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Richest day in Colorado horse racing history

August 14, 2015     E-mail this page to a friend!

Arapahoe Park in Aurora, Colorado, will host the richest day of horse racing in the history of the Rocky Mountain State on Sunday, August 16, the final day of the track’s 2015 live season.

There will be two $100,000 Thoroughbred stakes races on the same card for the first time in track history—the Arapahoe Park Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1⅛ miles and the Gold Rush Futurity for 2-year-olds at six furlongs. Quarter Horses will take the spotlight in the $203,000 Mile High Futurity for 2-year-olds going 400 yards. Some of the best Arabians in the United States will compete in the $25,000 Grade 3 COBRA Classic Sponsored by Crow Valley Ranch for 3 year-olds and up at 1¼ miles.

Including the undercard races, total purses for Sunday’s nine-race will be $500,000. First post for the record-setting day is 1:00 p.m. local time.

Thoroughbreds: from rags to riches

In the $100,000 Arapahoe Park Classic, Lady Jila continues her fairy tale quest from competing at racing’s lowest level in $3,000 claiming contests to the biggest race of her career in one of Arapahoe Park’s richest stakes for Thoroughbreds. The Classic will be her 50th lifetime start. The 8-year-old mare owned by breeder Mike Barro, trained by Sharlot Martinez, and ridden by Mike Ziegler is on a seven-race win streak at Arapahoe Park, five of those victories coming in stakes.

“Win or lose, she is the greatest horse I’ve ever owned in my 20 years of owning Thoroughbred racehorses, and to think she was a backyard homebred that we almost gave up on because she was being outworked by her stablemates,” Barro said.

Added Martinez, “She gets better with age, like a fine wine gets better with age. She’s in her prime right now. She just gets better. We’re probably never going to get a chance of this magnitude again. She’s game. She’s still got it. Let’s go for it.”

Martinez will also saddle Magical Twist, the runner-up in last year’s Arapahoe Park Classic, in this year’s field of 10.

In Sunday’s other $100,000 Thoroughbred stakes race, the Gold Rush Futurity, trainer Kenneth “Butch” Gleason will send out the Arapahoe-based duo of R Dub and Dugaboy Brown, who were first and second, respectively, in the CTBA Futurity and first and third, respectively, in the Silver Cup Futurity at the track.

The field of 12 has also attracted stakes horses from outside Colorado—Dubdubwatson (California), Royally Divine (Iowa), and Texas Chrome (Texas).

“I like my chances,” Gleason said. “I’m sure they’ll bring some runners, but we’re here and training here, and we’ll run pretty well. We’re at home.”

Quarter Horses: a new star to emerge

The Quarter Horse futurity scene at Arapahoe Park in 2015 has been dominated by Three Olives N Smoke, the convincing winner of the Cherry Creek and Rocky Mountain futurities at the track. Three Olives N Smoke qualified fastest for Sunday’s Mile High Futurity, but trainer John Hammes said the horse will likely miss the race because of a minor injury sustained after the July 30 trials.

That opens the door for a new Quarter Horse star to emerge. Lets Get On Board, who is trained by Jonathan Chavira and will be ridden by Daniel Torres, posted the next-fastest 400-yard qualifying time of :19.93. He came to Arapahoe Park off three futurity races in Oklahoma. Bachichanator, with Juan Pulido up for trainer Gustavo Rios, will look to continue to shock like he did when winning his trial at 63-to-1 odds in his first career race.

On Saturday, August 15, the field of 10 for the $144,000 Mile High Derby for 3-year-olds at 400 yards includes fastest qualifier Tac My Chances (trainer Rodrigo Covarrubias/jockey Manuel Gutierrez) looking to continue a four-race win streak, Arapahoe’s Lucille Rowe Derby winner Toshi Yoshi (Manuel Orozco/Ramiro Garcia), and the track’s Rocky Mountain Derby winner Spender (Miguel Pena/Russell Vicchrilli).

Arabians: Paddys Day looks to continue luck

Fresh off a win in the second leg of the new Arabian Triple Jewel series at Pleasanton, California, Paddys Day will return to Arapahoe Park for Sunday’s COBRA Classic Sponsored by Crow Valley Ranch. The young 4-year-old colt trained by Scott Powell and ridden by Kelsi Purcell also won the Jerry Partin COBRA Sprint Sponsored by Quarter Moon Ranch at Arapahoe Park this season.

“He’s never gone this far, but we’re ready,” Powell said about the 1¼-mile distance.

The field of six also includes Mark Powell’s So Big Is Better, the winner of the COBRA Classic and Arabian Horse of the Year in 2013.

On Saturday, August 15, Ms Dixie and jockey Purcell will try to repeat in the $25,000 Grade 3 COBRA Distaff Sponsored by Soaring Eagle Ranch over 1⅛ miles. Her main rival in a field of nine will be Sand On Fire, her neighbor in Scott Powell’s barn. Sand On Fire is coming off a win in the Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship at Pleasanton.