Junior June Bug Climbs Mountain Top

Jesse James Jr colt earns first stakes victory at Ruidoso Downs.

June 16, 2012

Richard McGehee’s Junior June Bug, second in the New Mexican Spring Futurity (RG2), raced to his first stakes win by holding off a late-charging Brookstones Chick in the $296,433 Mountain Top Futurity (R) on Saturday at Ruidoso Downs. The 350-yard sprint was for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds.

The Carlos Madiera-ridden Junior June Bug broke sharply from the inside post position and battled for the lead while racing over the sloppy racing surface. The Jesse James Jr-sired colt took the lead and then held Brookstones Chick safe by a long neck with a :17.870 time.

Averyspecialsouthern was another one-half length back in third in the nine-horse field.

Junior June Bug, who was bred by MJ Farms out of the Blushing Bug mare Sandy June Bug, is one of the most consistent juvenile New Mexico-breds. The Jackie Riddle-trained colt won his maiden at first asking in his New Mexican Spring Futurity trial, but then ran up against PJ Chick In Black in the finals, settling for second-place. PJ Chick In Black went on to win the Grade 1, $600,000 Ruidoso Futurity and is currently Quarter Horse racing’s top-ranked 2-year-old in the nation.

Returning in the Mountain Top Futurity trials, Junior June Bug finished one-half length behind Jessiana with the sixth-fastest qualifying time of :18.055 while facing a fierce headwind.

Don and Lane Reynolds’ runner-up Brookstones Chick, the 3-1 favorite, was the fastest qualifier with a :17.896 time in the sixth of eight trials. The Brookstone Bay filly was fourth in her first start before her 1 ½- length trial win.

Averyspecialsouthern, a $9,500 Ruidoso Sale purchase, is showing promise after racing to a very close second in her trial in her first start and now stepping up with a third-place showing in the Mountain Top Futurity for trainer Ralph Muniz.