09/01/2009 11:00PM

Joiner hopes luck extends to All American Derby


Last weekend, Quarter Horse handicappers dismissed trainer Mike Joiner's star filly in a major derby. Alice K White pulled an upset in Saturday's $250,000 Golden State Derby at Los Alamitos, beating world-class males A Tempting Dash, Foose, and Tres Passes.

Sunday at Ruidoso Downs, Joiner will be after another milestone win when Zamron starts in the All American Derby. This time, it would be an even greater feat. Zamron was the 10th and final qualifier for the All American Derby and a win in that race would be a shock.

"He seems to be steadily improving," Joiner said. "It will be one of those deals. If he can light the board, we'll be pleased. Sometimes, stranger things happen."

Zamron has won 2 of 8 starts. He was sixth in the New Mexico Classic Futurity at Zia Park last fall in his only previous stakes appearance.

The All American Derby features a tough field that includes Stoli Winner, who finished first in the 2008 All American Futurity but was later disqualified for a drug positive, and fastest qualifier Fantastic Corona Jr., one of five horses in the final trained by national leading trainer Paul Jones.

Joiner has already had a major stakes win at Ruidoso Downs this summer. Back in June, the Joiner-trained First Klas Fred won the $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity.

While Zamron is part of Joiner's New Mexico division, Alice K White has raced exclusively at Los Alamitos in her 10-race career, which includes five wins and earnings of $263,342. Her Golden State Derby victory surprised Joiner, who approached the race hoping that she could "light the board," he said.

Alice K White ran undoubtedly the best race of her career to win the 400-yard race by a head over Foose. Alice K White was timed in 19.34 seconds, a career-best time at the distance.

"She beat those boys and ran a really fast time," he said. "I was surprised at the time."

Foose, the winner of the 2008 Ed Burke Million Futurity, outfinished A Tempting Dash, the fastest qualifier. Tres Passes, the winner of the Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two futurities last fall, could only finish fourth in his second start of 2009.

The win has moved Alice K White to the fore of the nation's 3-year-old filly division. She won the La Primera Del Ano Derby last April and will attempt to win her third major stakes of 2009 in the Mildred Vessels Handicap against older fillies and mares at Los Alamitos on Sept. 19.

Lone Star: Jones requests stalls

The powerhouse stable of trainer Paul Jones is expected to have a presence at the Lone Star Park meet for Quarter Horses that opens Sept. 25. It will be the first time he has had horses based at the north Texas track, which will race through Nov. 28.

Jones asked for accommodations for a small string of horses, said Jeanette Hughes, the racing secretary at Lone Star.

Jones, who has divisions of his stable at Los Alamitos in California and Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, has been the American Quarter Horse Association's champion trainer for the past seven years. He will be out in full force over the holiday weekend at Ruidoso, having qualified five horses to the Grade 1, $624,784 All-American Derby on Sunday and three to the Grade 1, $2 million All-American Futurity on Monday.

Earlier this year, Jones sent a division of horses for the first time to Remington Park in Oklahoma City.

Other stables expected for the Lone Star meet include trainers John Buchanan, Sleepy Gilbreath, Toby Keeton, and Heath Taylor. Hughes said the backstretch will open on Tuesday.

Lone Star's stakes schedule will be made up of 26 races, led by the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity on Nov. 28. Other races of significance include the Grade 1, $500,000 Dash for Cash Futurity on Oct. 24. The Grade 1, $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap, a 440-yard race for 3-year-olds and up, is set for Oct. 3. The winner of the race gets a berth into the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12.

- additional reporting by Mary Rampellini