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All American: New Mexico Moon

It’s nice to be in either All American race...but how about both?

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
August 31, 2013

handsome jack flash

Handsome Jack Flash

Just getting into the final of the $2.8 million All American Derby (G1) or the $2.6 million All American Futurity (G1) is a significant feat – hundreds try, and only 10 succeed.

But what if you were able to get into both races...and with homebreds?

That’s exactly what Dosi and Norma Alvarez and their friend Debbie Laney have done. Dosi and Norma on Sunday will run their homebred Vancouver Moon in the All American Derby, and on Monday, Norma and her sister-in-law Brenda join Debbie as owners on the Laney-bred Handsome Jack Flash in the All American Futurity.

Dosi and Norma farm about 1,000 acres at Anthony, New Mexico, growing cotton, alfalfa and chile, among other crops. They also raise horses, and currently have about 50 head on the farm.

Their tremendous success in racing started a few decades ago with a trip to W. L. Mooring’s farm, where they were looking to get a mare bred to The Adamas. While there, he showed them several three-in-one packages that were for sale for $1,200. They looked, but left without making a deal.

“We got pretty far down the road, and Dosi said ‘I can’t see how we could get hurt on that deal,” Norma said. “I said I couldn’t either.”

So they turned around and made the deal. They ended up heading home with a 1983 Pukka Gent mare named Pukka Up in the trailer. She was carrying foal by The Adamas, and at her side was her 1993 Tilt The Odds (TB) filly Tilted Moon. It was probably hard to imagine how that decision would change their lives.

Tilted Moon would finish her career as a stakes-placed runner. Her very first foal was the 1998 Major Rime mare Nagano Moon, who in an abbreviated race career would finish third in the New Mexican Spring Fling (R). Her second foal was the Royal Shake Em colt Moon Shake, who would win or place in 15 of 24 starts and earn $208,017.

It has been Nagano Moon, though, that has really developed the line. The mare – foaled during the winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan – has been a tremendous broodmare. Her second foal was the Dash Ta Fame mare Dash Ta Moon ($351,680). Two foals later, she produced the First To Flash stallion First Moonflash, a racing champion and earner of $969,828. The Dash Ta Fame mare Full Moon Dasher ($122,086) added more stakes wins to the family record, as has her 2-year-old Moonifisant (by Sixes Royal, $127,195).

Vancouver Moon – foaled just a few weeks after the close of the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada – is by FDD Dynasty and last year was second to Carters Cookie in the Rainbow Futurity (G1).

“Vancouver looks different from the rest of Nagano’s babies,” Norma says. “She’s more compact, not quite as big and has a little less bone than we normally like to see. But she was very balanced, and very light on her feet, like a deer. She moved quick and light, and we liked that. She has a beautiful personality – very loving, a very neat horse.”

Handsome Jack Flash is from the very first crop of First Moonflash. He was bred by Debbie Laney of Tularosa, New Mexico, out of her Mr Jess Perry mare Shez Jess Nice. Debbie and her husband, Stacy, work for Levi’s as fabric development experts.

Debbie and Norma have been friends for nearly 20 years, and they and Brenda partnered last year on the Alvarez-bred Gonna Cha Cha, who won the Zia Futurity (RG1) and All American Juvenile Invitational (R) before dying of colic in December. They all decided to partner this year on Handsome Jack Flash – Brenda’s second-ever horse – and saw him, too, win the Zia Futurity (RG1).

Both Vancouver Moon and Handsome Jack Flash were raised on the Alvarez farm at Anthony.

“When he was born, he was just drop-dead gorgeous,” Norma says of Handsome Jack Flash. “He reminded me of First Moonflash so much...He’s always been a favorite on the farm, has a really good personality. He wants to please, and kind of a character. You can call him from across a pasture, and he’ll just come running up to you. He’s a cool horse.”

And now the group of friends will get to watch their homebred horses run on the sport’s biggest stage.

“It’s unbelievable,” Norma says. “It doesn’t get any better than this – it’s what dreams are made of.”

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.