06/15/2011 2:54PM

Lone Star Park: Burgess joining Ruidoso's Hall of Fame


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – In the classic Quarter Horse movie “Casey’s Shadow,” the order of finish of the 1975 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs is altered in a Hollywood ending to the story inspired by Rocket’s Magic.

“It went better for the movie for the other horse to win, but in actuality he ran third,” said Jerry Burgess, a steward at Lone Star Park.

Burgess would know. He won the 1975 All American Futurity aboard Bugs Alive in 75. For the win, as well as his other accomplishments in racing, Burgess will be inducted into the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame during a Friday night banquet at the New Mexico track.

The 2011 class also includes Peppers Pride, the New Mexico-bred who went 19 for 19 in her career to establish a modern Thoroughbred mark for consecutive wins; John Bassett, who has trained two winners of the All American Futurity; and John T.L. Jones of Walmac Farm, who helped introduce Thoroughbred stallions Favorite Trick, Hempen, and Master Hand to Quarter Horse racing. Jones also co-owns Noconi, a champion Quarter Horse. A special lifetime achievement award Friday will go to Ben Hudson, longtime publisher of TRACK Magazine.

Burgess, a 67-year-old native of Oklahoma, has no beef with the ending of the movie “Casey’s Shadow.” He was active in the speech and drama department during his college years and was part of a team that won state championships three years in a row for its one-act plays. On the track, Burgess hit a career pinnacle with his win aboard Bugs Alive in 75 in the All American.

“You want that one,” Burgess said of what is the most prestigious race for Quarter Horses.

“That finals that day was his day. He left there in front, and everything went well. We all have our days, and that was his day.”

Burgess rode for more than 20 years, competing in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He started race riding in high school, his interest in the track stemming from the fact that his father, who managed cattle for large outfits, had a few horses and would race them in Arizona.

“It was a good way for me to put myself through school,” Burgess said. “I’d ride, say in the summertime, and then I’d go to a semester of school. It took me about 10 years [to finish college]. I thought it would come in handy in any endeavor I picked, so I kept at it until I got that college diploma, then I chucked it in the closet and went back to the racetrack.”

Burgess’s successes included winning such races as the Vessels Maturity at Los Alamitos aboard Dash for Cash; the 1980 Rainbow Futurity with Mighty Deck Three; and the World’s Champions Classic on Oh Snaz. He eventually became a steward, and for the past 18 years has been with the Texas Racing Commission.

Burgess, who also has been a steward at Ruidoso and Fonner Park, holds a bachelor of arts degree in communication from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, an associate degree in animal husbandry from Eastern Oklahoma State, and is a graduate of the Law Enforcement Academy at Tarelton State University.

Bubba Cascio, who trained World Champion Dash for Cash, will be on hand to speak about Burgess during Friday night’s induction ceremonies, which includes a roast. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased through Friday afternoon on the second-floor offices at Ruidoso.

Scrappy Roo seeks third win of meet

Scrappy Roo, an 8-year-old who went over the $300,000 mark in career earnings last out when he won a $25,000 claiming race at Lone Star, will seek his third win at the meet in Friday night’s seventh race. The $25,000 optional claimer at 7 1/2 furlongs on turf drew a large, competitive group of 11.

Scrappy Roo won a $15,000 starter allowance at Lone Star in April, ran third at that same level in his next start May 6, and then took the $25,000 claimer May 26. Steve Asmussen owns and trains the gelding, who will be ridden by Roman Chapa.

Others in the field include Kick On, a multiple stakes winner making his first start since August for trainer Joe Petalino; Little Wagon, a standout starter allowance horse last fall at Remington Park; and stakes winners Skip a Smile and Deputiformer.