11/11/2010 3:26PM

American Runaway looks to nail down 2-year-old championship in Texas Futurity

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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – There’s more at stake for American Runaway in Saturday night’s Texas Classic Quarter Horse Futurity at Lone Star Park than just the race’s $1,036,612 purse.

“I think if he can win this race, he’ll have a pretty good shot for champion 2-year-old colt,” said Paul Jones, who trains American Runaway for the partnership of Sammy and Johnny Martinez and Bobby Cox.

The Texas Classic Futurity is the state’s richest race and will be part of a Grade 1 double on the closing night card at Lone Star. The $367,649 Texas Classic Derby for Quarter Horses is also part of the program, and it drew Grade 1 winners Streakin Down and First Prize Leeza.

But the star attraction is American Runaway, a brick house of a colt who for months has been unshakable atop the 2-year-old poll put out by the American Quarter Horse Association. He was also the favorite in the first-ever All American Futurity Future Wager this past summer on the strength of his win in the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity in June, but failed to make the All American finale after a trouble-filled trial race Aug. 19.

American Runaway did not start again until the Texas Classic trials on Oct. 23, and he won his heat by a neck to post the second fastest time for the series. American Runaway covered 400 yards in the mud in 19.49 seconds, with the fastest qualifying time of 19.43 put up by Dm Streakn Thru Fire. Jones looks for American Runaway to move forward Saturday in his second start since August.

“He’s got to be a little better this time,” he said. “That was his first race after the All American trials, after being wiped out. It had been quite a while without having a race. He ought to be a little sharper this time.”

Cody Jensen has the mount from post 7.

Dm Streakn Thru Fire, who was fifth by three-quarters of a length in the All American on Sept. 6, won his Texas Classic trial by 2 1/4 lengths. He beat out 122 horses in 13 trials for the honor of fastest qualifier. Dm Streakn Thru Fire will be coupled with Grade 1 Remington Park Futurity winner Llano Teller.

◗ First Prize Leesa was the fastest qualifier for the Texas Classic Derby when she won her 440 yard trial in 21.32 seconds. Jensen has the mount for trainer Heath Reed. First Prize Leesa won the Remington Park Futurity in 2009.