07/23/2010 11:50AM

Llano Teller and American Runaway rematch in Rainbow Futurity


Back in April, Llano Teller beat American Runaway by a nose in the $596,041 Remington Park Futurity in Oklahoma City. The two colts meet again in Sunday’s $625,000 Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, and this time there is much more at stake than a first-place purse.

For American Runaway, a victory in the 400-yard Rainbow Futurity would keep him eligible for the $4 million bonus paid to a horse that sweeps Ruidoso’s three futurities – the Ruidoso, Rainbow, and All American. For Llano Teller, a win in the Rainbow Futurity would make him the leading contender for the All American Futurity, which has trials Aug. 19 and a final Sept. 6.

Fittingly, they line up side by side in posts 3 and 4 in a field of 10 in the Rainbow Futurity. To jockey Cody Jensen, who rides American Runaway, the draw is ideal.

“I know where the horse to beat is,” Jensen said. “If I can get away from there in the first 100 yards, I’ll be okay.”

American Runaway has blossomed at Ruidoso Downs this summer. In the All American Futurity future wager conducted earlier this month, American Runaway closed as the favorite.

Owned by Sammy and Johnny Martinez and Bobby Cox, American Runaway has been trained by Paul Jones since arriving at Ruidoso Downs in May. Sammy Martinez trained American Runaway at Remington Park, where he was winless in his first three starts.

American Runaway is unbeaten in three starts in Ruidoso, including a victory by 1 1/4 lengths in the $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity over 350 yards on June 13. In the Rainbow Futurity trials on July 8, American Runaway set the fastest qualifying time of 19.42 seconds.

Llano Teller, who finished third in the $1 million Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park in May, won his division of the Rainbow Futurity trials in 19.54 seconds, his first start at Ruidoso.

Jensen thinks that American Runaway has improved with racing.

“I think we’ve got a stronger horse on the end,” he said. “The colt has been a strong finisher each time I’ve ridden him.”

American Runaway is one of four finalists in the Rainbow Futurity trained by national leader Paul Jones. He also starts Classy Nicole, Dreams Fly Bye, and Quick Corona, all of whom are making their first appearances in a futurity final in the Rainbow.

Jeffrey Reed, who trains Llano Teller, also starts Rock N Zoom, who was second to American Runaway in the trials.