09/05/2010 9:31PM

Jacky Martin rides Double Down Special to victory


Double Down Special won the most prestigious, and richest, race of his career in Sunday’s $1,548,076 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

The 440-yard All American Derby was the richest derby in Quarter Horse racing history.

Double Down Special ($4) finished a neck in front of Apollitical Jess in 21.23 seconds. Apollitical Jess was 1 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Smokey Stone.

Jacky Martin, 55, rode the winner, who was away well and led throughout. For Martin, the win was a milestone in a comeback season. He missed four years of riding because of a conviction for possession of a controlled substance but regained a riding license in June.

Double Down Special races for Vanessa Bartoo and trainer John Stinebaugh. A gelding by The Down Side, Double Down Special won the Grade 3 West Texas Derby at Sunland Park in April and the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby in June.

Supplemented to the All American Derby trials last month for $40,000, Double Down Special earned $774,038, improving his career earnings to $1,211,630, with 7 wins in 15 starts.

The win in the All American Derby gave Double Down Special an automatic berth to the $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11.

*Earlier on the program, Noconi, the champion 3-year-old gelding of 2008, won the $40,000 All American Gold Cup under Martin.

Noconi ($6.40) finished a head in front of 7-5 favorite Shy Ann Jess, winning the 440-yard race in 21.31 seconds. Double Out was third in the field of nine.

Owned by R.D. Hubbard and Johnny T.L. Jones and trained by Paul Jones, Noconi, 5, has earned $954,163. The Gold Cup was Noconi’s first start since a seventh-place finish in an allowance race at Sunland Park in February.

Jones is planning a New Mexico-based campaign for Noconi this fall and winter.