Updated on 09/15/2011 12:57PM

All American Futurity wide open


Fastest qualifier Grand Coeur will face three-horse salvos from trainers John Bassett and Dwayne "Sleepy" Gilbreath in a wide-open Grade 1, $1,954,649 million All American Futurity for Quarter Horses on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs.

The All American Futurity, Quarter Horse racing's richest race, is run at 440 yards.

Topping the undercard is the Grade 1, $200,000 All American Derby, headed by Grade 1 Rainbow Derby winner Feature Mr Jess.

Grand Coeur was purchased by Mike Levi last year for $40,000 as an 870-yard prospect, but the gelding is proving effective at the shorter, more lucrative distances.

A son of 870-yard champion Calyx, Grand Coeur won his maiden in his second start, July 22 at Ruidoso, and then blossomed in the All American trials Aug. 16.

Grand Coeur turned in the fastest time of 21.636 seconds for the 440 yards in the seventh of 17 trials. All of the 10 All American Futurity qualifiers came from the first nine trials that day as the track was drying out throughout the program after heavy rains 24 hours earlier.

"He's developing late. He gets better week by week," trainer John Stinebaugh said of Grand Coeur.

Bassett, who won seven qualifying trials, has the second- and third-fastest qualifiers in Tres Seis and Ausual Suspect, who each have won their last two starts.

Basssett's third qualifier, Doc Colby, was a romping 2 3/4-length trial winner in his Ruidoso Downs debut. He had a maiden win from four starts at Los Alamitos before shipping to Ruidoso.

"Mike Howell [Doc Colby's Los Alamitos trainer] said he hadn't run his best race yet," Bassett said. "He won this [trial] easy. He just skimmed across the top [of the track]."

Gilbreath will saddle Spittin and Splittin, Phenomenal Fantasy, and Almost Flyin.

Gilbreath passed on the Ruidoso Futurity in June with Almost Flyin and Phenomenal Fantasy. Gilbreath pointed them to the All American and the strategy worked with trial wins.

"If we ran them in the Ruidoso and Rainbow [Futurity] trials and finals, that's a lot of races," Gilbreath said.

Gilbreath's third finalist, Spittin and Splittin, joined the Gilbreath stable for the All American trials and defeated Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity winner Rdustys Chick in their trial.

Rdustys Chick, trained by Mark Barnes, finished a neck behind Spittin and Splittin and qualified for the finals. It was her first start since her Heritage Place Futurity win June 9.

* Feature Mr Jess, a trial winner under adverse conditions, heads a strong field in the 440-yard All American Derby.

for All American Futurity Past Performances.