08/18/2009 12:00AM

Day-long scramble to make All-American


Horsemen will tell you it takes a fast horse and a lot of luck to land in the starting gate for the Grade 1, $2 million All-American Futurity. The field is limited to the 10 fastest qualifiers, and on Thursday no fewer than 193 Quarter Horses will be vying for a spot in the Sept. 7 finale during a marathon card of trials at Ruidoso Downs. There are 20 races on the card, which extends from a special first post of 11 a.m. Mountain to 6:17 p.m.

"With trials from morning to night, you might see it all, from head winds to tail winds to rain," said trainer Heath Taylor, who has five starters, led by Obsessed With Corona. "You have to have a horse that has the mental maturity to go up there with the crowd and handle the weather, whatever it may be. And they have to run the whole distance, and separate themselves. You've got to have a talented horse, and you have to have some luck."

Love Samba, who beat out 191 horses to start as the fastest qualifier in last month's Grade 1, $625,000 Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso, is back for the All-American trials. She will go in race 19.

Love Samba finished fourth in the Rainbow on July 19. She sat down in the gate prior to the start of the race, said her trainer, Blane Wood.

"Another horse false broke, she heard the noise and thought it was time for her to go and she false broke," said Wood. "She hit the front of the gate and fell backwards."

Love Samba surprisingly remained calm under the circumstances, and did not thrash in the gate.

"She was in a position she knew she couldn't get up [from], so she waited for help," Wood said.

Wood said Love Samba experienced some body soreness for a few days after the race but has trained well for the All-American trials. Zoomin With Ease, the winner of the Rainbow, goes in race 7.

"Zoomin With Ease is doing good, feeling good and, hopefully, he'll run good," said trainer John Buchanan.

First Klas Fred, winner of the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity, will be looking for his fourth straight win when he goes in race 10. Ragazzo, the Grade 1 Heritage Place winner, goes in the ninth. Jess a Chicks and Turbulenz, who are also Grade 1 winners, were among the six horses supplemented to the trials for $50,000 each.