03/05/2011 1:05PM

Louisiana Quarter Horses celebrate Mardi Gras


Louisiana Downs will celebrate Mardi Gras on Tuesday with a pair of rich stakes for Quarter Horses.

The races make for one of the biggest programs of the meet.

Toast to Patriot is the one to beat in the $264,876 Mardi Gras Futurity after he dominated during trials for the race Feb. 19. He was making his career debut that afternoon, and romped by 2 3/4 lengths while covering 300-yards in a fastest-qualifying time of 15.62 seconds. Toast to Patriot is one of seven last-out winners in the 10-horse field Tuesday. The Mardi Gras is restricted to horses bred in Louisiana.

Bobby Ransom has the mount on Toast to Patriot for owner Kris Locklear and trainer Vann Haywood, who is winning with 24 percent of his starters this meet at Louisiana Downs.

The $93,898 Mardi Gras Derby brings together Grade 2 stakes winners Eyesa Flash and Fast Dashin Dude. Also in the 400-yard race is Awholesepartegame, who set the fastest qualifying time when he won his 400-yard trial in 20.01.

All American tops stakes at Ruidoso

The Grade 1, $2.4 million All American Futurity for Quarter Horses on Sept. 5 will top the 60-date mixed meet at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico. The season will open on May 27.

The All American is the richest race offered to Quarter Horses, and the winner’s share of $1.2 million this year will set a record for the sport. In addition, a horse who can win the All American as well as the track’s $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity on June 12 and $700,000 Rainbow Futurity on July 24, will earn a $4 million All American Triple Crown bonus in 2011.

Trials for the All American Futurity will be held Aug. 18.

Other top Quarter Horse events at Ruidoso this meet include the $600,000 Ruidoso Derby on June 11, the $850,000 Rainbow Derby on July 23, and the $1.2 million All American Derby on Sept. 4.

Another highlight of the meet is the $1 million Zia Festival of stakes for New Mexico-bred Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses on July 31.

◗ Sam Houston will offer training races for Quarter Horses on Wednesday in advance of the opening of a 30-date meet for the breed on Friday. It will be the first time there will be training races at Sam Houston, and they are set to begin at 1 p.m.