Updated on 09/17/2011 10:05PM

It's time for 'Ruidoso Roulette'


Leading Spirit, undefeated and already a three-time Grade 1 futurity winner, seeks to qualify for the $1.9 million All American Futurity when he runs in the 13th of 16 440-yard trials on Thursday at Ruidoso Downs.

If can win the Grade 1 All American and collect the $1 million winner's share of the purse, he would also earn a $4 million bonus for sweeping the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American futurities, the triple crown for Quarter Horses. In winning his first seven starts, Leading Spirit has earned $694,616.

Thursday's All American trials, which begin at 11 a.m. Mountain, are called "Ruidoso Roulette" because of the high stakes when 160 2-year-olds, all making their first start at 440 yards, compete for just 10 qualifying spots for the finals on Labor Day. The Ruidoso weather can be a factor, with an ever-present chance of monsoon-like thunderstorms, usually later in the day.

Leading Spirit drew post 5 in his heat.

"I love the draw. He does his best running in the middle of the track," trainer Blane Wood said. "He's doing great. We stood him in the gates on Monday. The track was sloppy, so he saw the slop."

Leading Spirit has never raced on anything except a fast track, but Wood said he worked well over an off track at Sunland Park last spring.

Leading Spirit started his triple crown campaign in the Ruidoso Futurity when he quickly drew clear of his rivals and crossed over several lanes, but there was no inquiry because he was well clear of his competition. He raced the 350 yards in 17.35 seconds after recording the fastest qualifying time of 17.17.

In the Rainbow Futurity, Leading Spirit also ran away from his competition to win by one length in 19.34 seconds for the 400 yards. His running style gives every indication that he should thrive at the 440-yard All American distance.

Leading Spirit captured his first Grade 1 win on April 3 at Sunland Park, when he won the West Texas Futurity in 14.92 seconds, the fastest 300-yard time ever by 2-year-old.

PYC Paint Your Wagon, in the fourth trial, is one of three horses supplemented to the trials for $50,000. He finished second to Leading Spirit in the Rainbow Futurity and posted his only career win in the Grade 2 Lazy E Futurity at Remington Park.

The other supplements are In Dispute, a late-running winner of a 300-yard maiden race at Los Alamitos in a fast 15.35 seconds, and Racing Zone, undefeated in three starts, all at Sam Houston Race Park.

Ladys Is First, second to Leading Spirit in the West Texas and Ruidoso futurities, drew the inside post position in the sixth trial. She has 2 wins and 3 seconds from 5 starts.

Other strong prospects to make the All American finals are Crater Lake, winner of the Grade 2 Remington Park Futurity, and Fishers Tale, runner-up in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million.

DM Shicago seeks derby triple

, winner of three straight Grade 1 races at Ruidoso Downs, will try to qualify for the Grade 1, $750,000 All American Derby in the fifth of five trials on Friday at Ruidoso.

An earner of $1,399,469, the 3-year-old DM Shicago won the 2004 All American Futurity and underscored his divisional dominance at Ruidoso this summer with Grade 1 wins in the Ruidoso and Rainbow derbies. In the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby he rallied to get a neck win. Then in the 440-yard Rainbow Derby he pulled away from 2004 champion 2-year-old Ocean Runaway to win by three-quarters of a length.

Ocean Runaway, in the first trial, returns after his second in the Rainbow Derby. He has 3 seconds in 3 starts at Ruidoso Downs.

Last fall, Ocean Runaway, an earner of $1,224,527, won two $1 million futurities at Los Alamitos, the Golden State Million and the Los Alamitos Million.

The deep derby trials also include Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner One More Habit; Grade 2 El Primero Del Ano Derby winner Dutch Schultz; Grade 2 La Primera Del Ano Derby winner Louisiana Eye Opener; Ruidoso Derby runner-up, Look Forward, and third-place finisher, Mighty Invictus; and Thewayouwantmetoo.