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Rainbow Derby Qualifiers

Feature Mr Who tops qualifiers, two champions make it back.

July 4, 2012

The dream matchup between champions Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles in their trial to the $903,687 Rainbow Derby (G1) exceeded expectations, and they will have a much anticipated rematch in the 440-yard Rainbow Derby on July 21.

The 3-year-olds with the 10-fastest times from the trials qualified to compete in the Rainbow Derby for the record purse.

Feature Mr Who recorded the fastest-qualifying time of :21.495 while winning the sixth trial, but the attention and probable favoritism will likely vie between champions Ochoa and Feature Mr Bojangles. Six of the 10 qualifiers came from the sixth and seventh trials, the final two heats when the track was considered tighter by many observers and the wind had decreased from the fourth trial.

The Roy Balidillez-ridden Ochoa, the 2011 champion 2-year-old, veered out at the start from the outside post position and conceded ground to his very substantial competition. Feature Mr Bojangles, the 2011 champion 2-year-old colt, started well from the eighth post position under G.R. Carter Jr. and opened a clear advantage by the 350-yard mark of the quarter-mile test.

Ochoa closed the gap with every stride and in a stunning display of sheer long-striding speed pulled even with Feature Mr Bojangles and then was three quarters of a length in front at the wire. Ochoa, a son of Tres Seis, was timed in :21.634, the third-fastest time, over the sealed, fast track while Feature Mr Bojangles stopped the timer in :21.749, the sixth-fastest mark. They raced into a 20 mile-per-hour headwind, the strongest headwind from the seven trials.

The Sleepy Gilbreath-trained Ochoa earned his championship on the strength of his win in the $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1). The gelding is owned by the J Bar 7 Ranch, Monte and Katsy Cluck, and Doug Benson. Feature Mr Bojangles, a son of Feature Mr Jess, was honored as a champion after wins in the Rainbow Futurity (G1), Four Corners Futurity and the Hobbs America Futurity (G2) for trainer Roberto Sanchez. He is owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, SM Cattle Export Company and Jaime Dominguez.

SM Cattle Export Company and Dominguez also own fastest-qualifier Feature Mr Who, a gelded son of Feature Mr Jess. The Sanchez-trained gelding has now scored each of his two wins over off racing surfaces at 440 yards. His other win came over a muddy track in last year’s All American Futurity trials

Unofficial 2012 Rainbow Derby Qualifiers

Horse/Trial #        Trainer            Jockey            Wind        Time
Feature Mr Who/6    Robert Sanchez        Esgar Ramirez        12h        21.495
Jesscuzican/7        Wesley Giles        Jorge Bourdieu        5h        21.622
Ochoa/4        Dwayne Gibreath    Roy Baldillez        20h        21.634    
Ym Quick/7        Raymond Vargas    Cody Jensen        5h        21.670
Jess Lips/6        Eddie Willis        Jimmy Brooks        12h        21.729
Feature Mr Bojangles/4    Roberto Sanchez    GR Carter        20h        21.749
Tres Seis Nueve/5    Juan Gonzalez        Jesse Levario        12h        21.758
Bills Last/6        Carlos Sedillo        Jaime Leos        12h        21.768
Priceless Feature/2    Eddie Willis        Jimmy Brooks        15h        21.796    
Cd Riggins/7        Carl Draper        Tanner Thedford    5h        21.823