This season at New Mexico’s famous Ruidoso Downs marks the 50th running of the All American Futurity for Quarter Horses. Racing gets underway Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 with 12 trials for the G1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity and G1, $300,000 Ruidoso Derby. The $2 million All American Futurity, on Labor Day, September 1, closes out the Ruidoso Quarter Horse meet.
Friday’s Ruidoso Futurity trials feature seven of the 10 finalists in the Grade 1, $300,000 West Texas Futurity, the only Grade 1 two-year-old race held this year in New Mexico. Second and third-placed West Texas contenders Feature Ten and Jodys Money Pop are among Ruidoso trial entrants.
Feature Ten, sired by Feature Mr Jess and trained by Wes Giles, challenged for the lead in the West Texas Futurity, but was unable to hold off stablemate Fast Prize Zoom, the odds-on favorite, whose 14.67-second time set a world record for 300 yards.
Six-time national champion Paul Jones has 24 entrants in the Ruidoso Futurity trials, more than any other trainer. Amador Gold is one of the few Jones trial competitors that is not a first-time starter. Supplemented into the Ruidoso Futurity at the cost of $15,000, she won her maiden at Los Alamitos in her first start, then finished fourth in her G1 Kindergarten Futurity trial at the Southern California track. In that trial she was beaten by the Jones-trained Revv It Up, who went on to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Kindergarten Futurity on May 17.
The horses with the 10 fastest times from the Ruidoso Futurity trials gain eligibility to the Ruidoso Futurity on June 8.
Reigning All American Futurity winner and AQHA world champion 2-year-old filly Heartswideopen is on schedule to make her 2008 debut on Saturday, May 24, in the Ruidoso Derby trials. It will be the first start since Labor Day 2007 for the Carl Draper-trained daughter of Feature Mr Jess.
Last year, Heartswideopen, who had by-passed the Rainbow Futurity, after her gate-to-wire Ruidoso Futurity win, set a world record for a female at 440-yards (20.92 seconds), during the All American Futurity trials. Following her $1 million victory in the All American Futurity, she had successful surgery to remove chips from her right knee and right ankle and did not compete for the remainder of the year.
“She’s excellent. She cleaned up well,” said Draper, who laid out plans for a 2008 campaign for Heartswideopen similar to the one that he used for DM Shicago, when the gray gelding won the 2004 All American Futurity, then swept the Ruidoso, Rainbow and All American derbies the following summer. DM Shicago is the only All American Futurity champion to return the next year and win all three Grade 1 events. The trio of victories earned him the title of 2005 world champion.