All American: Knock On Wood

Blane Wood will saddle three qualifiers in the All American races.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 29, 2013

blane wood

(L-R) Elisas Secret, Fatal Policy and Especially Tres. PHOTOS: Richard Chamberlain

Blane Wood is loaded for the Grade 1 stakes this weekend at Ruidoso Downs. The Lubbock, Texas-based trainer has Especially Tres and Fatal Policy qualified for the $2.6 million All American Futurity and Elisas Secret qualified for the $2.8 million All American Derby.

One of the all-time leading trainers in the sport, Wood has saddled the winners of 740 of 3,869 American Quarter Horse races, with his starters earning a combined $12,358,061. Wood is the son of the late Leo Wood, who conditioned champion Pie In The Sky to win the 1979 All American Futurity, and he and son Trey Wood today have one of the most potent stables in the industry and sport. To pick a recent example, Wood sent out Ms First Prize Rose and Belle Helene to finish one-two in the $1 million Rainbow Futurity (G1) on July 21 at Ruidoso.

Each of Wood’s three All American qualifiers was ridden by Ricky Ramirez, who rides first-call for the stable. Ramirez, who rode Ms First Prize Rose in the Rainbow Futurity, has ridden the earners of more than $15.8 million.

Especially Tres (Dashair-Delightfully Tres by Tres Seis) on the first day of the Futurity trials won the second heat in :21.191, clocking the fourth-fastest time while scoring by 3 1/2 lengths. An earner of $190,120, the undefeated Especially Tres has won each of her four races, including when Trey Wood sent her out to score in the Sam Houston Futurity (G2) on April 13 in Texas. The Woods brought Especially Tres to Ruidoso for the trials to the John Deere Ruidoso Downs Juvenile Challenge (G3), where she took an easy win while nearly breaking the 350-yard track record. The sorrel filly was scratched from the August 3 John Deere final and goes into the All American Futurity with earnings of $190,120. Bred by Michael S. Partin of Montalba, Texas, Especially Tres is owned by Jim D. Pitts of Burkburnett, Texas, who in partnership with Terry Bell and Homer “Bud” Hill won the 2000 All American Futurity with champion Eyesa Special.

“Especially Tres is a dream to train,” Blane Wood said. “She is doing good, and we’re happy and fortunate to have her in there. She is an extreme pleasure to be around. We haven’t had any problems at all with her – none whatsoever. She’s real easy to handle at the barn. She’s a real aggressive filly on the racetrack, she knows what her job is – she’s a professional. She loves race day. She’s lightly raced and she loves what she’s doing. And she’s got tons of speed – she’s a speedster.”

Fatal Policy (First Down Dash-CC Policy by Corona Cartel) finished third in fourth trial on the second day of the Futurity trials, clocking the 10th-fastest :21.412 while finishing 2 1/2 lengths off the pace behind Wagon Tales and Skuze Pleeze. A maiden from five races, the sorrel gelding came into the trials off his best finish to date, when he ran second in a July 29 maiden event at Ruidoso. The earner of $3,335 is a homebred racing for Bill Price of Thackerville, Oklahoma. Price has bred the earners of more than $7.4 million, including homebred champion A Real Man ($308,819), 2012 All American Futurity qualifier BP Cartels Alibi ($537,441), Southern Takes All ($369,093) and A Snowy Cartel ($316,925).

“Fatal Policy was a colt when we got him,” Wood said. “But like a lot of colts, he just didn’t have his mind on his business. He had his mind on other things than racing back then. He was playful, but he wanted to play too tough. So he’s been gelded, and that has helped him tremendously. He needed that race in the trials to really get him ready for a hard 440 race. He’s a real pleasure to be around. He’s an easy-going horse now and he’s still really playful. I look for him to really run a big race in the All American.”

Elisas Secret (No Secrets Here-Ali Cartel by Corona Cartel) qualified ninth-fastest to the Derby when she finished fourth in the eighth trial behind Point Break Dash, Tayte Me Down and Vancouver Moon. The bay filly broke her maiden on first asking last year at Ruidoso, and since then has never finished off the board while starting only in futurity and derby trials. An earner of $9,700, Elisas Secret came into the Derby trials off a layoff extending to September 2012, when she finished second in the Dash For Cash Futurity (G1) trials at Lone Star Park in Texas. Elisas Secret was bred by Don S. Apodaca of Mesilla, New Mexico, who has bred stakes winners Hail Corona and Newarco, 33 other winners and the earners of more than $687,000. The bay filly races in the name of Iris Alvarez of Gardendale, Texas.

“We didn’t have Elisas Secret last year, but we got the filly this year,” Wood said. “We’ve had her only about 90 days. I don’t really know why the people laid her off, but when we got her she went right into training. She was obviously fresh, she was sound. She’s always looked like she had some pretty good talent, so we’re really happy to have her in there. So now I’m thinking, if all goes well, we’ll take her to Lone Star for the Texas Classic Derby (G1) and then we’ll probably take her to California. That’d be a big deal. The people who own her are really nice people and they don’t have a lot of horses, they just run a few. They are good, hard-working people and we’re going to get a check – we just don’t know how big yet.”

So the Blane Wood Racing Stable will have one runner in Sunday’s All American Derby and two in Monday’s All American Futurity.

“Right now we’re real happy about where we are,” Wood concluded. “This is right where you want to be this time of year, to have some good horses qualified for these two races. If we could win one of them, that’d just be icing on the cake.”

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.