was making his first start in the Mr Jet Moore since he ran a close third in the $50,000 Bob Moore Stakes at 300 yards back in April at Remington Park.
Paint My Pilot, a $68,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, won the Grade 3, $213,000 Dash For Cash Derby last fall at Lone Star Park. He has now won six of 15 starts and earned $367,969.
Bodacious Eagle was making his first appearance since a third-place run in the Grade 1, $250,000 Remington Park Invitational on June 2. His close second-place effort should also ensure his fitness for the Gold Cup.
Cody Jensen rode Bodacious Eagle for the first time and the six-year-old gelding is trained by Mike Joiner.
Last year, Bodacious Eagle, an earner of $884,036, won the Grade 2, $50,000 Eastex Handicap, the Grade 1, $100,000 Leo Stakes and the Grade 3, $50,000 Higheasterjet Handicap in consecutive starts. Last fall, he went to Los Alamitos Race Course and finished second in the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Championship at 440 yards.
Firing Tools, a 9-1 outsider, ran a solid race to finish third for trainer Mike Robbins. He was second in this year’s Grade 1, $100,000 Leo Stakes and fourth in the Higheasterjet Handicap in his previous start.
Regular rider Stormy Smith was aboard Firing Tools, a $67,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase.
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