07/14/2010 5:15PM

American Runaway in hunt for bonus

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American Runaway has a lot at stake on Thursday, when he starts in the sixth of 18 trial races for the Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity for Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs. Not only is he the top-ranked 2-year-old in training, he also is the lone horse eligible to win a $4 million bonus tied to the three major futurities run each year at Ruidoso.

American Runaway put himself in position for the bonus last month, when he dominated the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity. To cash in, he will also need to win the Rainbow finale July 25, and the Grade 1, $2 million All American Futurity, on Sept. 6. The three Grade 1 races are known as the All American Triple Crown.

American Runaway’s task Thursday is to qualify for the Rainbow. He is one of 179 horses entered in the trials, with just 10 to advance to the finale based on times. American Runaway will be a short-priced favorite to win the sixth race. He will break from post 9 in a 10-horse field, one start after he cruised to a length and a quarter win in the Ruidoso Futurity.

American Runaway showed himself to be a horse of quality back in April, when he missed by a nose in the Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity. One start later, he romped by 4 3/4 lengths in his trial for the Ruidoso. Cody Jensen, who was aboard American Runaway for the first time in his Ruidoso Futurity, has the mount again Thursday.

American Runaway is one of 33 starters trainer Paul Jones has in the trials Thursday.

Other top horses set to compete in the trials include Treason, the runner-up in the Ruidoso Futurity who will go in the first race, and Llano Teller, the Remington Park Futurity winner who goes in the fourth. The trials will comprise the entire card, which starts with a special post of 12 noon Mountain.

This year’s Rainbow trials will take on added significance for horseplayers looking to invest in the new All American Future Wager on July 15-18. There will be 24 betting interests, with 23 being individual horses and an additional interest serving as the field. The wager was modeled after the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.