Ochoa Heads All American Derby Trials

Ten trials set for richest All American Derby ever.

August 12, 2012

Champion Ochoa takes a critical step toward possibly becoming the all-time leading money-earning Quarter Horse when he heads the 10 trials to the record Grade 1, $2,234,539 All American Derby on Friday afternoon at Ruidoso Downs.

The 440-yard trials comprise the entire program with the 10 fastest times qualifying for the 440-yard All American Derby on September 2. There were nine trials last year and the purse was $1,316,760. The previous record All American Derby purse was $1,548,685, set in 2010.

First post time is noon and returns to the usual 1 p.m. for the Saturday and Sunday racing programs.

The All American Derby purse is the all-time largest purse for 3-year-old-or-older Quarter Horses. The All American Derby winner also receives a berth in the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions in December at Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California.

Stolis Winner, winner of the 2008 All American Futurity (G1), is the current all-time leading money-earning Quarter Horse at $2,235,161. The Tres Seis-sired Ochoa has earned $1,643,636 and the winner’s share of the All American Derby is $938,506. If he wins the All American Derby he will have earned $2,582,142, plus whatever he earns in his All American Derby trial.

But, first, Ochoa must qualify for the All American Derby when he starts in the eighth trial with the eighth post position and regular rider Roy Baldillez aboard.

Trained by Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Famer Sleepy Gilbreath, Ochoa earned the champion 2-year-old title last year on the strength of his dominating win in the Grade 1, $2.4-million All American Futurity and he comes into the All American Derby off a game late-charging win in the Grade 1, $903,774 Rainbow Derby. The All American Futurity and the Rainbow Derby are at the All American Derby distance of 440 yards. Ochoa is four-for-four at 440 yards and has earned $1,583,706 at the distance.

John Thurmond and Sheree Meridyth’s Ruidoso Derby winner Executive Brass, one of two $50,000 supplemental nominees, makes his first appearance since winning the Grade 1, $679,207 Ruidoso Derby back on June 9. The winner of six of 12 starts showed his gameness in the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby when he fought to the neck win over Dashing Vike.

Executive Brass, trained by J.J. Gonzales II, raised his record to four wins from four starts this year with his Ruidoso Derby score. Previously, he won his West Texas Derby (G3) trial, a Sunland Park allowance race and his Ruidoso Derby trial.

Bonifacio Perez has the mount on Executive Brass with the sixth post position in the seventh trial.

James Sills and Abel Flores’ A Toss Up, the other $50,000 supplemental nominee, is after his first win since taking the Sooner State Stakes (RG1) over older horses in April. He was then fifth in the Grade 1 Remington Park Championship and a close second in the Higheasterjet Handicap (G3) at Ruidoso Downs, also against older horses.

The last time A Toss Up, a gelding by Sweet First Down, faced 3-year-old competition, he won the $246,000 Remington Park Oklahoma-bred Derby (R).

A Toss Up is in the third trial with the fifth post position. Jimmy Brooks is aboard.

Reigning champion 2-year-old colt Feature Mr Bojangles has raced to fifth-place finishes in the Ruidoso Derby and the Rainbow Derby this summer after winning three futurities in New Mexico last year.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard, Jim Helzer, S/M Cattle Export Company and Jaime Dominguez, Feature Mr Bojangles highlighted his championship run with a win in last year’s Grade 1, $600,000 Rainbow Futurity. The son of Feature Mr Jess also won the Four Corners Futurity and the Hobbs America Futurity (G2).

G.R. Carter Jr. rides Feature Mr Bojangles with the sixth post position in the second trial.

Trial results will be tweeted from Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) as soon as the times are available.