07/02/2013 3:39PM

Ruidoso: Cascio returns after long absence for Rainbow Futurity trials


Trainer Bubba Cascio will have his first Ruidoso Downs starters since 1993 on Thursday and Friday, when he sends out a pair of 2-year-olds in trials for the Grade 1, $1 million Rainbow Futurity for Quarter Horses. The qualifying races will be spread over two cards for the first time. The horses with the five fastest times on each program will advance to the 400-yard finale July 21. In all, 252 horses have been entered in 26 trials, with 13 races to be run on both Thursday and Friday.

Cascio is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame who is best known for training Dash for Cash, world champion in both 1976 and 1977, and Dashingly, world champion in 1983. He returned to training Quarter Horses last fall after racing Thoroughbreds, and his starters in the trials are among the yearlings he developed on his Texas farm. Divine Miss Jo, a daughter of Inseparable, will run in the eighth race Thursday. Authentic Jo, a gelding by the same sire, will start in the 13th race Friday.

“They haven’t had any [racing] experience, but we got them in the trials,” Cascio said. “I think both of them will run pretty good.”
Cascio trains the horses for a partnership that includes JoAnn Adams, the owner for whom Cascio won the 1970 All American Futurity at Ruidoso with Rocket Wrangler. Cascio’s first Quarter Horses starter since 1994 came this past May at Remington Park. He currently has a division of 10 horses stabled at Ruidoso, where his last starter was Some Dasher in the 1993 All American Derby.

“I remember when I drove off I didn’t know if I would ever be back,” Cascio said of Ruidoso. “It’s a big deal, the meet. And I always loved every bit of it.”

Other trainers active Thursday include: Blane Wood, who has 13 entrants;  Eddie Willis, 11; Michael Joiner, 10; Paul Jones, eight; and Sleepy Gilbreath, seven.

The card Friday is led by Coronado Cartel, a winner of all three of his starts whose win in the $720,000 Oklahoma-bred Futurity at Remington Park makes him arguably the most accomplished horse attempting to qualify for the Rainbow. Willis trains the horse, who will be ridden by Jimmy Brooks.

Purses for each of the trial races have been boosted from $3,500 to $6,000.