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All American: Corona Up

The filly with the misspelled name gets it right on the track.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 30, 2013

louisiana corona

Louisana Corona. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

So one of qualifiers to the $2.8 million All American Derby (G1) on Sunday goes to the starting gate as Louisana Corona. Got that? It’s not Louisiana Corona.

“That’s been the biggest question I’ve gotten so far,” said Jason Richards, who with partner Michael LeBlanc owns the bay filly by Jess Louisiana Blue out of First Down Dash’s champion and All American Futurity (G1)-winning daughter Corona Cash. “Friends of mine who aren’t in the racing business ask me why I misspelled her name. I have had to explain to them that there already was a horse named Louisiana Corona registered with the AQHA with the correct spelling.”

That horse – Louisiana Corona – is the filly’s full brother, one year her senior, who left the track as a maiden after two races in 2011.

This horse – Louisana Corona – is the seventh-fastest qualifier to the richest race in American Quarter Horse racing history.

Both were bred by Henry E. Brown of Gilbert, Arizona, who also bred champions Tiny First Effort ($445,393) and Okey Dokey Dale ($250,567), world record setter Crash Thru Traffic ($140,595), 25 other stakes winners, 205 other winners and the earners of more than $9.17 million. Already a stakes-placed earner of $41,554, Louisana Corona is one of 186 winners by champion Jess Louisiana Blue, who has sired 24 stakes winners and the earners of more than $8.3 million. Their mama, a daughter of the sport’s all-time leading sire, has produced two stakes winners,13 other winners and the earners of more than $701,000 from 25 starters.

Richards acquired Louisana Corona from Brown’s dispersal at the 2011 Heritage Place Mixed Sale in Oklahoma City.

“I was not even in attendance,” Richards said. “I had marked through my catalog the horses I wanted to buy. I had Kenny Roberts, who is one of my trainers in Louisiana, go look at her and check her out for me, make sure she was put together OK, and he called back and gave me a good report. Kenny said he really liked her, so I called and bought her on the telephone, paid $17,000 for her. As soon as I got her bought, I called my partner, Michael LeBlanc, and told him what I bought, and it took him all of about two seconds to say he wanted in.”

Richards, 39, is in medical supply distribution to doctors, hospitals, surgery centers and others around Tyler, Texas. He and wife Nicole have been married since 1999, and have sons Carson, 11, and Colton, 7; and daughter Nixon Kate, 5.

“I was introduced to the horse business by my father and also by my partner, Michael LeBlanc,” Richard said. “My Dad and Mike have been friends for over 30 years. They had owned some horses together and ran some down at Delta Downs (in Vinton, Louisiana) and they used to sneak me into Delta Downs when I was a teenager. Back then, you couldn’t go to the races without being 18 years old. They would sneak me in and let me watch horses like Mr Jess Perry and some of those other Louisiana greats. And from that point on, I knew racing was something I wanted to pursue.”

Kenny Roberts sent out Louisana Corona to finished fourth in her first start, on May 31, 2012, at Delta Downs, and the filly has not been worse than third since. With G.R. Carter Jr. in the irons for Luis Villafranco in the August 18 trials to the All American Derby, Louisana Corona clocked :21.253 while defeating Derby qualifier Feature Hero by a head in the seventh heat. Louisana Corona came into the Derby trials after a layoff extending to her a third-place finish to Llano Cartel in the $54,750 Jack Brooks Stakes (RG3) on May 26 at Remington Park.

Villafranco also qualified Wicked Courage to the Derby, after conditioning the Captain Courage gelding to win the Grade 1 Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies. Villafranco has sent out the earners of more than $12.9 million in Quarter Horse races.

“This is the first time I’ve ever qualified for a Grade 1 race,” Richards said. “This horse has taught me a lot of things, and first and foremost is you’ve got to be patient with a young horse. . . . It’s nice to see that the patience has paid off. So if you wait on a young horse, let them develop, and get them in the hands of the right trainer and jockey, the dreams you had when you bought the horse can come true.”

The All American Futurity and Derby are September 1-2 at Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Extended coverage of the All American weekend is provided by the Q-Racing Journal. Read the digital Q-Racing Journal at www.aqharacing.com. If you cannot attend the races live, watch them on Q-Racing Video at www.qracingvideo.com.