Q-Racing Blog: The Busiest Weekend

Q-Racing Blog: The Busiest Weekend

The final weekend in July is set to be a smorgasbord of great racing.

Untuckit 2020 Governors Cup Futurity trials. Los Alamitos

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By Ty Wyant

Remember a few months ago when American Quarter Horse racing was a famine? There was racing at only a few tracks and a greater number of tracks were shuttered. Now racing has grown into a delicious menu.

Sure, for the most part, tracks aren’t allowing fans in the stands, but we have horses racing all over the country.

If it is racing you desire, there is no larger full-course meal than the final weekend on July every year. There are more stakes races in this weekend that any of the 52 weeks each year.

This banquet of races is largely due to stakes-laden lineups during California Breeders Champions Night at Los Alamitos and the Zia Festival at Ruidoso Downs. Add stakes races at other tracks and there becomes about 30 stakes races run on July 25-26.

The California Breeders Championship night is for Cal-breds while the Zia Festival showcases New Mexico-breds. These races recognize the breeding programs and breeders in each state. 

Leading breeders stood out in each set of trials. MJ Farms bred six of the finalists to the $375,000 Zia Futurity (RG1), Dr. Ed Allred bred six horses in the $185,000 Governor’s Cup Derby (RG2), Dr. Steve Burns bred five qualifiers to the $322,000 Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG1) and MJ Farms bred four of the sophomores racing in the Zia Derby. Drs. Allred and Burns are each champion breeders.

MJ Farms bred Zia Futurity fastest-qualifier Cristom and Zia Derby top-qualifier Donelli. Dr. Burns bred Governor’s Cup Futurity leading-qualifier Untuckit and Dr. Allred bred Governor’s Cup Derby fastest-qualifier Nomadic.

Owned by the partnership of J. and S.M. Inc., Don Reynolds and M. Lane Reynolds, Cristom won at first asking on June 21 when he veered out at the start and then went on to win by 1¾ lengths at 300 yards. The gelding by Jesse James Jr and out of 2009 champion 3-year-old filly Alice K White came back in his Zia Futurity trial to win by a dominating 2 1/2 lengths. The Fred Danley-trained gelding covered the 400 yards in :19.764 in the last of 11 trials.

MJ Farms’ homebred Donelli has built a tremendously consistent career competing against New Mexico-breds. The Wes Giles-trained filly has started eight times with five wins, three seconds and earning $257,737.

After finishing a close second in the $211,142 Shue Fly Stakes (RG3) back in January, the Big Daddy Cartel-sired filly came back in the Zia Derby trials to win by a neck and should improve off that effort. Her time of :19.668 was the top mark from five trials.

A year ago, she won the $386,196 New Mexico State Fair Futurity (G3) and was second by a nose in the $50,000 By By JJ Stakes.

Portofino Haras’ Untuckit won his maiden in his fourth career start while setting the fastest-qualifying time of :17.713 for 350 yards in the Governor’s Cup Futurity trials. The Chris O’Dell-trained gelding by Favorite Cartel had plenty of room while scoring the three-quarter-length win. He had a second and a close third in his two previous starts.

Dr. Allred’s homebred Nomadic, one of seven Favorite Cartel progeny in the Governor’s Cup Derby, raced to his fourth win from nine starts when he won his trial by three quarters of a length. His time of :19.590 for 400 yards led the qualifiers. 

A year ago, the Scott Willoughby-trained gelding won the $30,000 Ed Burke Juvenile and was a troubled fourth in the $1,861,275 Los Alamitos Two Million (G1).

These state-bred racing programs usually bring together each state’s breeders to congregate, but will not have fans in attendance this year. Yet, these programs will put on a show for breeders and fans watching on television or online. They will see one excellent stakes race after another strong stakes race throughout each program. Tune in.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.