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Leading Spirit back in action

May 25, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Ruidoso Downs,NM (May 24) – Champion Leading Spirit makes his long-awaited return to racing in the trials to the Grade 1, $170,000 Ruidoso Derby on Saturday afternoon and country star Tracy Byrd hits the stage after the races on Saturday at Ruidoso Downs.

First post time is 1:00 p.m.

Leading Spirit, the winner of last summer’s Ruidoso Futurity and Rainbow Futurity, started his career with seven straight victories, including Grade 1 wins in the West Texas Futurity, Ruidoso Futurity and the Rainbow Futurity. The member of the Blane Wood stable won the Ruidoso and Rainbow futurities by one length. He suffered his only career setback when he finished fifth in his All American Futurity trial on August 18, his most recent start.

Owned by Barry Thompson and Dan and Jolene Urschel, Leading Spirit has been the odds-on favorite in each of his eight career starts.

Leading Spirit drew in the second trial, which will run as the eighth race, and drew the sixth post position.

Facing Leading Spirit in the strong trial is Grade 1 West Texas Futurity third-place finisher Firestorm Perry and Hobbs Juvenile Stakes runner-up Jess Takeoff.

The curtain rises for the 2006 Summer Concert Series with Tracy Byrd taking to the stage at 8:00 p.m. Gates open at 7:00 p.m. He has been consistently making popular country music for over a decade, including one of the biggest hits of the ‘90s, “The Keeper of the Stars.” Raised in Vidor, Texas, Byrd grew up listening to traditional country music and western swing. In addition to “The Keeper of the Stars,” Byrd’s other hits include “Watermelon Crawl,” “I’m From the Country,” “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” and “Drinkin’ Bone.”

Racing continues through Memorial Day with the best 3-year-old Thoroughbred sprinters in Sunday’s Norgor Derby and a strong group of 870-yard specialists in the Fine Loom handicap on Monday afternoon. First post time is 1:00 p.m. daily.