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All American: Relentless Pursuit

Hes Relentless goes for the million in the All American Futurity.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 26, 2013

hes relentless

Hes Relentless. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

Racing, as the old saying goes, is a sport of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Sometimes overlooked is the in-between, the moderate highs and lows. Case in point: Hes Relentless, who has earned $177,880 while winning three of four career races but came into his August 15 All American Futurity (G1) trial off a second-place finish to Big Biz Perry when Amber Blair sent him out as the even-money favorite in the $910,260 Heritage Place Futurity (G1) on June 1 at Remington Park.

“I was a little disappointed,” admitted Tom Maher, an attorney in Pierre, South Dakota, who bought the One Famous Eagle colt for $63,000 at the Heritage Place Yearling Sale. “But that filly got a wonderful break – and I’ve had wonderful breaks, too, so I can appreciate that. I’m happy for that filly and her connections, the Espinoza family out of Edinburg, Texas. They’re good people, and I’m happy that they have a wonderful filly like that.”

Hes Relentless is bred by Gary and Donna Hall’s Sunflower Supply Co. of Galena, Kansas, who have bred the earners of more than $1.57 million, including 2011 champion Miss Racy Jess. The colt is by champion and sophomore sire One Famous Eagle, who has sired the earners of more than $4.1 million, including world champion and All American Futurity winner One Dashing Eagle. Hes Relentless is out of the Strawfly Special mare This Dreams Flying ($13,109), a half sister to champion and All American Futurity winner Heartswideopen, champion Special Phoebe, graded stakes winner Furyofthewind (who has sired the earners of more than $2.69 millon) and two other stakes winners.

“When we saw (Hes Relentless) at the Heritage Sale, he was so balanced, he looked like a 2-year-old in a yearling sale and he had a very intelligent and kind eye,” Maher said. “I was with Jason Ohlmstead – he’s Amber’s husband and he galloped horses for me before he started training. When Jason and I first saw the horse, he immediately went to No. 1 on our list.”

Maher was the sole owner when Hes Relentless ran in the Heritage Place. Hes Relentless now is owned by Maher in a Tularosa, New Mexico-based partnership with R.D. Hubbard and Johnny Cope, who obtained their interest after the colt arrived at Ruidoso Downs. Hubbard owns Ruidoso Downs, of which the general manager is his son Shaun Hubbard. Cope is in the oil and related businesses, and his wife, Marty, is a former chair of the New Mexico Racing Commission. The partners paid the $50,000 supplemental nomination fee to enter Hes Relentless in the trials to the All American.

Born in 1946, Maher and wife Peggy married in 1968 upon his graduation from the University of South Dakota. Maher had a double major in history and political science, earned a master’s degree in public finance at the University of Virginia and got his law degree at Cornell University before entering practice in 1973. The couple have son Tom Jr., an attorney in the firm, who with wife Kristie has four children; daughter Tammy Brake, who with husband Brandon have two children and is a surgical nurse at the hospital in Pierre; and son Tim, an assistant U.S. attorney in the federal courthouse at Pierre, who with wife Jamie Kneip Maher, have two children.

“Peggy and I will probably leave Pierre in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and drive straight through to Ruidoso – 19 hours,” Maher said. “We kind of got into the habit when we used to have to do that, because we couldn’t afford a hotel room when we first started out.”

Maher accepted the mild low when Hes Relentless ran second in the 350-yard Heritage Place Futurity. But the colt’s flight up from off the pace to nearly catch the winner pointed to what could be the highest of highs in Quarter Horse racing.

“He’ll be ready to go 440 yards,” Maher said at the time, with a wink and a smile. “We’re taking him to Ruidoso.”

Read the profile for Hes Relentless.

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.