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Champs Rematch in Rainbow Derby

Ochoa, Feature Mr Bojangles face off in Rainbow Derby.

July 19, 2012

Champions Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles, who battled in a memorable Rainbow Derby trial duel, are back for a rematch for a $903,774 purse on Saturday in the Rainbow Derby (G1) over 440 yards at Ruidoso Downs.

The purse is an all-time record, breaking the record set last year. A new record purse has been established during each of the six previous runnings of the Rainbow Derby.

Last year’s champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding, Ochoa (Tres Seis-Stolis Fortune by Stoli) turned in a superlative effort when he ran down and passed Feature Mr Bojangles, the 2011 champion 2-year-old colt, in their Rainbow Derby trial. In one of the most competitive trial races in recent memory at Ruidoso Downs, Feature Mr Bojangles raced to the early lead in the 440-yard trial from Post 8, while Ochoa headed toward the outside rail from the outside post position.

The Roy Baldillez-ridden Ochoa stretched out into his long stride and passed Feature Mr Bojangles, piloted by G.R. Carter Jr., in the final yards to win by three quarters of a length.

The Sleepy Gilbreath-trained Ochoa checked in with the third-fastest qualifying time of :21.634, while Feature Mr Bojangles raced to the fifth-fastest time of :21.749.

Owned by J Bar 7 Ranch, Monte and Katsy Cluck, and Douglas Benson, Ochoa secured his championships by dominating last year’s All American Futurity (G1) by 1 1/2 lengths.

The Roberto Sanchez-trained Feature Mr Bojangles (Feature Mr Jess-Catch This Dash by First Down Dash) won three futurities last year in New Mexico to be honored as the top juvenile colt. His three futurity wins were highlighted by his victory in the Rainbow Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs. He also won the Four Corners Futurity and the Hobbs America Futurity (G2).

The winner of seven of 10 starts, Feature Mr Bojangles is owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, S/M Cattle Export Co. and Jaime Dominguez.

Fastest-qualifier honors went to the surprising Feature Mr Who (Feature Mr Jess-Whosleaving Corona by Corona Cartel), winner of his trial at 9-1 odds for his second career win. He was timed in :21.495, while winning by 1 1/2 lengths. He scored his only other career win in his All American Futurity trial nearly a year ago, the only other time he raced over 440 yards.

Feature Mr Who has similar connections as Feature Mr Bojangles. He is owned by S/M Cattle Export Co. and Dominguez, and is trained by Sanchez. They are also each sired by Feature Mr Jess.