05/20/2003 11:00PM

Leading Los Al trainer brings string to Ruidoso Downs


Paul Jones, the leading trainer at Los Alamitos, has moved part of his stable to Ruidoso Downs and will run two horses in the opening-day trials to the Grade 1, $550,000 Ruidoso Futurity on Friday afternoon.

The nation's champion trainer last year, Jones will be represented by Latest Version and Planet Holland in the 22 Ruidoso Futurity trials, which begin with an 11 a.m. Mountain first-post time. The 10 fastest qualifiers will return for the finals on June 8.

Latest Version won a maiden race at Los Alamitos in his only start, while Planet Holland was a close second in a Los Alamitos maiden race.

Jones, who will maintain his Los Alamitos operation, decided to move 18 horses to Ruidoso Downs after talking with Ruidoso's owner, R.D. Hubbard.

"Mr. Hubbard convinced me to come and set up a stable and gave me some excellent horses," Jones said. Hubbard has five horses with Jones. The Hubbard horses include King Corona, the $500,000 high-selling yearling at last year's Ruidoso select yearling sale.

Jones also took Lock to Load, the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby winner, to Ruidoso Downs. He could be supplemented to the Rainbow Derby and the All American Derby.

Heading the Ruidoso Futurity trials is the West Texas Futurity winner, Quick Jolla.

Quik Jolla, trained by Lorenzo Vega, won the Grade 1, $306,000 West Texas Futurity at Sunland Park on April 6 in a fast 15.061 seconds for the 300 yards.

Saturday's five trials to the Ruidoso Derby will feature the Rainbow Futurity winner, First to Flash, and Eye Opening Episode, runner-up in the All American Futurity.

Badilla back at Ruidoso

The jockeys' room at Ruidoso Downs will have an important addition with Joe Badilla in town for the summer season. Badilla, a four-time national champion jockey, won the 1999 All American Futurity on A Delightful Dasher.

Badilla, who had been based at Los Alamitos, will return there for important stakes engagements. He will be based out of trainer John Bassett's barn at Ruidoso.

"After I went to Brazil for a vacation, I knew that I wanted a different pace than the one I was on and decided that I would come to Ruidoso," Badilla said. "I wanted a change of schedule so I could have a normal daily routine. I want to be able to relax for a while, and I was just unable to do it at Los Alamitos."

The Ruidoso Downs season runs through Labor Day, the date of the $2 million All American Futurity. If a horse can win the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American futurities the connections will receive a $4 million bonus.

* Ruidoso Downs will offer a new wager this season, the tri-superfecta. It requires players to select the first three finishers, in order, in the first half, then the first four finishers, in order, in the second half.

* Live racing will be held on a Thursday through Sunday schedule with a 1 p.m. Mountain first post time.

Heath has top pair at Delta Downs

Trainer Heath Taylor has the top two qualifiers in Saturday's Grade 3, $60,750 American Airlines East Challenge at Delta Downs. Taylor will be represented by the fastest qualifier, Lil Bit Rowdy, and the second-fastest qualifier, Doin It Jess for Fun. Each won a maiden race as a first-time starter during the trials.

Shes Jess Special leads the qualifiers to Sunday's Grade 3, $151,900 Delta Downs Louisiana Breeders Derby. The fastest qualifier to the race, Shes Jess Special won her trial for her third win from four starts at Delta Downs.