Racing

First Valiant Sign wins Ruidoso Futurity

Monday, June 8th, 2015

The day after American Pharaoh won the thoroughbred Triple Crown, First Valiant Sign took the first step towards a possible Quarter Horse Triple Crown, when he won the Grade 1, $750,000 Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on June 7.

“This is the year of the Triple Crown,” First Valiant Sign’s co-owner Derrol Hubbard said. “You’ve got to win the first one. We are very fortunate and very lucky.”

“I got all I could ask for,” said winning jockey Larry Payne. “He left the gate honest and was right there (with the leaders). About halfway through I was still behind, but knew I had the winner. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but he was making up a neck with each stride.”

To win the All American Triple Crown at Ruidoso Downs, First Valiant Sign must now win the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity and the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity, which has the largest purse of any two-year-old race in the world.

If First Valiant Sign takes the All American Triple Crown, he will earn $2,235,000 in purse money and the $4 million All American Bonus for a total of $6,235,000. American Pharaoh earned a total of $2,640,000 for winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

The last Quarter Horse to win all three Grade 1 futurities at Ruidoso Downs was world champion Special Effort in 1981, four years after Affirmed won the thoroughbred Triple Crown. American Pharaoh was the first thoroughbred Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

First Valiant Sign, a $100,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, ran the 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity in :17.310, earning $315,000 for the win.

“He’ll like more distance,” Payne said, referring to the 400 yards of the Rainbow Futurity and the 440 yards of the All American Futurity.

Owned by Hubbard with Scott Bryant, Joe Dee Brooks and R. Lee Lewis, First Valiant Sign, a gelded son of Valiant Hero, finished a neck in front of Jess Burnin, who was disqualified and placed last for interference. The disqualification moved Fine Oak Corona from third place to second place, and One Fabulous Eagle was moved from fourth place to third.

Jess Burnin’s disqualification cost Mike Joiner, also First Valiant Sign’s trainer, a one-two finish. And although First Valiant Sign was 31-1 long shot, Joiner was not surprised by his win.

“In his training race, he ran green, but he closed strongly,” said Joiner. “And the one hole was the perfect place for him today.”

First Valiant Sign finished second with a time of :17.786 in his Ruidoso Futurity trial and was the only finalist who did not win his trial. Jose Sanchez’s Fine Oak Corona, trained by Paul Jones, had the fastest time (:17.648) on the same trial day as First Valiant Sign. L. Salvador Martinez was aboard the Coronas Prospect son.

Darling Farms’ One Fabulous Eagle, a son of One Famous Eagle, was a $75,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase. Trained by Kasey Willis, One Fabulous Eagle made his racing debut with a one-length win and the second-fastest time (:17.687) on the first day of trials.

Market stability marks Keeneland Yearling Sale

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Lexington, Ky – The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the world’s premier Thoroughbred auction, closed Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, with results nearly equal to 2013, continuing a healthy trend toward market stability.

Gross receipts for the 13-day sale, held Sept. 8-21, totaled $279,960,500. A total of 2,819 yearlings were sold versus 2,744, for $280,491,300, in 2013. The average price of $99,312 was down 2.8 percent from $102,220 last year. The median remained the same as last year, at $50,000.

“The success of this sale flows from the fact that we continue to operate in a fair, realistic market,” said Keeneland vice president of sales Walt Robertson. “We had a significant improvement in results the last two years. Now we’re seeing consistency and stability in the market, which fuels optimism, heightens buyer confidence, and spurs competition.”

Trade in the upper middle market, defined as horses sold for $400,000 or more, proved exceptionally strong despite 113 fewer horses cataloged. Thirteen yearlings sold for $1 million or more, including two for the sale-topping price of $2.2 million each, compared to 18 last year. Altogether, 121 yearlings brought $400,000 or more each versus 105 sold in that price range in 2013.

Further indication of the sale’s strong performance lies in the fact that during the first weekend and week 2 of the sale, the highest-priced yearling of each session exceeded the top price for the corresponding session in 2013. In each of those sessions, a yearling sold for $100,000 or more.

“There was all-out competition for horses from start to finish, and buyers were more determined to go home with horses,” said Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell.

In addition to the U.S., Europe and Dubai, buyers from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Central and South America were also active at the sale.

John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, was the sale’s leading buyer, acquiring 22 yearlings for $7.88 million. The second-leading buyer was Ben Glass, agent for leading U.S. owners Gary and Mary West, who purchased 29 horses for $7,805,000.

This year colts by two of the world’s most successful stallions each brought the sale-topping price of $2.2 million. The first was a son of War Front consigned by Claiborne Farm and purchased by M.V. Magnier. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. bought the second top-priced yearling, a half-brother by Tapit to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day, consigned by Clearsky Farms, agent.

For the third consecutive year, Tapit, who stands at Gainesway, in Lexington, was the sale’s leading sire, with 36 yearlings that grossed $21,725,000. The average price for his yearlings was $603,472, the highest average for a sire at the September Sale since 2007, when 23 yearlings by A.P. Indy sold for an average of $858,043.

Moyglare Stud Farm paid $1.5 million for the sale’s top-priced filly, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Nereid. She was consigned by Royal Oak Farm.

During Sunday’s final session, Keeneland sold 178 horses for $1,913,300, for an average of $10,749 and a median of $6,000. There was no comparable session for last year’s 12-day sale. Lisa Orth paid the day’s top price of $120,000 for Fort Hope, a colt by Fort Prado out of the Vindication mare Zindi. The colt was consigned by MJK Bloodstock, agent.

Keeneland’s next sale will be the November Breeding Stock Sale, to be held Nov. 4-14.

Dan Urschel, 1942 – 2014

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Dan Urschel and Pie In The Sky in 1984. Sally Harrison photo

Dan Urschel, 72, Canadian, Tex., passed away on September 16, 2014, after suffering a stroke on September 3. The longtime Quarter Horse race breeder and his wife, Jolene, owners of the 3 Bar D Ranch, campaigned two All American Futurity winners, including Special Effort, the only 2-year-old Triple Crown winner in Quarter racing history.

Cattleman D.F. Urschel, Dan Urschel’s grandfather, founded the 3 Bar D in the 1930s, and Urschel’s father and mother, Lester and Mary, moved from their home state of Kansas to manage the ranch in 1946, when Dan was three.

At a prominent race sale in 1965, the Urschels purchased two-time AQHA running champion Straw Flight, by Jack Straw TB, as well as the mare’s full sister, 1961 champion 3-year-old filly Fly Straw. Bred by Dan and Mary to Rocket Bar TB, Fly Straw produced Flying Rockette, winner of the 1973 Rainbow Futurity.

Flying Rockette, when bred to their 1979 All American Futurity winner Pie In The Sky, produced Fly In The Pie, who Dan and Jolene in turn bred to Special Effort and got stakes winner Strawfly Special, a leading sire of two All American Futurity winners, Streakin Flyer and Ausual Suspect, as well as world champion Tailor Fit.

In 1981, the Urschels paid $1 million for a 2-year-old Raise Your Glass TB colt named Special Effort, who had just qualified for the Kansas Futurity. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a Quarter Horse in training. In less than three months, immediately after he qualified for the All American Futurity, Special Effort was syndicated for $15 million. Upon retirement at three, Special Effort became one of Quarter racing’s leading sires and maternal grandsires.

In 1983, the Urschels held a dispersal sale at the 3 Bar D Ranch that included Flying Rockette, as well as a stellar roster of champion mares bred to either Special Effort or Pie In The Sky. The sale grossed $4.2 million.

Earlier this year, the Urschels acquired champion sire Desirio, a son of Strawfly Special, and just days before Dan was felled by his stroke, they were among the leading buyers at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, purchasing four 2015 race prospects for a total of $480,000.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

2014 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Betchacantcatchme at $235,000

The 2014 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, held in three evening sessions preceding the running of the $1.9 million All American Futurity on Labor Day, September 1, saw an increase of 8% in average price over 2013.

From a catalog of 461 yearlings, 347 sales were completed for a total of $15,555,400, with an average price of $44,828, compared to $41,480 in 2013.

Thirty-nine yearlings sold for $100,000 or more, including sale topper Rip Tide, who brought $300,000 from Reliance Ranches, Llano, Tex. Consigned by Lazy E Ranches LLC, agent, the Corona Cartel-sired colt is out of stakes winner Little Surfer, by First Down Dash, a full sister to 2006 AQHA world champion Wave Carver, as well as two-times champion Ocean Runaway.

Lazy E Ranches, agent, was the sale’s leading consignor with 25 head that brought a total of $1,569,000 and an average of $62,760. Reliance Ranches LLC was the leading buyer with 14 purchases totaling $1,764,000.

Corona Cartel, the number one leading living sire of Quarter Horse money earners, was also the sale’s leading sire by average. His 25 yearlings sold for an average of $84,240.

The second and fourth highest sellers, Jess A Sweetie, at $260,000, and Devilwitha Bluedress, at $230,000, were purchased by AQHA president Johnny Trotter, Hereford, Tex.
Jess A Sweetie, by Apollitical Jess, is a half-sister to 3 stakes winners, including 2012 All American Futurity winner and world champion One Dashing Eagle, and was consigned by Allred Bros. Ranch LLC.
Devilwitha Bluedress, consigned by agent Belle Mere Farm, is a daughter of Corona Cartel and a full sister to 2007 world champion Blues Girl Too.

Dan and Jolene Urschel, Canadian, Tex., paid $235,000 for the third-highest seller, Betchacatcatchme, consigned by Dreams Come True Ranch, Nacogdoches, Tex. Sired by Tempting Dash, the sorrel colt is out of a half-sister to three-time AQHA champion Catchmeinyourdreams.

JM Miracle shines in All American Futurity

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

JM Miracle. Photo by Guy Harris.

“Bid, dueled, prevailed, vanned.” Those were the comments on official charts for JM Miracle, owned by Javier and Elsa Marquez’s J & M Farms, Monahans, Tex., following his win in the $2.6 million G1 All American Futurity, on Monday, September 1, at Ruidoso Downs. His time for the 440 yard dash was 21.380; the track record for the distance is 20.736, set by Strawkins in 2006.

“He warmed up pretty good, but he was a little excited in the gate,” said three-time All American Futurity winning rider Ramon Sanchez, who picked up the mount on JM Miracle when regular G.R. Carter Jr., who qualified four finalist, opted to ride Tempting Destiny. “He didn’t break in front, but he went to running. I switched (sticks) and we got the lead about midway. After that, he finish strong.”

Sent off at odds of 7 to 1, JM Miracle crossed the finish line by half-a-length and gaining. Mad About The Moon, a $5,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale graduate sired by First Moonflash and owned by David Valdez, Odessa, Tex., was second by a neck over Sam Crow, sired by Valiant Hero and owned by Terry Baber, Burkburnett, Tex.

“He’s tired; he’s exhausted,” said winning trainer Umberto Belloc, after JM Miracle was cooled with water following his win and given a ride to the barn in a van, as a precautionary measure.

A $40,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale purchase, JM Miracle was one of only two horses to qualify for the G1 $700,000 Ruidoso Futurity, the G1 $900,000 Rainbow Futurity, where he finished second, and the All American Futurity. Bodacious Eagle, who finished fifth in the All American, was the only other horse to qualify for all three futurities.

A gelded son of Volcom, JM Miracle is out of Lethal Delight, by Dean Miracle, and was bred by P.K. Thomas, who owns his sire, dam and second dam.

The order of finish for the All American Futurity: JM Miracle; Mad About the Moon; Sam Crow; Apollitical Blood; Bodacious Eagle; Exquisite Stride; Tempting Destiny; Thunderball B; and This Fire Is Cold. Im A Fancy PYC was scratched.

Too Flash For You wins $1.9 million All American Derby

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Too Flash For You

Too Flash For You, a gelded son of First Moonflash, upset favored G1 Rainbow Derby winner Houdini, to win the $1.9 million, 440-yard All American Derby, at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, August 31.

Trained by Wes Giles, for Jose Espinosa and Michele Laird, and ridden by Larry Gamez, Too Flash For You broke smartly and crossed the wire in a time of 21.305, half-a-length over Five Bar Cartel, who was second by a neck over Houdini.

“When he heard that click and the gate opened…he left and was rolling,” said Gamez. “I just talked to my horse and asked him to go a little faster. When we hit the stretch and I saw that horse on the inside (Five Bar Cartel), I went to a left-handed (stick) and got another gear.”

It was the fourth consecutive win for the New Mexico-bred gelding, a $20,000 Ruidoso Select Sale purchase, who earned $806,772 to push his career earnings to $942,188.

“Everything came together,” said Giles. “We had lots of room and a clean break and the horse ran a huge race.

“We got banged around every time last year in the finals and he never had a chance. He’s had time to mature and this year the breaks have been coming our way. He’s got a big kick on the end, when he gets out of the gate.”

The All American Derby victory was the first $1 million-plus win for both Giles and Gamez. It has been a sensational summer for Giles, who also won the $900,000 Rainbow Futurity with Trendi, and finished second on Saturday with Jesscuzican, in the $200,000 G1 All American Gold Cup.

Five Bar Cartel, 2013 AQHA champion two-year-old colt, owned by San Gregorio Racing Stable and trained by J.J. Gonzales II, broke on the lead by a head, from the inside post position; Too Flash From You dug in from post six.

Following third-placed Houdini, in order, Big Dashing Perry; Mon Ti Dash; J Bar; Kates Dynasty; The Ultimate Eagle; and Down Side Magician completed the nine-horse finish.

Trendi scores upset over Kiss My Hocks in $900,000 Rainbow Futurity

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Trendi, at odds of 44-1, pulled off the upset of the year at Ruidoso Downs by handing number-one-ranked Quarter Horse runner Kiss My Hocks his first defeat, in the Grade 1, $900,000 Rainbow Futurity on Sunday afternoon .

Ridden by Larry Gamez, Trendi covered the 400 yards in :19.525 to defeat Kiss My Hocks by a neck. Eagle On The Fly finished third, one neck behind Kiss My Hocks.

“When I got her, she had already won (a maiden race at Delta Downs),” said trainer Wes Giles, who trains the 2-year-old filly for William Smith, who purchased her for $210,000 at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

“If she would have run in the top-three I would have been happy, but you always want to win,” Giles added. “She can’t read, so she wasn’t worried (about Kiss My Hocks).”

Trendi won her first two starts, including her Ruidoso Futurity trial, but did not qualify for the Futurity. She next finished second to Logans Zoomin in their Rainbow Futurity trial, which produced the three-fastest qualifiers to the Futurity: Logans Zoomin, Trendi and Tempting Valor.

Kiss My Hocks, the 3-10 odds on Rainbow Futurity favorite, sustained his first setback after five-straight wins, including the G2 Sam Houston Futurity and the G1 $700,000 Ruidoso Futurity.

“He lost his footing (at the start) and stumbled into Jm Miracle,” said Kiss My Hocks’ rider, Cody Jensen, who won the Rainbow Derby with Houdini on Saturday. “Trendi was already gone and we just couldn’t run her down.”

Third-place finisher Eagle On The Fly, a daughter of One Famous Eagle, was trying for her third-straight win. She was a non-qualifying winner of her Ruidoso Futurity trial in her career debut and then won her Rainbow Futurity trial by one length.

Trendi’s full brother, Stolis Winner, won the 2008 Rainbow Futurity and then went on to win the All American Futurity and was named world champion as a two-year-old. Trendi and Stolis Winner are by Stoli and out of Veva Jean, by Runaway Winner.

The order of finish for the Rainbow Futurity: Trendi at 44-1; Kiss My Hocks at 3-10; Eagle On The Fly at 14-1; Bodacious Eagle at 12-1; Boi George at 28-1; Wild Sixes Cartel at 18-1; Tempting Valor at 36-1; Jm Miracle at 5-1; Logans Zoomin at 14-1.

 

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