06/09/2011 2:32PM

Ruidoso Downs: Martin chooses to stick with Prospect to the Top in Ruidoso Derby

Ruidoso Downs
Jacky Martin rode Giordino to the fastest qualifying time for Saturday's Ruidoso Derby, but has elected to ride Prospect to the Top instead.

Jockey Jacky Martin qualified three runners to the Grade 1 Ruidoso Derby for Quarter Horses, and will be aboard Prospect to the Top when the $702,650 finale is run Saturday. The purse is a record for the 400-yard race, which serves as the first of three major derbies this meet at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

Prospect to the Top was the second-fastest qualifier for the Ruidoso Derby behind Giorgino, who was also ridden in the trials by Martin. He also qualified Jd Baccarat.

Martin has had a longstanding relationship with Prospect to the Top. He was aboard the horse when he qualified for last year’s All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, and later in the season guided Prospect to the Top to a dominant 1 1/2-length win in the Grade 2 Hobbs America Futurity at Zia Park.

This year, the pair teamed to win the Grade 3 West Texas Derby at Sunland Park in April. Prospect to the Top returned to action in the Ruidoso Derby trials May 28, and as a $25,000 supplement to the series rolled to a one-length win for trainer Ralph Muniz. Prospect to the Top covered 400 yards in 19.69 seconds, with Giorgino the lone horse to turn in a quicker time during the seven trials, winning his race by a length in 19.63.

Prospect to the Top will break from post 5 in the field of 10 that includes Llano Teller, winner of last year’s Remington Park Futurity, and Dominyun, who was third by a head in last year’s All American.

Giorgino will be seeking his fourth straight win Saturday. His streak began in a trial for the Grade  2 Sunland Park Winter Futurity on Dec. 10. He came back and won the finale Dec. 26, then did not start again until his Ruidoso Derby trial.

Martin had been aboard Giorgino for all three starts. Saturday, the horse will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez.