Champions Meet in RUI Derby

Champions meet in a tough Ruidoso Derby.

June 7, 2012

Reigning champion 2-year-old Ochoa and champion 2-year-old colt Feature Mr Bojangles start the summer derby season at Ruidoso Downs with a showdown in the $679,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1) on Saturday afternoon. It is the second-highest purse in the race’s 18 runnings.

Also on the program is the first leg of the All American Triple Crown, the $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity (G1).

Owned by Johnny T.L. Jones Jr.’s J Bar 7 Ranch, Monte and Katsy Cluck, and Doug and Shavon Benson; Ochoa (Tres Seis-Stolis Fortune by Stoli) made each of his four juvenile starts at Ruidoso Downs on the way to his championship titles. He won three of those starts and was third in the $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity (G1). It was that late-running third-place finish that led his connections to point at the All American Futurity. The Sleepy Gilbreath-trained gelding skipped the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and then took his All American Futurity trial and dominated the All American Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths.

Gilbreath brought Ochoa back for the Ruidoso Derby trials and he earned his spot in the 400-yard Derby by finishing second in his trial behind longshot Dashing Spartacus (Mr Jess Perry-Serenity Dash by First Down Dash). Dashing Spartacus was timed in :20.131 and Ochoa checked in with a :20.204 time during an afternoon of strong headwinds.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, S/M Cattle Export Co. and Jaime Dominguez; Feature Mr Bojangles (Feature Mr Jess-Catch This Dash by First Down Dash) rides a seven-race winning streak that includes three futurities. He raced to his most important victory when he defeated The Long Knife by a half length in the $625,000 Rainbow Futurity (G1) last summer at Ruidoso Downs. He also won the Four Corners Futurity and the Hobbs America Futurity (G2).

The Roberto Sanchez-trained Feature Mr Bojangles came back from a seven-month layoff to take his Ruidoso Derby trial by a half length with the third-fastest time of :20.157.

John Thurmond and Sherree Meridyth’s Executive Brass (Executive Menace-Entrust by Relegate (TB)) topped the qualifiers’ list when he won the fifth of six trials in :20.121. It was his third-straight win after winning his West Texas Derby trial and a $34,000 conditioned allowance race at Sunland Park.