08/15/2012 3:41PM

Ruidoso card features All American Derby trials

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Before the Ruidoso Downs meet closes next month, champion Ochoa has a chance to become Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading earner. The first step comes Friday, when he runs in trials for the track’s Grade 1, $2,234,539 All American Derby. If Ochoa qualifies for the Sept. 2 finale then goes on to win its first-place check of $938,506, he will surpass the earnings mark of $2.2 million held by Stolis Winner.

Ochoa put himself in a position to chase the earnings record last year, when he captured the Grade 1, $2.4 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. In more recent times, he has won the Grade 1, $903,774 Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs, a July 21 score that lifted his earnings to $1,643,636.

Ochoa on Friday will run in the eighth of 10 trials for the All American Derby. He is one of 91 horses vying for a spot in the finale, which will be restricted to the 10 fastest qualifiers. Each of the trials will be run over 440 yards, a distance at which Ochoa is unbeaten in four starts. He will break from post 8, with trainer Sleepy Gilbreath giving the mount to Roy Baldillez.

Others facing Ochoa include Tf Featured Effort, the winner of the Grade 3 West Texas Derby who is seeking his fourth straight win, and Sure Shot B, who won the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park in November.

In other trials, Feature Mr Bojangles, a champion last year at 2, goes in the second race, and Executive Brass, the winner of the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby in June, starts in the seventh. Executive Brass was a $50,000 supplement to the All American Derby trials and so was third-race starter A Toss Up, winner of the $246,000 Oklahoma-bred Derby at Remington Park.

◗ Ruidoso announced it is projecting the purse for the 2013 running of the All American Derby to be $2.5 million, surpassing this year’s record purse. In addition, the track announced that the 2013 edition of the Rainbow Futurity is to feature a $1 million purse for the first time. This year, the race was worth $700,000.