05/25/2016 2:48PM

Mixed meet opens with trials for Quarter Horse stakes

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It will be trial mania over the first three dates of the Ruidoso Downs meet that opens Friday. The New Mexico track will run 44 such races for Quarter Horses through Sunday to determine the fields for the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity and the $1 million Ruidoso Derby. The trials include a Sunday rematch of the one-two finishers from last year’s All American Futurity, Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle.

Ruidoso will put on a 60-date mixed meet for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. The track will race Fridays through Mondays through Sept. 5, when the Grade 1, $3 million All American Futurity will be held. The track has set a post time of 1 p.m. Mountain, with the time subject to change on dates when there are trials.  

Trials are a key part of the action all meet long, with Ruidoso set to offer six major stakes for Quarter Horses worth at least $1 million each. The fields for those races will be determined by time trials. There will be 15 trials each on Friday and Saturday, with the horses with the five fastest times from each program advancing to the Ruidoso Futurity on June 12. Highlights of Friday’s trials include a fifth-race appearance by Just Call Me Carter, the winner of the $540,000 Sam Houston Futurity.

The action Sunday will mark the first time the undefeated champion Jess Good Candy and One Fabulous Eagle will meet since finishing a neck apart in the All American. The horses, who are now 3, will seek to make the gate for the Ruidoso Derby on June 11. Others in the Sunday trials include Grade 1 winners First Valiant Sign and Tres Friends.

The second round of major Quarter Horse stakes at this meet will be comprised of the $1.2 million Rainbow Derby on July 23 and the $1 million Rainbow Futurity on July 24. The action then turns to trials for the All American Futurity on Aug. 19-20. The $3 million finale will be Sept. 5. The other major stakes at the meet is the $2.5 million All American Derby on Sept. 4.

Ruidoso is moving into its 70th year of operation on Friday. The track is now solely owned by R.D. Hubbard after he bought out partners Ed Allred and Bruce Rimbo in May. Hubbard has named his grandson, Shaun Hubbard, as president of the track. Shaun Hubbard also will continue to serve as general manager, a role he assumed in 2012.

The meet’s highlights include inductions into the Ruidoso Downs Hall of Fame in late June. The class will feature owners and breeders John and Sue May, retired jockey Casey Lambert, trainer Bill Leach, and Quarter Horse champion Ochoa.

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