All American Handicapping

Q-Racing Ace Denis Blake offers his thoughts on the holiday weekend’s big races.

September 2, 2012

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Want an insider’s look at Monday’s record-setting Grade 1, $2,400,000 All American Futurity and Sunday’s record-setting Grade 1, $2,234,539 All American Derby? Q-Racing Ace Denis Blake knows all the daily happenings in quarter horse racing and has given this year’s fields his in-depth research.

The Q-Racing Aces are a select group of Quarter Horse experts and Blake, along with Martha Claussen, will be answering any questions about Quarter Horse racing at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday and Monday in the lower level of the grandstand.

Blake is a racing magazine publisher and editor and is nationally known for his insightful handicapping skills.

Here is his perspective:

Not only are the All American Derby and All American Futurity the two richest races of their kind in the world, but the marquee events at Ruidoso Downs this holiday weekend annually attract nearly $1 million in combined wagering. In addition to a full menu of betting options on the All American Derby and the All American Futurity, handicappers will have the option of playing the All American Double, which requires picking the winner of both 440-yard races.

All American Derby

1st – Ochoa figures to be a heavy favorite in the All American Derby, and rightfully so after winning last year’s All American Futurity, taking this year’s Grade 1, $900,000 Rainbow Derby and easily winning his All American Derby trial. Even though he only has the sixth-fastest qualifying time, last year’s champion 2-year-old ran later in card on trial day when a sloppy track surface slowed down the final times. If he wins this race, he will set the all-time earnings mark for American Quarter Horse racing.

2nd – BPS Jumpin Frisco has hit the board in all six of his starts this year, mostly at Remington Park. He ran a strong race in his All American trial and could improve with his second outing of the year at Ruidoso.

3rd - Testing The Ice appears to be a new horse after taking a break from racing from February to June of this year. He returned to win a 350-yard allowance race and then won again in his All American trial.

Here is a look at the rest of the field in alphabetical order:

Bills Last finished a troubled ninth in last year’s All American Futurity and now returns for a shot at the Derby. Although rain is not forecast, his chances could improve on an off track as he has a win and a second in two off track starts.

Eyein This Feature scored a 13-1 upset in his trial and is likely to be a longshot again in this race, but if he can take another step forward he could be a factor.

Hez Our Secret won his trial in a dead heat with A Toss Up and has improved his speed figure in each of his starts this year.

Jess Featureme Quick has the smallest bankroll in the field at $12,330, but he has won two of his last three starts and comes from the powerful Paul Jones barn.

Linda Tee Fire competed in last year’s Grade 1, $1,158,000 Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park, and although he is winless in six starts at Ruidoso he does have four seconds and a third.

Lotta Love For Robyn, the only filly in the field, closed well to finish fourth behind Ochoa in last year’s All American Futurity, and she has hit the board in five of seven starts at Ruidoso.

All American Futurity

1st – New Mexico-bred PJ Chick In Black has been simply spectacular with five wins in as many starts, including a dominating five-and-three-quarter-length victory in her All American trial with the fastest qualifying time. The fact that all the horses in her trial were maidens likely contributed to that impressive win margin, but her final time proves she was the fastest horse on trial day. Now she will try to prove she is the fastest horse on Labor Day.

2nd – Native Tea Rose, the second filly in the field with PJ Chick In Black, should provide handicappers with a solid price, and she has a chance to upset the field. Her jockey, Cody Jensen, is a two-time winner of the All American Futurity, and her pedigree helped her sell for $330,000 at last year’s Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

3rd – One Dashing Eagle came in from Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California after winning the Grade 1, $1,001,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity and he won the last of 26 All American trials to make it to the final. His time probably would have been faster if he had not lugged out toward the rail, so with a straighter trip he could find the winner’s circle.

Here is a look at the rest of the field in alphabetical order:

Aha Moment is a son 2006 All American Futurity winner No Secrets Here. After a game effort from the rail to win his trial in a dead heat with BP Cartels Alibi, Aha Moment will move to the far outside post for the final.

BP Cartels Alibi captured the Grade 1, $1,048,560 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park before shipping to Ruidoso and winning his All American trial in a dead heat with Aha Moment. That 440-yard trial was his first start beyond 350 yards, and he appeared to relish the extra distance.

Just Wanna Corona broke his maiden stylishly in the All American trials with a two-and-one-half-length victory. That was his first start in more than three months, so it’s possible he could improve again in his second start off a layoff.

Krash Cartel nearly defeated PJ Chick In Black in the Ruidoso Futurity and is drawn to her inside in the All American, which could set them up for another showdown. In four career starts he has never been beaten by more than a neck.

Mr Perry Cartel showed significant improvement in his All American trial when he scored at odds of 26-1 after finishing a non-threatening third in his only other start. His two starts make him the most inexperienced horse in the field and also the most difficult to gauge.

Sudden Thoughts tasted defeat for the first time in his three starts when he ran second in the final trial to One Dashing Eagle. He drew the rail for the final, just as he did in the trials.