The Blane Wood-trained pair of Myst Fit and Tough To Bee finished first and second in the Grade 3, $50,000 Higheasterjet Handicap while the improving Mi Amor Secreto took a big step forward to win the $68,940 Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.
Newman Cattle Company and Bobby Simmons’ Myst Fit parlayed a great start into another stakes win. He raced the 350 yards in :17.488 under jockey Raul Ramirez Jr.
A gelding by Separatist, Myst Fit crossed the finish line a diminishing one-half length over the late charging Tough To Bee, the 17-10 favorite. Born To B Bad was another one length back in third.
Myst Fit won the $251,000 Oklahoma Derby last year at Remington Park. The gelding then came to Ruidoso Downs and qualified for the Grade 1, $1.1 million Rainbow Derby and the Grade 1, $1.3 million All American Derby.
The Higheasterjet victory was his first win since taking his All American Derby trial last August.
“They both ran awesome,” trainer Wood said. “Myst Fit blew away from there and Tough To Bee can close.
“They just thrive up here and this should set them up for the All American Gold Cup (on September 2).”
Kelly Perez’s homebred Mi Amor Secreto, who she calls her keeper horse, raced to his first stakes win in the 400-yard Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge and showed that he should improve when the distance stretches out to 440 yards.
Mi Amor Secreto had a sluggish start and then went to work with a professional effort. His long stride caught his rivals and he then powered away to the three-quarter-length win as the 11-10 favorite.
The gelding by The Louisiana Cartel covered the 400 yards in 20.102 under jockey Santos Carrizales, who is the father of trainer Marcos Carrizales.
Corona Ranger finished second, a neck ahead of Sc Vapor Trail.
The Perez family and the Carrizales family have been close friends for nearly 20 years and have been patient with Mi Amor Secreto. He only started twice last year and was rested after a poor run in his All American Futurity trial back in August.
The late-maturing gelding came back this year as a much improved horse and should see more improvement in future races as he develops.
In his first 2018 start, Mi Amor Secreto won his trial to the Sam Houston Maiden Classic (not a stakes race) at Sam Houston Race Park. He came back in the $95,800 finals to finish a head-bobbing second. He came to Ruidoso Downs and won his trial to the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge with the fastest-qualify time of :20.271 for 400 yards while bearing in for the last half of the race. He ran straight in the Adequan Ruidoso Derby Challenge.
“He is still growing and maturing,” Perez said. “I think he’ll prefer 440 yards.” He’ll probably try a quarter mile in the All American Derby trials on August 19. That is his next projected start.
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