09/05/2009 12:00AM

Jones, Wood loaded in All American Futurity


The odds are with trainers Paul Jones and Blane Wood on Monday in the Grade 1, $1.9 million All American Futurity for Quarter Horses. Each qualified three starters to the 440-yard championship race, which closes out the meet at Ruidoso Downs, although neither is taking anything for granted.

"This race is a really tough race to win," said Jones, who has done it twice. "It takes a great horse, but it takes a horse that's great on that particular day."

The All American Futurity is the most famous Quarter Horse race in the world, run each Labor Day in the mountain-top town of Ruidoso, N.M. This year, the winner of the most famous Thoroughbred race in the world, Mine That Bird, will lead the post parade. He was based in New Mexico this spring and went on to win the Kentucky Derby.

Following him closest in the post parade will be the first of Wood's three qualifiers, the undefeated, rail-drawn Gols Victory Pop. He also will send out fastest qualifier Love Samba and the Grade 1-placed First Corona Call.

"That's a dream within itself," Wood said of having three in the All American, a race his father, Leo, won 30 years ago with Pie in the Sky.

Much focus will be on Love Samba, who twice this meet has beat out more than 190 other 2-year-olds to be the fastest qualifier for a major futurity. In addition to setting the standard for this year's All American, she was the fastest qualifier for the Grade 1, $650,000 Rainbow Futurity. But things did not go her way in the finale, when she sat down in the gate prior to the start of the race, run July 19.

Love Samba finished fourth and then came back to win the 19th of 20 trials for the All American on Aug. 20. She hopped at the start of the 440-yard race and then went on to a length win while covering the distance in 21.20 seconds. Ricky Ramirez has the mount Monday.

"She's ready to go," Wood said. "She drew the 4 hole and won her trial heat out of it."

Jones will counter with Runnning Brook Gal, the second-fastest qualifer. His other starters are Brooks Midnight and Favorite Cartel, who since his 2 1/4-length trial win has seen his ownership group grow to include Jim Helzer and R.D. Hubbard.

"He ran a super trial," Jones said of Favorite Cartel. "He ran really strong."