Champions Headline Ruidoso Trials

Ochoa, Feature Mr Bojangles return to races at Ruidoso.

May 21, 2012

Two of the three champion 2011 juveniles, Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles, will make their 2012 debuts on Saturday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs in the six trials to the $679,207 Ruidoso Derby (G1).

The six trials will run as the first six races on the program. First post time is 1 p.m. with free parking and free general admission. Additional information on Ruidoso Downs may be found at or by following Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.

The 2011 champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding, Ochoa made each of his four career starts at Ruidoso Downs last summer and his impressive campaign led to being honored as Quarter Horse racing’s best 2-year-old. The Tres Seis gelding won three of his four starts, including the All American Futurity (G1), with his only setback a late-running third-place finish in the Ruidoso Futurity (G1). Ochoa is  owned by J Bar 7 Ranch, Cluck and Benson, Ochoa.

Hall of Fame trainer C. Dwayne "Sleepy" Gilbreath rested Ochoa over the winter and pointed him to the summer derbies at Ruidoso Downs. His final work was an impressive 220-yard drill from the gate in :12.01 while under a hold. Roy Baldillez, who was up on Ochoa in the All American Futurity, has the mount with the seventh post position in the first trial.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer and S/M Cattle Export Company, Feature Mr Bojangles was honored as champion 2-year-old colt after racing to three futurity wins, highlighted by his half-length win in the $700,000 Rainbow Futurity (G1). His other futurity scores came in the Four Corners Futurity at SunRay Park and the Hobbs America Futurity (G2) at Zia Park.

The Feature Mr Jess-sired Feature Mr Bojangles was a troubled second-place finisher in his career debut nearly one year ago and has been undefeated in his six subsequent starts. Trainer Roberto Sanchez will have champion jockey G.R. Carter Jr. on Feature Mr Bojangles with the seventh post position in the fourth trial.

Last year’s Ruidoso Futurity (G1) winner Silver For Me returns to try and make the step towards having the opportunity for the futurity-derby sweep. He is winless in four starts dating back to his win in his Rainbow Futurity trial and is in the strong third trial. Owned by Gary Hartstack and B&B Electric, the gelding faces All American Futurity (G1) third-place finisher Tee Cos and finalist Bills Last, who had a very troubled trip in the track's premiere race.

The sole supplement to the Ruidoso Derby trials is Executive Brass, who is riding a two-race winning streak for owners John Thurmond and Sherree Meridyth. Last year, he was a finalist in the West Texas Futurity (G1) and was second to Feature Mr Bojangles in the Four Corners Futurity at SunRay Park.

Executive Brass starts in the fifth trial and faces last year’s Ruidoso Futurity runner-up Back In The Pack, who comes off a third-place finish against older mares in the Merial Remington Distaff Challenge on May 6.