09/03/2017 8:13PM

Hold Air Hostage dominates All American Derby

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Gay Harris/Ruidoso Downs
Hold Air Hostage wins the All American Derby by 2 1/4 lengths.

Hold Air Hostage completed a perfect summer season with a convincing win in Sunday’s $1,365,908 All American Derby for Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs.

Ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, Hold Air Hostage ($2.80) had a clean start and quickly pulled away from nine rivals. Midway through the 440-yard race, Hold Air Hostage led by 1 1/2 lengths and won by 2 1/4 lengths in 21.23 seconds.

The 35-1 outsider One Sweet Racy, one of three fillies in the final, finished second, a neck in front of 5-1 Duponte.

Hold Air Hostage won his third major race since early June in the All American Derby. A gelding owned by Dan Darling of Lamont, Okla., Hold Air Hostage won the $297,100 Heritage Place Derby at Remington Park on June 3 and the $1,150,000 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs on July 22.

Hold Air Hostage, who has won 8 of 11 starts and earned $1,216,317, was trained by Judd Kearl for the wins in the Heritage Place and Rainbow derbies.

Kearl was summarily suspended by Texas racing officials July 31 for medication positives found in his runners at Texas tracks earlier this year. Hold Air Hostage was not involved in any of the positive tests.

Prior to the All American Derby trials, Hold Air Hostage was transferred to Kearl’s assistant, Jimmy Padgett. In his first start for Padgett, Hold Air Hostage set the fastest qualifying time for the All American Derby in trials at Ruidoso Downs on Aug. 20. Darling supplemented Hold Air Hostage to the All American Derby trials at a cost of $50,000.

Sunday’s win is likely to have clinched the title of champion 3-year-old of 2017 for Hold Air Hostage, and almost certainly secured the title of champion 3-year-old gelding.

With Sunday’s win, Hold Air Hostage has earned a berth in the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 16, a race that annually plays an important role in voting for World Champion.