08/31/2013 2:47PM

Ruidoso Downs: Wagon Tales has key elements in All American Futurity

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Wagon Tales will have three key factors in his favor Monday when he takes on fellow fastest qualifier Hes Relentless and the undefeated filly Especially Tres in the $2.6 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. The Quarter Horse classic that boasts the richest purse for a 2-year-old race of any breed in North America closes out the meet in New Mexico.

Ruidoso put on two dates of All American trials in a first this season, and Hes Relentless led all qualifiers on the initial card, Aug. 15, when he won his 440-yard heat in 21.14 seconds. Wagon Tales was the star of the second day, Aug. 16, covering the same distance in 21.02. From each program of 14 trials, the five fastest runners advanced to make for a 10-horse field Monday.

Wagon Tales will break from post 10, the same gate he had last out at Ruidoso.

“Since the trials we’ve been wanting the outside, that’s where we wanted to be,” said Judd Kearl, who trains Wagon Tales for JNB Enterprises.

The draw, coupled with the race’s classic distance and a horse coming to hand, are all elements Wagon Tales has in his favor leading up to the All American.

“We’ve thought all along – he’s such a big colt – that he would really like going down the racetrack,” Kearl said. “He kind of proved our thoughts in the trials. And he needed that race. He hadn’t run since the Heritage Place. The colt will improve a little bit off his trial.”

Kearl said after Wagon Tales was third by a neck in the Grade 1, $1 million Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park on June 1, he was strictly targeted for the trials to the All American. He’s thrived since arriving at Ruidoso.

“He’s blossomed and matured,” Kearl said of the horse, a winner of 3 of 5 starts, including the $100,000 Remington Park Juvenile.

Hes Relentless was the runner-up in the Heritage Place Futurity and was subsequently a $50,000 supplement to the trials for the All American.

Especially Tres, winner of the Grade 2 Sam Houston Futurity in April, is 4 for 4. She was the second-fastest qualifier on the first day of trials, and one start earlier nearly set a track record for 350 yards at Ruidoso.

Houdini’s trainer, Luis Villafranco, and his rider, Cody Jensen, could be going for a rich double come Monday. The pair were to team with strong favorite Wicked Courage in the $2.8 million All American Derby on Sunday.

◗ Ruidoso announced the All American horses have been assigned agents as part of a security team working the race. Some of the agents have experience with the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.