08/17/2010 3:30PM

Jones to saddle 20 in All American Futurity trials

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Ty Wyant
American Runaway closed as the favorite in the All American Future Wager last month, after he set the fastest qualifying time for the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity.

The field for the world’s most famous Quarter Horse race will be set after 20 trials for the Grade 1, $2 million All American Futurity are run Thursday at Ruidoso Downs. The action starts at 11 a.m. Mountain time, with no trainer to be more active on the card than Paul Jones.

Jones will send out 20 horses, one in each race. American Runaway, the nation’s top ranked 2-year-old, goes in the 18th. He will break from post 2. Jones, a perennial national training champ, is looking forward to Thursday.

“For me, the time trials are actually a bigger day than the finals,” he said. “You’re going to see 20 time trials with 10 horses each. You’ll see 200 horses, all trying to take the 10 fastest times in order to make the final of the All American. That’s very impressive, to be in the top 10.

“And these are the best, top-bred Quarter Horse 2-year-olds in the country. You’ll see some of the best pedigrees and bloodlines compete in these races. In my opinion, it’s more difficult to get into the All American Futurity than it is to get into the Kentucky Derby. There are a lot of factors. You not only have to fight 200 horses, you have to fight the weather. In Ruidoso, in 20 races, the weather can change two or three times or maybe more. Sometimes you get rain, wind. It’s a big day. It can be real exciting.”

American Runaway closed as the favorite in the All American Future Wager last month, after he set the fastest qualifying time for the Grade 1 Rainbow Futurity. Earlier in the meet, he won the Grade 1 Ruidoso Futurity.

“He’s doing really good, ready to run,” Jones said. “We’re just hoping we qualify. I think if he has a good, clean race, he’ll be able to run to his potential.”

American Runaway last raced July 25 and was beaten a nose in the slop in the Rainbow.

“He got bumped a couple of times out of there, and it was kind of slippery track, a wet track, and he was getting his hind end knocked out from him,” Jones said. “When he was finally able to get a hold of the ground, he took off. We just got beat about three inches. I thought we won the race, it was that close. The horse did his job.”

The All American is Sept. 6.